The large-scale “punitive” operations, a heinous massacre in Jiandao in October 1920, are one of the criminal acts committed by the Japanese imperialists during their illegal occupation of Korea in the early 20th century.
Taken aback by the Koreans in the Jiandao area of China who were strong in their anti-Japanese sentiments and the brisk armed struggle by the Korean Independence Army units stationed in the area, the Japanese imperialist aggressors were hell-bent on cracking down on and stamping them out.
However, they suffered crushing defeats in the Battle of Qingshanli and several other battles, with the result that their “punitive” operations against the Independence Army ended in failure.
This being the situation, they hatched a plot to slaughter the Koreans by concocting an incident in an attempt to retrieve their defeat in the “punitive” operations.
At that time, a group of mounted bandits made an assault on Hunchun, where a Japanese consulate stationed, and raised a disturbance. The bandits were riffraff bribed by the Japanese imperialists.
Shifting the blame for the Hunchun incident on to the units of the Korean Independence Army, the Japanese imperialists launched the large-scale “punitive” operations in the Jiandao area by mobilizing such huge forces as regimental troops of 3 000, police forces and expedition troops to Siberia on the pretext of “protecting the lives and property of the Japanese resident in the Jiandao area.”
Their operations were barbarous and vicious beyond description.
After making public the three-point policy of killing everyone, burning everything, and plundering everything, the Japanese marauders resorted to the scorched-earth operations.
They killed Koreans everywhere they lived, be they men or women, young or old, without discrimination: they pulled eyeballs out of living persons, skinned them, ripped their limbs and buried dozens of them alive; they also tied their limbs to kill them by cutting the limbs into several pieces, threw children into burning houses after snatching them from their parents, and slaughtered other Koreans in such a cruel way as passing rings through their noses and disemboweling them.
They set fire to houses owned by the Koreans and slaughtered them, shooting children to death and burying them alive.
From October 4 to early November 1920, they massacred more than 30 000 Koreans, and destroyed or burned down over 6 000 houses.
Their “punitive” operations were a crime against humanity; they were committed with the aim of obliterating the Korean nation.
The massacre was just the tip of the iceberg as for the crimes the Japanese imperialists committed to stamp out the Korean nation during their military occupation of Korea (1905-1945).
They suppressed the March First Popular Uprising that broke out in 1919 on a nationwide scale by force of arms, killing more than 100 000 Koreans. They also killed cold-bloodedly over 23 000 Koreans in a matter of 10 days when a great earthquake hit the Kanto region in Japan in September 1923.
In the period of their military occupation of Korea, over one million Koreans were forcibly drafted to serve as cannon fodders and do backbreaking labour before losing their lives. As many as 200 000 Korean women were also taken to serve as sex slaves for the imperial Japanese army, suffering untold misfortunes and pains.
Such crimes can never be tolerated as they are unethical and unprecedented in human history.
Notwithstanding this, Japan, since its defeat, has kept making desperate attempts to realize its old dream for the “Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere,” far from reflecting on its past crimes.
The Korean people will never forget the massacres Japan committed to obliterate their nation, and make it pay dearly for it.