Right to Kill, Right to Make Live
Koreans as Japanese
Go get slaughtered and we promise you a long and pleasant life.
Michel Foucault, "The Political Technology of Individuals" (1988)
Total War and the Population Problem
In its official history of thirty years of Japanese rule in Korea, the Government-General of Korea noted that a fundamental transformation in the state's understanding of "population" had taken place since the beginning of the Sino-Japanese War in 1937. Previously, the population problem had been understood as a matter of an excess-that is, concerned with such issues as the imbalance between a surplus population, on the one hand, and available food and emp1loyment on the other. However, because of the wartime need for "human resources" and future demands for "limitless [population] growth," this worry had been totally reversed. "In this way," the history stated, "now the weight of the population problem has shifted from what has been a surplus population problem to its complete opposite, a problem of population deficit."1
Although the Government-General's description of the state's new notion is deceptively simple-we formerly had too many people, and now we do not have enough-this reconceptualization of the Korean people as an object of study and intervention had profound and in some ways ironic repercussions that may be appreciated by first considering what Michel Foucault has called "bio-power" and "governmentality."2 According to Foucault, a fundamental transformation in the exercise of power over the lives and deaths of populations emerged in the eighteenth century and then took hold in the nineteenth. In an older historical moment, as typified by the rule of a transcendent sovereign, power over life and death had operated primarily through a negativity. The sovereign exercised his power through the right to kill-or, put the other way, by allowing subjects to live. But particularly from the nineteenth century on, this old right came to be complemented by one with exactly the opposite character. In contrast to the negative logic of the right to take life, the new mode of power, which Foucault called bio-power, is exercised by making others live-by a productive or positive logic. This bio-power is a "power that exerts a positive influence on life, that endeavors to administer, optimize and multiply it, subjecting it to precise controls and comprehensive regulations."3 Thus power comes to be concerned with matters such as mortality rates and the ratio of births to deaths. It targets living human beings, gathers knowledge about them, constitutes them in their aggregate as populations, and then seeks to enhance their health, sanitation, birthrate, longevity, and so on. It makes them live and prosper through such measures as public hygiene, charitable institutions, welfare funds, old age pensions, insurance, urban planning, and more. Population became a political problem and a target of regulation.
Similarly, for Foucault it is precisely the discovery of the population as the ultimate end of government that characterizes what he calls governmentality, or how governing is thought about and how power is exercised in the modern period. Here it is not the rationality of government in and of itself that is of primary importance "but the welfare of the population, the improvement of its condition, the increase of its wealth, longevity, health, etc.; and the means that the government uses to attain these ends are themselves all in some sense immanent to the population; it is the population itself on which government will act either directly or through large-scale campaigns, or indirectly through techniques that will make possible, without the full awareness of the people, the stimulation of birth rates, the directing of the flow of population into certain regions or activities, etc."4 Under this regime of governmentality, three modes of power-sovereignty (operating primarily through laws and achieving its paradigmatic form in the transcendent king), discipline (as constituted through schools, armies, factories, and so on), and government-operate together to manage and make the population prosper in aggregate. However, within this triangular ensemble of power it is above all "government"-in its broad sense of guiding conduct through a vast and deep assemblage of authorities, technologies, and knowledges and of operating through the mobilization of desires and interests-that becomes preeminent. To further clarify, when Foucault says that "government" operates through positive techniques of the "conduct of conduct," he means that government "consists in guiding the possibility of conduct and putting in order the possible outcome."5
But how are these sweeping Foucauldian claims about bio-power and governmentality relevant to analyzing the understanding of population under the Japanese wartime regime? On the one hand, we must recognize that from early on in Japanese rule, the colonial government manifested some concern, albeit with limited scope, to enhance the lives of the colonized population and to discipline them through such means as education and the distribution of medical knowledge and care. In fact, in recent years scholars of colonial Korea have produced excellent work demonstrating how modern understandings of the body, health, medicine, reproduction, and sanitation in Korea were produced and circulated-understandings that could have led to policies designed to nurture and expand the Korean population.6 More generally, scholars in Korea, Japan, and the Anglophone world have pointed to the "developmental" or, following Foucault, "governmental" or "disciplinary" aspects of Japanese colonial rule in Korea and elsewhere within the Japanese colonial empire. Such interventions have been a welcome addition to the long-dominant view that Japanese colonialism worked only through a modality of power characterized by sheer brutality, repression, exploitation, and negativity.7
On the other hand, such measures proceeded fitfully and unevenly, at least until the 1930s. As some skeptics of the concept of colonial modernity have already argued, under Japanese colonialism the great masses of the Korean people were more excluded from than incorporated into those apparatuses and institutions that have been identified with modernity, disciplinization, and government, beginning with schools, factories, hospitals, prisons, and so on.8 Along these lines we can note that even as late as 1941, one researcher found in his study of some rural villages that "[a]pproximately 42.7 percent of women had given birth on their own without the assistance of midwives[;] ... 31.7 percent of all births were stillbirths, and 35 percent of babies died before age one." The Government-General determined that in 1930, only 1.3 midwives were available to serve every 10,000 Korean women, while the comparable figure for women in the Japanese metropole was 18.7.9 Similarly, a 1926 directory of physicians practicing in Korea lists just 1,212, of whom a mere 40 specialized in gynecology.10 Moreover, researchers have long noted the GGK's only half-hearted attempts to establish a variety of social and welfare services for Koreans during the colonial period.11 The education of the Korean people as Japanese national subjects was at such a low level that in 1936, only about 8 percent of the total population had any competence in the Japanese language; not until 1938 did the GGK announce a plan to begin universal elementary school education for Koreans (in 1946).12
Furthermore, while prior to the 1930s there had been surveys of the Korean people and their customs, reports on laborers, examinations of limited numbers of Korean bodies, and so on, even as late as the final years of the war the colonial government still found itself scrambling to put Korean household registers in order. In other words, the colonial state had not established one of the first foundations for constituting the population into the foremost object of government-namely, a technology to account for it, to know it. The state could not even determine the precise number and whereabouts of Korean people living in the colony, let alone in Manchuria, metropolitan Japan, China, and elsewhere.
Such facts and figures, and many more that could be cited here, indicate that while there may have been some ambiguity about whether the Korean people were understood as a population worthy of education, life, health, reproduction, and happiness, for most of the colonial period the great masses of the Korean people were more outside than inside the regime of governmentality and bio-power. Or, put differently, they were included in the sense of being largely placed in the zone of exclusion. In practice, power was still exercised primarily in its negativity-by the power to take life and by a strategy of limiting or suppressing the activities of those deemed dangerous, such as communists and ethnic nationalists. Through most of the colonial period, Japanese colonialism operated primarily through the racialized exclusionary logic of colonial difference; at best, it allowed what might be called "zones of indifference" or "undecidability," in which Koreans might be allowed to languish, starve, or even die-or, conversely, through which a few might pass into the inside.13 Here it is also important to keep in mind that, as Foucault explains, "killing" does not "mean simply murder as such, but also every form of indirect murder: the fact of exposing someone to death, increasing the risk of death for some people, or, quite simply, political death, expulsion, rejection, and so on":14 in other words, acts deducting from life.
With regard to these "zones of indifference" or "undecidability," my point is that ambivalence about the necessity of nurturing a native educated elite and a reliable pool of laborers led to uneven and limited incorporations of specifically targeted segments and individuals within the Korean population into the apparatuses and institutions associated with modern governmentality. But the Korean people as a whole was not constituted as a "population" in the Foucauldian sense-that is, as an entire population whose individual and aggregated lives could be considered objects of positive intervention and regulation.
