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Japan’s Gakushuin University Reveals Transcripts of Recordings

Japan’s Gakushuin University Reveals Transcripts of Recordings

Posted August. 12, 2004 21:57,   


The project to record the testimonies of former officials of the Chosun Governor-General office started in 1952 when the civilian foundation Woobang Association’s late Chairman Hozumi Shinrokuro, former head of the Chosun Governor-General Resources Development Department, proposed it to Waseda University Chosun History lecturer Miyada Sezuko. Miyada recruited other scholars, including Professor Kang Duk-sang of Shiga University, and in 1958 created the “Research Association to Study Chosun’s Modern History Records.”

The research association conducted and recorded roughly about 500 interviews until 1962, among them high-ranking officials such as the administrative inspector general, who was the second highest ranked official in the governor-general’s office. Until now, 418 recorded tapes have been found. The Gakushuin University Research Institute for Oriental Studies transcribed some of the recordings, and those transcripts were published by the Asahi Shimbun in August of 2000 and Dong-A Ilbo also reported them on its pages. The current data is the second part of that project. Although some tapes have yet to be transcribed, the institute announced that it was finishing its project. The transcripts of the tapes lividly depict the actions of “historical characters” who were active during the gloomy colonial period. In particular, the actions of traitor Song Byung-joon, who demanded an enormous amount of money for selling his country, are just plain shocking.

Won-Jae Park Dong-Yong Min parkwj@donga.com mindy@donga.com