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Japanese Colonization and Rule of Korea Before and During WWII
Korea was considered to be part of the Empire of Japan as an industrialized colony along with
Taiwan. In 1937, the colonial Governor-General, General Jirō Minami, commanded the
attempted cultural assimilation of Korea's 23.5 million people by banning the use and study of
Korean language, literature, and culture, to be replaced with that of mandatory use and study of
their Japanese counterparts. Starting in 1939, the populace was required to use Japanese
names under the Sōshi-kaimei policy. Conscription of Koreans for labor in war industries began
in 1939, with as many as 2 million Koreans conscripted into either the Japanese Army or into
the Japanese labor force.[49]
During World War II, Japan used Korea's food, livestock, and metals for their war effort.
Japanese forces in Korea increased from 46,000 soldiers in 1941 to 300,000 in 1945. Japanese
Korea conscripted 2.6 million forced laborers controlled with a collaborationist Korean police
force; some 723,000 people were sent to work in the overseas empire and in metropolitan
Japan. By 1942, Korean men were being conscripted into the Imperial Japanese Army. By
January 1945, Koreans made up 32% of Japan's labor force. At the end of the war, other world
powers did not recognize Japanese rule in Korea and Taiwan.
The Korean War (25 June 1950 – 27 July 1953) was a war between North and South Korea, in
which a United Nations force led by the United States of America fought for the South, and
China fought for the North, which was also assisted by the Soviet Union. The war arose from the
division of Korea at the end of World War II and from the global tensions of the Cold War that
developed immediately afterwards.
Korea was ruled by Japan from 1910 until the closing days of World War II. In August 1945, the
Soviet Union declared war on Japan and—by agreement with the United States—occupied
Korea north of the 38th parallel. U.S. forces subsequently occupied the south and Japan
surrendered. By 1948, two separate governments had been set up. Both governments claimed
to be the legitimate government of Korea, and neither side accepted the border as permanent.
The conflict escalated into open warfare when North Korean forces—supported by the Soviet
Union and China—invaded South Korea on 25 June 1950.
The fighting ended on 27 July 1953, when the armistice was signed. The agreement created the
Korean Demilitarized Zone to separate North and South Korea, and allowed the return of
prisoners. Clashes have continued to the present.
Recent scholarship has put the full battle death toll on all sides at just over 1.2 million.
Source: “Korean War” from Wikipedia