However, once the logic of total war transformed the population problem into one of lack, the policies of the metropolitan and colonial governments toward their colonial subjects in Korea began to shift dramatically. Now, like "metropolitan Japanese" (Naichijin), Koreans were to be made to live. They were to be targeted as living human beings and constituted in their aggregate as a major subpopulation, and the purpose of government would be to enhance their health, sanitation, birthrate, longevity, education, and general well-being. I do not mean to suggest that the efforts to enhance the lives of Koreans made by the colonial authorities equaled the measures taken for the metropolitan Japanese population. And of course various social services offered them, including medical care, were on the whole far inferior to those available in the metropole. Nor did this transformation result in the disappearance of sheer power in its negativity-that is, the right to take life, as exercised directly by the emperor's officials, the police, and laws.
Nevertheless, what we can perceive in an abundance of official documents and policies of the period, especially from 1937 on, is a new commitment to improve the health, education, and welfare of the Korean people. Whether the intentions of colonial administrators and others serving in unofficial organizations supporting the state were noble or sincere does not concern me here. For now, it is enough to note that they acted as if their charge was to work harder to nurture the lives of the Korean people and that when they noted improvements in indices measuring the health, wealth, and happiness of the Korean people, they argued for the necessity of doing more.
And what about the matter of racism or discrimination? Foucault is again suggestive. Under the bio-political regime, racism-understood both narrowly and most broadly as discrimination against all those considered inferior in a normalizing society-operates in the determination of who must live and who must die. It creates caesuras as it fragments the biological field of the human to identify threats to the population, whether internal or external. It distinguishes between those who will foster the life and welfare of the population, and therefore must be made to live, and those who hinder the life and welfare of the population and must be made to die. It necessitates the killing or expulsion of those considered threats so that the population can thrive. In the face of war, a determination had to be made about how to locate Koreans in relation to the Japanese metropolitan population. Were they to be considered a threatening Other that had to be kept apart from the metropolitan core of the Japanese population, treated like slaves and exposed to death, or even exterminated in the manner of the Nazi Holocaust? Or were Koreans to be reconstituted as a subpopulation worthy of being made to live because they could help foster the life and welfare of the metropolitan Japanese population?
There was no absolute resolution of this problem, but as the population shortage in Japan and its colonies came to be felt with increasing acuity through the war years, the ruling elite accelerated the demand that Koreans be made to live and prosper as a part of the Japanese population. The war years, in other words, were a transitional moment in the passage of Koreans from the outside to the inside of the "Japanese" population, a shift managed by the logics and technologies of bio-power and governmentality. Hence as the war progressed it became increasingly imperative to disavow racist feelings toward Koreans. And paralleling this passage from the outside to the inside we find a transformation in the type of racist discrimination against Koreans-that is, a movement from an unabashed and exclusionary "vulgar racism" to a new type of inclusionary and "polite racism" that denied itself to be racist even as it operated as such.
The military provides a particularly compelling site from which to witness this passage, since the more the Japanese empire came to depend on the Korean population for soldiers and sailors, the more difficult it became to exclude them from the nation-in both the conventional meaning of a political community and in Foucault's bio-political sense of a population. According to a late November 1937 Korean Army document signed by its chief of staff, Kun≈ç Seiichi, the Korean Army had carefully considered the question of Korean participation in the military since at least 1932. Yoshida Toshiguma, who was at one time head of conscription for the Korean Army, also indicated in his insider's history of Koreans in the Japanese military that in April 1937 Kawagishi Bunzabur≈ç, commander of the Twentieth Division (under the Korean Army), communicated his views on the matter to Koiso Kuniaki, commander of the Korean Army (later governor-general of Korea and then prime minister). According to Kawagishi, conferral of the military obligation upon Koreans could contribute to their formation into good "imperial subjects." This statement was followed in May of the same year by an informal inquiry from the War Ministry's Military Preparations Section (ch≈çboka). Then, in June 1937, the central authorities asked the Korean Army to draft an opinion on this matter and it did so the following month, recommending that Koreans be allowed to volunteer on a trial basis. The Government-General (headed by Minami Jir≈ç) also enthusiastically supported the volunteer system, because it believed that such a move would facilitate its administration of the colony. Thus, according to these sources, serious consideration of Korean military service had begun shortly after the massive invasion of Manchuria in September 1931 (the "Manchurian Incident" or the beginning of what historians sometimes call the "Fifteen-Year War"). However, actual establishment of the volunteer system had been sparked by an inquiry from the War Ministry just before the 7 July 1937 escalation of all-out war with China (the "China Incident"), and concrete policy had been formulated around that time through communications among the Korean Army, the War Ministry, and the Government-General.15
According to Yoshida, even after July 1937 War Ministry officials still overwhelmingly believed that the recruitment of Koreans was premature. However, considerable efforts on the part of the Korean Army's high officers and the Government-General alleviated their fears. For example, Commander Koiso sent officers on his staff to Tokyo on multiple occasions to report on the Korean situation and invited War Ministry officials to visit Korea to observe the actual conditions of various social classes. By Yoshida's account, Pak Y≈èng-ch'≈èl-a wealthy Korean businessman and the honorary consul-general of Manchuria, who had graduated from the Japanese Military Academy and served in the Japanese Imperial Guard Cavalry-was recruited as local guide for at least one War Ministry official.16
In fact, in the period shortly before and after July 1937, Japanese military officers in the Korean Army and GGK officials worked energetically to convince the military and government authorities in the metropole that allowing Koreans into the military would have a positive effect on the sentiments of the Korean people and that Korean males were qualified to serve. Their reasoning fell roughly along the following lines.17 First, military service would be conducive to enhancing Korean patriotism concerning Japan, because the highest patriotism could be asked only of those given responsibility for national defense.18 Second, while the authorities worried about the low educational level of Koreans and what they regarded as deficiencies in their spiritual and Japanese-language training, they presented evidence of recent improvements in these areas and projections of further progress. For example, the Government-General noted that military drills (ky≈çren) had been established with much success in Korea in 1926, just one year after they had begun in the metropole, and that by 1938 sixty-six schools practiced military drills, most led by officers in active service. Young Men's Training Centers (seinen kunrensho) had also been founded in Korea, and by 1937 more than 2,000 metropolitan Japanese and 1,500 Koreans were attending some eight-four centers. Similarly, while the Government-General estimated that as of 1937 the percentage of Koreans seventeen to twenty years of age "able to freely engage in normal conversation in the national (Japanese) language" was only 5.85 percent (97,033 out of 1,657,385 men and women), it cast a positive light on even this dismal figure by predicting a vastly improved situation in the future. Reminding us that in early 1938 the need for military manpower was not as urgent as it would become after the Pearl Harbor attack and that the end of Japanese colonial rule was nowhere in sight, the Government-General projected the language competency of Koreans in this age group as far into the future as 1966. It estimated that by that time more than 1.2 million (45.82 percent) Koreans ages seventeen to twenty would have the desired level of language proficiency.19
Third, these military officers and GGK officials claimed that ever since the Manchurian invasion of 18 September 1931-which led immediately to the Japanese takeover of Manchuria and the establishment of Manchukuo as Japan's client state in the following year-the Korean people had become increasingly patriotic in their attitudes toward Japan. The evidence included the impressive number of those who had recanted their former anti-Japanese ethnic nationalism, the engagement in patriotic activities of members of formerly antigovernment religions or of what were routinely called "pseudo-religious" groups, the support of the Korean-language media for national policy, the considerable amounts of money and blood donated for national defense, the tremendous increase in numbers of worshippers at Shinto shrines, and the frequency of Korean-sponsored festivals to pray for or report on war victories. Perhaps most spectacularly, these authorities noted that following the "China Incident" Koreans had shown a remarkable eagerness to join directly in military efforts. In Shanghai, a former hotbed of Korean anti-Japanese activists, more than two hundred youths had volunteered to work at various tasks under the Japanese military. Three of these volunteers had been killed and seven were severely wounded. In Tianjin, Koreans had also formed a "righteous army" and served on the front lines, transporting munitions as well as sick and injured Japanese soldiers. In addition, in the space of a little more than a month following the "China Incident," 105 Koreans had volunteered to serve with the military, some even signing blood oaths.20
Fourth, these authorities recounted the longer history of Koreans who had rendered military or police service for Japan. The Korean Army refuted the assumption that the new recruits' inferior abilities might harm the overall fighting performance of Japanese troops if field divisions were integrated. It pointed out that Koreans had served in the Auxiliary Military Police (kenpei hojo or, after August 1919, kenpeiho) and as Korean police officers (Ch≈çsen keisatsukan) and had proven themselves in campaigns to put down anti-Japanese "bandits" (hizoku). The Korean Army assured doubters that if given the proper guidance, Koreans would perform as the equals of their metropolitan Japanese peers.21 One detailed report indicated that the Auxiliary Military Police system for Korean recruits had been established in Korea in June 1908 in conjunction with the general expansion of the military police in Korea. By the following month, Korean auxiliaries totaled some 4,100 men and outnumbered Japanese in the military police by more than two to one. Koreans continued to serve in the Auxiliary Military Police in large numbers after the 1910 annexation, averaging about 4,700 men between 1914 and 1919. During the period 1906-11 alone, there had been 1,109 clashes between MPs and insurgents, with Korean auxiliaries helping to exterminate some 3,600 of the latter. Although reorganizations of the military police in 1919 and of the military more generally in 1925 had drastically reduced the number of Korean auxiliaries, the report emphasized their continuing service, with the main force stationed along the northern national (that is, Korean) border. Overall, the report stressed that the Korean auxiliaries equaled metropolitan Japanese MPs in every way, even though they were technically classified as civilian military employees (gunzoku) rather than as military personnel. They had great pride in themselves as "model Koreans" (Senjin no gihy≈ç) and had performed with special distinction after the Manchurian invasion, especially in Manchuria and Shanghai. One Korean auxiliary had received the Order of the Golden Kite (an award given for military bravery or leadership), while not even one officer had mutinied or deserted. To a man, the Koreans had performed dutifully.22
The same report also commended Koreans for their service with the police. The Government-General, realizing the obvious utility of employing men who shared the same language and "thoughts" as the common Korean people, had employed a large number of Korean policemen (junsa). As of October 1937, Koreans numbered 7,203 out of 17,067 policemen in Korea.23 It admitted that because of the limited term of their training (four months) and their "traditional living environment" (seikatsu kanky≈ç), these policemen did not meet metropolitan Japanese standards of self-discipline, responsibility, and active engagement in their duties. However, it also noted recent improvements in their performance-so dramatic that some had been awarded the "highest honor available to policemen, the Distinguished Service Medal."
The report noted that on the other side of the border, Koreans had served with distinction in the Manchurian military. Relying on its principle of the "harmony of the five ethnic groups" (gozoku ky≈çwa: that is, Japanese, Han Chinese, Manchus, Mongols, and Koreans), the Manchukuo state had recruited officers and servicemen from among its one million resident Koreans. These men had been organized into three border surveillance regiments (kokky≈ç kanshitai), placed strategically in Dongning and Hunchun Districts. Korean service in these units had not been entirely without incident. In the summer of 1936, members of one company in Dongning, dissatisfied with their treatment by a Japanese officer, had revolted and fled to Russian territory. Confidence in these soldiers then collapsed, and the recruitment of Koreans in Jiandao Province was halted. However, the report concluded on a positive note about the potential of Koreans as soldiers, observing that an investigation had revealed that the incident could not be blamed on Koreans alone. Moreover, the remaining Korean soldiers had performed well, particularly in skirmishes with the Russians. Recognition of the value of these Koreans was on the rise, and plans were being made for a further increase in their number.24
Thus, by the end of 1937, support for the voluntary soldier system had overcome remaining resistance from some of the central military authorities, leading to the War Ministry's 15 January 1938 announcement that the army would be opened to Korean volunteers. The Army Special Volunteer System Law (rikugun tokubetsu shiganheirei) was promulgated as an imperial ordinance (No. 95) on 22 February 1938, and went into effect on 3 April 1938, thus making it possible for Korean "male imperial subjects seventeen years and older" to volunteer for service in the army.25 Taiwanese became eligible to volunteer for the army from April 1942 on.26 The military did not accept Korean or Taiwanese volunteers into the navy until the Navy Special Volunteer Law (Imperial Ordinance No. 608) went into effect on 1 August 1943. This law enabled males sixteen to twenty years of age from both colonies to volunteer for most but not all positions within the navy.27 Kond≈ç Masami has argued that two factors help explain the general reluctance of the navy to accept volunteers until 1943. In comparison to the army, the navy did not have as great a manpower need until this late date. And, interestingly, like the U.S. military, which resisted allowing Japanese Americans to serve in the navy, the Japanese navy was concerned about the ease with which only a few untrustworthy elements could sabotage entire ships.28 While the Japanese navy overcame this reservation, the U.S. Navy continued to be closed to Japanese Americans through the entire war.
Because the military authorities inaugurated the new system on a trial basis, the number of Korean volunteers initially accepted was very small; its subsequent growth reflected both increased confidence in them and expanding manpower needs. Starting with just 400 and 600 volunteers accepted in 1938 and 1939, respectively, by 1943 the army had enrolled a total of 16,830 Korean volunteers. In the first two years these volunteers were enrolled only in the Korean Army (Nineteenth and Twentieth Divisions); but from 1940 on they also began serving in the Kwantung Army, and from 1942 in the North China Army. In 1943, the final year of the special voluntary system, the army distributed them throughout the service without restriction. Similarly, while they had initially been limited to infantry, transport (shich≈çhei), and anti-aircraft artillery (k≈çsha h≈çhei) units, from 1941 the army placed them in the field and mountain artillery (yasan h≈çhei) as well, and from 1942 they entered all types of units. In addition, under its special volunteer system the navy took in a total of at least 3,000 Korean volunteers.29
The army's voluntary system had been instituted in Korea with the intent of possibly extending military conscription to the colony at some time in the distant future, but the Pearl Harbor attack accelerated these efforts. On 8 May 1942, the Japanese cabinet passed a resolution approving extension of the military draft to Korea, and through Law No. 4 (which was promulgated 1 March 1943 and went into effect on 1 August 1943) the government revised the Military Service Law (heieki-h≈ç) to make enforcement of conscription in Korea possible.30 The decision to implement military conscription in Taiwan followed soon thereafter, as the cabinet approved this resolution in September 1943.31 As a result, the Japanese military began to conscript Koreans beginning in 1944, and Taiwanese in 1945.
In the most detailed empirical study of the Japanese conscription system in Korea to date, Higuchi Y≈´ichi has estimated that at least 190,000 Korean conscripts served in the army and navy in the last two years of the war. For each of the years 1944 and 1945, these included 55,000 conscripts directly enrolled into active service (gen'ekihei; 45,000 to the army and 10,000 to the navy per year), 29,000 conscripts called up by the army after being placed for a time in the reserves (hoj≈´hei), and 11,000 conscripts who served in "special duty units" (tokubetsu kinmutai). The latter were essentially labor units, and some companies within them probably were not armed.32 Of those enrolled directly into active service, the military initially attached most to the Korean Army, with a much smaller number joining the Kwantung Army. The Korean Army then distributed Korean conscripts throughout the other armies. A Korean Army document shows that out of 45,000 conscripts put into active service in 1944, it planned to allot the greatest numbers to the China Expeditionary Army (10,445), followed by the Kwantung (9,925) and Southern Armies (7,647), with the remainder placed throughout. Though Korean conscripts served in all types of units, the majority were assigned to the infantry.33 While official policy dictated that there should be no discrimination against Koreans per se with regard to their assignments, one account notes that "owing to their educational level and technical skill level," few served in technical units (gijutsu butai) while a great many were assigned to duty or noncombatant units (kinmu butai). This same source claims that the military normally limited the percentage of Koreans serving in any unit-20 percent in frontline units, 40 percent in rearline units, and 80 percent in duty or noncombatant units-although there is evidence that these limits were not strictly observed.34
One other relatively small but significant group of Korean and Taiwanese soldiers should be mentioned-namely, "student soldiers." In October 1943 the Japanese government (through Imperial Ordinance No. 755) suspended student deferments for conscription, primarily as a measure to increase the pool of potential military officers. Exceptions continued to be made for those studying in fields deemed essential to the military effort, such as medicine, science, and engineering, but students in the faculties of law and letters could no longer have their service deferred.35 Korean and Taiwanese students were not subject to this change in the law; and in order to mobilize them for the same purpose, the War Ministry implemented the Army Special Volunteers Extraordinary Induction Regulations (rikugun tokubetsu shiganhei saiy≈ç kisoku). Promulgated and put into effect on 20 October 1943, these regulations legally enabled Korean and Taiwanese students enrolled in higher education to volunteer for the army. Most would otherwise have fallen into a gap, as the earlier Army Special Volunteer System was closing down and they exceeded the age requirement (twenty) for the upcoming draft. Under these regulations the Government-General accepted volunteers from 25 October to 20 November of the same year, and those deemed acceptable entered the army on 20 January 1944. About 70 percent (4,385 out of 6,203) of those eligible under these regulations joined.36 No comparable path existed for colonial students to volunteer for the navy.
Thus, from modest beginnings in the first years of the Army Special Volunteer System to the enforcement of conscription in 1944 and 1945, Korean male youths came to play an extraordinarily large role in the Japanese war effort. By the end of the conflict they were serving in almost all types of units in both the army and navy; and based on the numbers given above-16,830 army volunteers, 3,000 navy volunteers, 190,000 army and navy conscripts, and 4,385 student army volunteers-it is possible to arrive at a rough estimate of more than 214,000 Korean men who served as military personnel in the Japanese armed forces between 1938 and 1945.
Contradictions of Military Service
Scholars tend to agree that the colonial government conceived of the volunteer system not only as of direct importance, in providing military manpower, but also as part of a broader spiritual campaign known as "imperial subjectivization" (k≈çminka), which was intended to constitute the Korean people into loyal subjects of the Japanese emperor.37 The k≈çminka campaign centered on four major reform programs: religious reforms that sought to replace other religions with Shinto, educational reforms that emphasized Japanization of the spirit and Japanese-language education, the coerced replacement of Korean and Taiwanese names with Japanized ones, and the inclusion of colonial subjects in the military forces. In general, this campaign of assimilation to Japaneseness is usually understood as seeking to extinguish the unique cultural life and traditions of the colonized peoples-or in the often-used expression, to "obliterate the [Korean] ethnos" (minzoku massatsu). And within this context, the policy of enlisting colonial subjects into the military is generally explained as an attempt to demonstrate to Koreans and Taiwanese that the Japanese regarded them as their equals, even when they did not.
Given the extreme gap between the actual conditions in which most of the Korean people lived and the extent of the military's as well as the central and colonial government's apparently outrageous claims that Koreans were completely equal to the metropolitan Japanese, it is not difficult to understand why scholars and many others have dismissed the Japanese rulers' pronouncements as simply duplicitous. However, what we might call the "argument of obvious duplicity" is insufficient in at least two respects. First, it posits an unchanging Japanese racism that is immune to transformations in the historical conditions of which it was a part. Second, such a limited view does not take into consideration the unintended effects of issuing pronouncements on equality, even if such a campaign might have begun with purely utilitarian and duplicitous purposes. For instance, the military, central, and colonial authorities determined that in order to make the campaign for the inclusion of Koreans into the military a success, not only would they need to convince the Korean people that the emperor and the nation regarded them as their equals, but it would also be necessary to impress upon the metropolitan Japanese that the Koreans were a trustworthy and loyal people. Between 1938 and 1945, the military authorities and their counterparts in the colonial and central governments targeted their propaganda at Japanese officials throughout the civil and military bureaucracies, and at the great masses of Japanese people scattered throughout the empire, just as much as at the Korean people.
As we will see more fully in later chapters, in addition to propaganda intended for Koreans, mainstream Japanese newspapers, magazines, radio, literature, and even movies conveyed the veracity of Korean and metropolitan Japanese equality to the metropolitan Japanese. Even as the ruling elite may have been duplicitous-in the sense that it most surely maintained discriminatory attitudes toward Koreans while deploying a language and programs of equality-it also became caught up in the discourse of equality it promoted. As some of the most interesting recent literature on European colonialism has argued,38 even as the Japanese metropole sought to remake its colonies, it was constantly being remade by those same imperial projects. Colonial policies that deployed the discourse of equality may have begun with utilitarian intent; but that discourse could not be neatly contained so as to make it both believable to the colonial subjects and a transparent lie to the colonizers.
Similarly, after the decision to draft Koreans had been made and preparations were under way for its implementation, the Government-General of Korea sent all the governors of the Korean provinces instructions for guiding public opinion about the new conscription system. In its summary of those instructions, the GGK explained that public opinion should be directed toward the idea that the conscription of Koreans was based on "the principles of the national entity" (kokutai no hongi).39 This phrase most likely referred directly to the Ministry of Education's widely distributed book Principles of the National Entity (1937), which, as Tessa Morris-Suzuki has pointed out, never referred to biological race and left ambiguous the question of whether Japanese were supposed to be considered a homogeneous race.40
In fact, in its instructions on guiding public opinion the Government-General suggested that Japan was not a racially homogeneous nation and that the conscription of Koreans was based on the "unity of metropolitan Japan and Korea" (Naisen ittai) and the "equality of all beneath the emperor's benevolent gaze" (isshi d≈çjin). It also stressed that the spirit and organization of the Imperial Forces were fundamentally different from those of other nations and that the Japanese military would not be organized along the lines of a colonial army-by which it most likely meant that there would be no segregated units. Perhaps most germane to my point, the Government-General indicated that the targets of such efforts at molding public opinion should first include the metropolitan Japanese themselves, especially those residing in Korea.41
A considerably different reality from that offered by the argument of obvious duplicity will emerge as we reframe our problematic, moving attention away from the question of the sincerity of intentions and toward the effects of the disavowal of racist discrimination. More than ever before, especially in the post-1937 era, the conditions of total war released a set of contradictory discourses and practices regarding race or ethnicity that enveloped colonizers and colonized alike, both those who considered themselves unproblematically Japanese and those who sought to become Japanese. Once the official position of the national and colonial regimes dramatically shifted for practical reasons to that of the fundamental equality of Koreans and Japanese, the authorities had no choice but to act as if they truly believed in the discourse of equality. This acting as if had real-life effects, including pressure to enact concrete changes in policies regarding the management of Koreans-not only in the military but throughout the empire. In the end, the ruling elite contributed to the production and circulation of an emerging racial common sense that made it increasingly difficult to openly espouse vulgar racist views, to appear unconcerned about the health and welfare of the Korean people, and to ignore Korean desires for greater political rights.
From the Outside to the Inside of the Japanese Population
To be sure, both before and after the mobilization of Koreans as soldiers, many officials continued to resist treating them as equals and harbored anxieties about the consequences of practices that seemed to break down the distinction between the two peoples. Even after the volunteer system had been in place for several years, Japanese military and government officials still often discussed Koreans as aliens. For example, in its immediate post-Pearl Harbor study of "national strength in human resources," the Ministry of War's Military Preparations Section continued to write about the Japanese people in terms of the Yamato ethnos and about others within the colonial empire as "outside peoples" (gaichi minzoku). In arguing that Japan's military manpower and civilian labor needs could not be met by the Yamato ethnos alone, it clearly considered the Korean people and other colonial subjects as ethnic groups external to the core Japanese population, or on the outside of what it called "our people" (waga minzoku).42 Koreans and other outside peoples had to be mobilized, it said, but it did not suggest that the Koreans themselves might be considered part of the population worthy of life and security.
One of the most unequivocal official statements of the absolute necessity of maintaining the rigid line of separation between the Japanese people and their colonial subjects can be found in the 1943 study that I touched on briefly in my introduction: namely, An Investigation of Global Policy with the Yamato Ethnos as Nucleus (Yamato minzoku).43 The authors of the study displayed their extreme anxiety about the tension between the need to mobilize the empire's human resources for the war effort and the desire to keep the different groups apart. With regard to Koreans and Taiwanese-not unlike U.S. eugenics discourse then current, in which fears of the Other's hyperfecundity exacerbated anxieties about racial contamination-the report claimed that these people not only were unassimilated but also reproduced at an alarmingly rapid rate. Taiwan and Korea occupied important positions as "supply bases" (heitan kichi), but they had to be prevented from becoming like "parasites within a lion" (shishi shinch≈´ no mushi), meaning that they should not be allowed to bring harm to their mighty host.
The study proposed five rubrics under which to manage Koreans and Taiwanese. First, it should be made clear that Koreans in metropolitan Japan would be sent back to Korea after the war. Second, because of the Russian threat, Koreans living in the border area between northern Korea and eastern Manchuria should be moved elsewhere and replaced with metropolitan Japanese. Third, Koreans should be sent to barren areas such as New Guinea to reclaim the land. Fourth, arrangements should be made so that metropolitan Japanese would constitute 10 percent of the population resident in Korea and Taiwan. Finally, the study listed the numerous ways in which it felt that excesses in the administrative policy of "unifying metropolitan Japan and Korean" had ironically resulted in the oppression of the metropolitan Japanese by the Koreans. Most of the items listed were integral parts of the colonial government's assimilationist campaign-that is, the movement to Japanize names, coeducation, military conscription, voting rights in the metropole (including approval to use Korean hangul when voting), and intermarriage. In short, the eugenically minded researchers in the Ministry of Health and Welfare worried that the colonial empire's assimilationist program, necessitated by the war, threatened to obliterate the boundaries around the core Japanese population. They wanted to keep Koreans at workers, but at a safe distance-residentially, socially, culturally, politically, and sexually.44
Another section of the report dealt specifically with the detrimental effects of sex and of marriage between Koreans and metropolitan Japanese, and especially warned of the dangers of the large number of Korean men coupling with Japanese women in the metropole. Citing a study of marriages between African American men and white American women, the report concluded that interracial couplings attracted only the lowest social elements on both sides and should be avoided. Such a finding, it said, had been confirmed by another study of intermarriages between Korean males and metropolitan Japanese females in several areas of metropolitan Japan. But apparently just as troubling for the report's author(s) was that contrary to the usual principle of domination, whereby men of the leading or conquering race took the women of the follower or conquered race as their wives, in the metropole the situation had been reversed: an overwhelming percentage of intermarriages consisted of Korean men taking metropolitan women as their mates. Anticipating Frantz Fanon's well-known psychological argument about black males under white colonialism, the report held that the anomaly of so many Korean males entering into sexual relationships through marriage with women of the "leading race" could be partly explained by the Korean male's wish to "satisfy his desire for conquest" (seifukukan o manzoku) of the conqueror. But it also blamed the "excessive discourse on the unification of Koreans and metropolitan Japanese" and the campaign to change names. In the absence of any distinction between Japanese and Korean names, it said, guileless Japanese women in the metropole often misrecognized Koreans as metropolitan Japanese or fell prey to their pleasant conversation. Focusing more on character rather than on physiology, it noted that while no remarkable differences in intellect and physical strength distinguished "mixed blood children" from their metropolitan Japanese counterparts, "as expected, there are many with distorted personalities who do not know shame and whose national spirit is weak."45
For most of the war years, even those military and government officials who used the language of equality and who argued for the desirability of including Koreans in the military emphasized that they wanted to maintain the line excluding the Korean people from the metropolitan Japanese political community. For example, in its June 1937 recommendations for implementing the volunteer soldier system, the Korean Army Headquarters (Ch≈çsengun shireibu) warned that Koreans would assuredly seek privileges once the military was opened to them, and strongly cautioned against "catering to the enthusiasm of Koreans for equal rights."46 Similarly, in its materials prepared in anticipation of questions that the Privy Council would likely ask about the Special Volunteer System, the Government-General stressed that "the question of the right to vote and hold office is inherently a matter that should be considered separately," and it even claimed that the volunteer system was not necessarily a prelude to incorporating Koreans into the conscription system.47
Such warnings continued to circulate in military and civilian official circles around the time of the cabinet's formal decision on 8 May 1942 to impose conscription in Korea. A special committee within the Korean Army Headquarters charged with deliberating on the draft in the colony stressed that "military service is a sublime duty of imperial subjects" and that "the rights to vote and hold office should not be given in compensation for implementation of the conscription system in Korea."48 Similarly, while the explanation of conscription in Korea prepared for the cabinet by the colonial minister (takumu daijin) gave numerous examples in support of the new policy, it also condemned the idea that "the right to vote and hold office should be given in exchange for implementation of the conscription system."49 A draft of the war minister's views on Korean conscription used the same language of "sublime duty" to reject the notion that political rights could be exchanged for Korean military service. Moreover, while it emphasized that Japan's military needs could be met only by mobilizing Koreans and Taiwanese as military manpower, and lauded the advancements of the Korean people, it insisted that "of course the Yamato race will occupy the center in the defense of Greater East Asia."50
Nevertheless, military and colonial officials concluded that the mobilization of Koreans would be effective only if carried out on the basis of an official stance of equality-otherwise, why would Koreans agree to fight and die for Japan and how could interethnic conflicts among the troops be avoided? Once they began campaigning for the incorporation of Koreans into the military by arguing that the colonizers and the colonized were fundamentally the same, it became impossible to block the trajectory toward the increasing inclusion of Koreans within the national community-a community in the senses of a bio-politically targeted and racially united population, and eventually a population allowed to vote and hold public office. Glimmerings of this trajectory are visible even in the June 1937 source, cited above, authored by the Korean Army Headquarters. Although the headquarters urged the Government-General to emphasize the military duty of Koreans and to stifle any demands for expansion of their political rights, the strength of its recommendation to promote the complete identity of the two peoples clearly invited erosion of at least the formal distinctions between metropolitan Japanese and Koreans. The headquarters stressed that the purpose of the amalgamation had been to "truly reveal the reason why it is necessary to make the Koreans, who are of the same race and same ethnos (d≈çshu d≈çzoku), into one and the same body with us as the true heavenly ethnos." Moreover, it warned that Japanese residents in Korea could not simply expect Koreans to become Japanese without demonstrating reciprocity. Japanese residents in Korea should treat Korea as their native place-literally, as the "site of their ancestral graves" (funbo no chi). And they should be magnanimous enough to think of themselves as "Koreans (Ch≈çsenjin)who hold firmly to the spirit of the Imperial Nation." For if Koreans were expected to think of themselves as Japanese without "metropolitan Japanese" in Korea considering themselves "Koreans," the policy would fail, since it would "in the end appear to be a unilateral measure." The Korean Army Headquarters even recommended extension of the Household Registration Law (kosekih≈ç) to the colony.51
It is important to keep in mind that this document and others like it were not intended to serve as propaganda but were recommendations for setting policies. Clearly, whether they personally held racist views or not, the authorities were persuaded both by sheer logic and by such experiences as the 1936 revolt against the Manchurian Army's discriminatory treatment of Koreans, mentioned above, that unless they made genuine efforts to put egalitarian policies into practice, the mass mobilization of Koreans for the war effort would end in failure. For the volunteer soldier system to succeed, they had no choice but to uphold a policy of nondiscrimination, beginning with the treatment of Koreans within the military itself. Thus, unlike the U.S. military, which did not abandon its policy of racial segregation until after the war, the Japanese military explicitly rejected such a policy before it implemented the volunteer system for Koreans. A Korean Army document explained that discriminating against Koreans by placing them in special units would contradict the spirit of national unity and would reduce the efficiency of the special volunteer system by half.52 The Korean Army Headquarters emphasized the policy of nondiscrimination in no uncertain terms: "insofar as adoption of the volunteer soldier system is recognized and implemented, the treatment of Koreans after their induction must necessarily be based upon the fundamental principle of making metropolitan Japanese and Koreans uniform and equal. Any discriminatory attitude in dealing with this matter, stemming from some trifling reason, must be absolutely eliminated. Otherwise, adoption of this system will end in harm rather than benefit."53
Echoing such sentiments, the Government-General stressed in its November 1937 outline of procedures for carrying out the Korean volunteer soldier system that after a rigorous process of selecting appropriate volunteers for enlistment, "in principle the current system should be applied without discrimination between metropolitan Japanese and Koreans. In other words, education, reenlistment, volunteering to become a noncommissioned officer, salary, etc.-in all these things metropolitan Japanese and Koreans should be treated in the same manner."54
After the May 1942 announcement that Koreans would become subject to conscription, and especially after concrete preparations began, it became increasingly difficult to maintain the strict line of exclusion between Koreans and metropolitan Japanese by ethnicity, by worthiness of life and welfare, and even in terms of political rights. And in direct contrast to the exclusionary notion cited earlier that Koreans might be mobilized for the military as an "outside people," official documents increasingly included the Korean people as "leaders of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere" (dait≈ça ky≈çeiken no shid≈çsha) and placed them within the concept of the empire's "core leadership" (ch≈´kakuteki shid≈çsha).55
To be sure, even as it denounced discrimination and claimed to recognize Korean inclusion in the core Japanese population, the emerging discourse on Koreans as a part of the Japanese people tended to describe the Korean people as still lagging behind the metropolitan Japanese. While it predicted that all distinctions between Koreans and the metropolitan Japanese would eventually fade away, in the meantime Koreans were to be treated as essentially but not yet actually equals. This was a kind of historicist logic that, as Dipesh Chakrabarty has put it for another context, consigned others to "an imaginary waiting room" of history. In other words, it was a way of telling the Korean people "not yet"56-and it resulted not in the disappearance of racism but in the constitution of a new kind of discrimination that reproduced hierarchies through a discourse on cultural character and catching up, even as it strongly denounced ethnic or racial discrimination and gestured toward inclusion. Yet, as we will also see, the very logic of historicism opened up an avenue for increasing numbers of exemplary individuals to slip out of the waiting room and to claim themselves ready to be treated as full-fledged Japanese. And the incessant pressure of meeting the demands of total war led to the piecemeal, if far from complete, dismantling of the waiting room itself.
Inclusionary Racism and Training Soldiers from Korea
The logic of inclusionary or polite racism, with its simultaneous disavowal and reproduction of racism through a reasoning that was cultural and historicist rather than strictly biological and essentialist, is succinctly expressed in a text that directly affected the treatment of Koreans in the army-namely, Ch≈çsen shusshinhei no ky≈çiku sank≈ç shiry≈ç (Reference Materials for the Education of Soldiers from Korea, hereafter Soldiers from Korea or "the manual"). Authored by the Inspectorate General of Military Training (Ky≈çiku S≈çkanbu), the highest body providing guidance on army educational matters (with the exception of the Army Air Service), Soldiers from Korea appeared in two compact volumes in 1944. Its extensive bibliographic references as well as its contents reveal that its authors had based their generalizations on the vast reservoir of Japanese Orientalist knowledge about the Korean people and their history, and that it served as a manual for Japanese officers charged with training Korean soldiers.57
The text begins with a dramatic prologue that emphasized, as the official slogan went, "the equality of all under the emperor's benevolent gaze" (isshi d≈çjin), the rising self-consciousness of Koreans as imperial subjects, and the possibility that these Koreans might have a special mission in making Greater East Asia a reality. While it is often assumed today that the "Japanese" reserved the leading place in East Asia for themselves alone, with other imperial subjects having a "proper place" below them, the prologue declared that these soldiers from Korea should be allowed to fulfill their weighty mission "as members of the leading race of Greater East Asia" (Dait≈ça no shid≈ç minzoku no ichiin toshite; emphasis added).
Whether the Koreans would do so, however, depended on the "discernment and passion of [their] educators." The manual warned these educators not to discriminate against Korean soldiers. While instructors must "have sufficient recognition and grasp of [Korean] ethnic characteristics and current conditions in Korea," they should avoid "being slaves to unfounded prejudices or to immediately judging individuals by general tendencies." Furthermore, the manual warned that while it might appear to focus excessively on the faults in the "character, thought, and moral fiber" of Koreans, the same shortcomings could be widely found among individual metropolitan Japanese.58
Summarizing the scholarship of anthropologists, folklorists, historians, linguists, and economists as well as studies conducted by various governmental agencies, Soldiers from Korea outlined the characteristics that its authors believed distinguished Koreans from their metropolitan Japanese counterparts. In doing so, however, it maintained that these differences were not suprahistorical but rather products of specific geopolitical factors and concrete historical experiences. It explained that although the Korea Peninsula had from ancient times sustained intimate sanguineous, cultural, and political relationships with the Japanese mainland, history had pulled the two regions apart and stamped the Korean people with their particularity. Following the long line of scholarly thought on "the unity of metropolitan Japan and Korea" and the "common ancestry of Japanese and Koreans," the manual supposed an original sameness from which it claimed that the Koreans had degenerated through history. Korea's geographical location next to the great powers-the Chinese, the Manchus, and the Mongols-had been unfortunate, for it had led to unrelenting threats from these powers and only semi-independent status. This situation cultivated an attitude of excessive submissiveness toward the powerful, a kind of clever opportunism vis-√†-vis the strong that extended beyond dealings with foreigners. The manual called the resulting Korean character the "diplomatic personality" (gaik≈çteki seikaku) type.59
During the Yi dynasty, domestic political instability and the court's failure to win over the people fostered a way of thinking and a character that prized "self-preservation and fixated on the individual family." Moreover, factional strife spread through political life and led to a "chronic ethnic disease" (minzokuteki koshitsu)-namely, the tendency to prioritize self-defense above all else, and a personality type notable for its extreme suspiciousness. Members of the political and social elite, the yangban and chungin, knew only self-interest. Moreover, they tried to line their pockets in public office because factionalism made them constantly insecure about their employment. At the same time, they exacted large profits from the common people. As for the latter, most of them were deeply impoverished peasants who lived in an "extremely primitive" subsistence economy. Unable to rely on the yangban elite, the commoners had no choice but to devise strategies for their self-protection. But rather than carve out their own destinies, the illiterate peasantry succumbed to fatalism and conventional beliefs in demons and spirits.60
Soldiers from Korea thus portrayed Koreans as a people that history had made backward, and it justified Japan's seizure of Korea through a discourse of protection and benevolence. But if precolonial history had been responsible for their backwardness, Koreans' modern history as part of the Japanese empire was scripted as a story of progress whose yet unrealized telos would be complete assimilation as "members of the leading nation of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere." The history of the "New Korea" (Shin Ch≈çsen) was only beginning, and its establishment required the reform of Korean "thought, beliefs, character, and custom" (shis≈ç, shink≈ç, seikaku, f≈´sh≈´). In other words, if history had created Korean differences, it could also produce sameness as Japanese.
Like so many other writings on Koreans and Korean soldiers, Soldiers from Korea also attributed the following characteristics to these colonials and their customs and habits. First, the manual utilized Murayama Chijun's massive ethnographic studies, which had been published by the Government-General, to denigrate Korean religions and beliefs as backward. It held that Korean Confucianism, which had been the dominant belief system under the Yi dynasty, had placed excessive weight on filial piety and thereby trivialized the loyalty of the subject toward the king. As for what it called "pseudo-religions" (ruiji sh≈´ky≈ç), a category into which it put such groups as the Tonghak: these were said to be superstitious schools that obstructed the "work ethic" while fomenting social movements and Korean ethnic consciousness. Similarly, the manual disparaged Korean folk religion as primitive, fatalistic, and immature, consisting only of "beliefs in vulgar superstitions" such as demons and spirits, geomancy, and divination. Thus, using a logic and language remarkably similar to Weberian theories of development and modernization, which likewise denigrated superstition and fatalism while valorizing rationalization and "disenchantment of the world,"61 Soldiers from Korea concluded that Korean religion and beliefs contained little of value. Instead, the Japanese spirit should continue to displace these to provide a genuine spiritual foundation for the people of the peninsula, while the spirit of modern science would destroy superstition.
The manual recognized that the "Korean character" possessed some strengths, but it highlighted what its writers regarded as the deficiencies that history had produced. It alleged that Koreans were selfish and had difficulty acting in unison. They had a tendency to scheme, to be inconsistent, to be insincere, and they had little sense of responsibility. On this last point, the manual ironically prefigured Ruth Benedict's classic justification for the United States' paternalistic stance toward the Japanese after the war-namely, that the Japanese national character lacked internalized standards for conduct. Put differently, both the Japanese colonial and later U.S. occupations justified their hegemony by representing the dominated as lacking the modern responsible subject assumed to be necessary for self-governance.62
The manual held that the Koreans were obsequious toward the strong and contemptuous of the weak. As a consequence of their long relationship with China, they merely mimicked others and lacked creativity. Even the Tonghak religion was but an eclectic and imitative blend of Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism. Confucianism had bred a respect for the literary but not military arts, and therefore Koreans had become effeminate (bunjaku). Koreans had grown relatively resigned to poverty, but this tolerance coupled with poor scientific knowledge had lowered their sensitivity to both "filth" (fuketsu) and beauty. Though they were talkative and prone to clowning and argumentativeness, most of their arguments remained strictly verbal, since they had little inclination for taking action.
Soldiers from Korea used "scientific" studies of the mental and physical capacities of Koreans to conclude that while Koreans scored slightly below Mainlanders on intelligence tests, the cause was probably educational and environmental disadvantages. Koreans appeared less competent in "complex thought" (fukuzatsu naru shik≈çryoku), but they possessed a strong faculty of memory. Only self-interest could prod them into persistent ambition or volition. Observations of those who had already enlisted indicated that Korean soldiers had good physiques and physical strength and were generally not inferior to the metropolitan Japanese.
The next section of Soldiers from Korea is a detailed description of Korean customs, manners, and language. While it is not necessary to summarize all this ethnographic data, it should be noted that even as the manual scorned cultural differences and urged assimilation, it encouraged metropolitan Japanese to practice patience and sensitivity. Thus they should not be offended by such habits as the apparently rude omission of the honorific prefix "o" when Koreans spoke in Japanese. They could not be blamed, for no comparable prefix existed in the Korean language. Likewise, metropolitan Japanese should understand that Koreans consider it rude for those in lower social positions to address those in higher positions without first being addressed, so silence should not be understood as lack of affability or good will. "After receiving things, it is customary [for Koreans] not to express thanks"-and so on. In summing up this section on customs and manners, the manual concluded that while "there are not a few cases in which common Korean customs seem extremely rude from the perspective of the customs of metropolitan Japanese," uninformed judgments should not be made and no offense should be taken. Instead, "it is necessary to patiently and earnestly (junjun toshite) teach [them] our nation's customs-to reform and guide."63
The manual's final section described the behavior of Koreans who were presently, or who had already served, in the Imperial Army. It remarked that the Koreans' overall service record was very good, that they were performing with distinction on the battlefield, and that many had died heroically. An appendix also described their gallantry. Nevertheless, the manual continued to stress that the Korean traits of these soldiers needed to be reformed and it called special attention to behavior within the military that could be attributed to these flaws. For example, the Korean overvaluation of filial piety and individual self-interest posed a problem in handling Korean soldiers, because when they learned of a sick parent they would often do anything necessary to secure leave, including arranging for fictitious telegrams to be sent to them. Moreover, their overzealousness in private affairs fostered a lackadaisical attitude about service in their units. While individual acts of Korean heroism had been observed, the long Korean tradition of disparaging the military arts had resulted in reluctance to perform bold acts of courage, an inability to tolerate horrific battlefield conditions, cowardice at the sight of blood, and excessive demonstrations of pain or exhaustion.
Finally, the manual called attention to differences in everyday sanitation practices that would have been familiar from the discriminatory cultural knowledge about Koreans that had been a part of racial common sense since the late nineteenth century. Especially from around the turn of the century onward, Japanese visitors to Korea had constructed an image of Korea as not only backward and uncivilized but also as a land of filth. Seoul, one writer remarked in a 1905 publication, was the "shit capital" of the world, and Korea's "seven major products" were "shit, tobacco, lice, kaesang (courtesans), tigers, pigs and flies."64 Soldiers from Korea drew from this discourse on sanitation, as well as the already-mentioned argument that Korean insensitivity to filthiness was a result of poverty, to explain the Korean soldiers' allegedly coarse eating habits and their "extremely poor sense of sanitation." They poured soup over their rice, ate gluttonously, and spilled rice, the manual said. They customarily used the same containers-whether tin cans, washbowls, or buckets-for eating, for washing their faces, and as mop buckets, and they employed the same rags for wiping floors and tables. They did not like bathing, laundering, or cleaning, and showed no reluctance to spit out phlegm or blow their noses into their hands in public. Flies and lice did not bother them.
It is important to note again, however, that although these characterizations of the Korean soldiers may strike us as extremely derogatory and racist, they were supposed to be counterbalanced by the idea that history and not biology had produced these Korean customs, habits, and consciousness-and that the Korean people could and should be reformed. In this sense, Soldiers from Korea shares much more with the U.S. military's policies toward the training of racial minorities than one might expect. While I have not been able to locate a manual for the training of Japanese Americans, the U.S. War Department's Command of Negro Troops provides a good comparative text.
Published for restricted internal use in exactly the same month as volume 1 of Soldiers from Korea, and for the similar purpose of "help[ing] officers command their troops more effectively by giving them information which will increase their understanding of their men," this manual prominently denounced racism while calling attention to actually existing differences between the African American soldier and his white counterpart. It therefore boldly stated at the outset that the "Selective Service Act requires that there will be no racial discrimination in the selection and training of men for military duty. The same methods of discipline, training, and leadership apply to Negro troops that have proved successful with any other troops." Nevertheless, it noted that the "Negro in the Army has special problems"-problems, it claimed, that had been produced by "the fact that the Negro group has had a history materially different from that of the majority in the Army. Its average schooling has been inferior; its work has been generally less skilled than that of the white man; and its role in the life of the Nation has been limited." Thus, like Soldiers from Korea, the American manual denied any biological difference between the racialized minority and the dominant group and instead introduced history as the factor that had produced dissimilarities. It denied "inborn difference," but simultaneously highlighted various "facts," such as those from testing, that seemed to demonstrate the generally poorer aptitude of "Negroes." It rejected the common idea that African Americans possessed an inherent capacity for music and dancing, and yet affirmed that this talent existed and had been born out of "their history and life, not in their race."65
The American text mirrored Soldiers from Korea's view of Koreans and its instructions for their Japanese instructors, insisting that lower test results meant not that "Negroes" were "unteachable" but that instructors needed to use "extra patience, skill, and understanding." It invoked the slogan "Good soldiers are made, not born" to highlight the incorrect assumption that inherent deficiencies made African Americans unreliable in battle. "In all the vast number of studies by psychologists and other scientists during the past two or three decades," it concluded, "there is not one piece of research which proves that Negroes are, as a group, mentally or emotionally defective by heredity."66 Logically, then, racial theories like those advocated by the Germans had to be rejected, if only in the interests of effective manpower utilization.
We should not assume that either Command of Negro Troops or Soldiers from Korea necessarily changed the vulgar racist attitudes of the instructors who read them or eliminated racial discrimination from the army. Instead, these texts reflected and advanced the transition to a new inclusionary and ostensibly polite form of racism that insisted upon the illegitimacy of formal racial discrimination, even as it reproduced a racist logic through a discourse of differential histories, lagging development, and culture. Official pronouncements on Koreans and Korean soldiers even commonly came to assert that those with a strong sense of Korean ethnic consciousness who refused assimilationist ideals were the real practitioners of discrimination, not the metropolitan Japanese. In other words, Korean ethnic nationalists could be accused of practicing what some today would call "reverse discrimination," because of their assertion of ethnic difference.67
Yet I want to push this point even further to argue that the contradictions inherent in this logic had an almost irrepressible power to unleash changes in an ostensibly egalitarian direction that not even advocates of this new discourse could have foreseen or desired. For example, members of the Ky≈çch≈çkai-the semiofficial think tank made up of bureaucrats and business leaders who were charged with researching social conditions, advising the government on social policy, and "harmonizing" the relationship between labor and capital-found themselves in 1944 almost unable to do anything other than recommend a liberal and inclusionary posture vis-√†-vis Koreans. To be sure, their August 1944 report, "Question of the Peninsulars [Koreans]" (Hant≈çjin mondai), remarked on the Koreans' generally fine physiques and "particularly their good teeth and eyes," thus suggesting that the culturally based polite racism could never completely severe its ties with biologism. And yet the report also emphasized the high academic aptitude of some Koreans, the increasing difficulty of differentiating Koreans educated in primary school from their Japanese counterparts (even their facial movements were becoming the same, it was said), the effectiveness of educating Koreans, and the need to continue these efforts. After approvingly commenting on all these indications of the Koreans' increasing assimilation to the metropolitan way of life (Naichi seikatsu), the report recommended that therefore "good people" (ii hito) among the Koreans should be placed in leadership positions. Furthermore, taking special note of the draft's impact, it concluded that "now that the decision has been made to implement military conscription in Korea, in the future we have no choice but to place our fullest trust in the Peninsulars."68
Indeed, the contradictions exposed by the mobilization of Koreans for the war effort continued to press the colonial government to reform some of its most obviously discriminatory policies toward Koreans. In the Government-General's compilation of materials collected in anticipation of the eighty-sixth session of the Imperial Diet, its General Affairs Bureau (S≈çmukyoku) remarked that in 1944 the "most epoch-making matter from the point of view of (colonial) administration" had been implementation of the military conscription system. And the compilation itself devoted considerable attention to how the colonial government intended to "turn all of Korea's human and material elements into war power (senryokka)," while also making progress in educating, caring for, and eliminating signs of discrimination against the Korean people. The General Affairs Bureau feared that particularly in the wake of independence for the Philippines and Burma, the establishment of Free India (or Azad Hind, the provisional Indian government in exile that was committed to freeing India from British rule), and the promise that Indonesia would become independent, some Koreans, owing to a "narrow-minded ethnic view" (sh≈çj≈çteki minzoku ishiki), would push for Korean autonomy. In order to forestall such an outcome, it emphasized that such elements had to be made to recognize themselves as "people of the leading great nation of Greater East Asia." This could be accomplished only by responding to the Korean people's wartime contributions with corresponding measures to "reform various aspects of their treatment." Using a variant of what we will soon see was by then an official slogan of the Japanese government, "reform of the treatment of Koreans and Taiwanese," the bureau concluded that "we must realize that there are many matters in need of reform, which can be ascertained through investigations ranging across each and every institution of society and to the smallest details of customary practices, etc."69
The Government-General's officials paid special attention to securing the cooperation of Korea's educated elite by eliminating or at least reforming discriminatory policies that specifically affected them. They did so not only because they understood that they needed the elite to staff all the major apparatuses of colonial rule-including the bureaucracy, the police, the military, the media, and businesses-but also because they realized that they could successfully mobilize the Korean masses only with the native elite's assistance. Thus in the last years of the war the colonial government responded with some substance to one of the educated elite's most often heard complaints-namely, that the different salaries paid to Korean and Japanese bureaucrats was a form of discrimination that had to be eliminated.
As early as April 1910, several months before Japan's formal annexation of Korea, the Japanese government's Imperial Ordinance No. 137 had established the legal foundation for permitting salary differentials between metropolitan Japanese and native colonial (gaichi) officials by providing that hardship allowances could be given to the former. Two other laws specific to Korea that went into effect on 1 October 1910-GGK Ordinance No. 15 and Imperial Ordinance No. 403-stipulated, for example, that those in the higher civil service (k≈çt≈çkan) would receive a 40 percent salary supplement while junior officials above rank 5 (hanninkan goky≈´) would qualify for a 60 percent allowance. In response to charges of discrimination and as a gesture toward the formal policy of metropolitan and colonial equality, the government could have simply abolished the hardship allowance system. Instead, Imperial Ordinance No. 230 (effective 1 April 1944) removed language in the earlier ordinance specifically targeting metropolitan Japanese (naichijin taru) for this benefit, thereby making it possible in principle for native colonials throughout the empire to boost their pay to that of their counterparts. The GGK's Ordinance No. 168 and General Directive No. 31 (both effective 10 April 1944) subsequently indicated that Korean officials from the highest-ranking ones in the higher civil service to principals of public middle schools and national elementary schools, as well as village district and township heads, would also become eligible for the allowances.70
Speaking in March 1944-that is, just before these legal changes went into effect-Mizuta Naomasa, head of the GGK's Treasury Bureau (zaimukyokuch≈ç), explained that the measures to begin eliminating salary differentials constituted part of the larger principle of unifying Korea and metropolitan Japan. With implementation of military conscription drawing near and compulsory primary education only three years away, the inequality produced by the system of special allowances for metropolitan Japanese alone could not be left unresolved. Of course, as Mizuta understood, the 1944 changes still left out the multitude of Koreans working as lower-ranking colonial employees. Yet he justified this exclusion as perfectly in keeping with the ideal of equality in that it restricted the allowance to the ranks of Korean officials who had become completely like metropolitan Japanese, both "materially and spiritually."
In other words, the colonial government would eliminate salary differentials only for those who had become Japanese in their interiority and whose "economic circumstances, lifestyle, and so on, did not differ in any respects from metropolitan Japanese." For Mizuta, such a limitation did not alter what mattered most-namely, that a fundamental transformation in the principle of determining eligibility would soon occur. As he put it, the allowance would be given "without regard to whether a bureaucrat or the equivalent is metropolitan Japanese, Taiwanese, or whatever, and irrespective of whether he takes one step overseas, as long as he is engaged in colonial administration." In his reasoning, native colonials could no longer be treated differently just because they were not metropolitan Japanese. If they were the equal of metropolitan Japanese in every way, then they would be treated and paid as such. Since Koreans at the top of the bureaucracy were most likely to have assimilated, they would become eligible for the allowances. As we have seen so often, Mizuta's reasoning betrays the way in which cultural racism might continue under the logic of equality. Nevertheless, Mizuta was correct that a fundamental legal principle based on the a priori, ascriptive assumption of difference between Koreans and metropolitan Japanese had been overturned.71 Moreover, although too late to have been carried out with any significant effect prior to the war's ending, in April 1945 GGK's Ordinance No. 75 eliminated all salary distinctions between metropolitan Japanese and Korean native officials.72
Similarly, the GGK's leaders praised themselves for increasing the number of Koreans at the highest levels of the police and colonial bureaucracy. These included the much-heralded appointment to Hwanghae Province of the colony's first provincial Korean Police Bureau chief, Isaka Kazuo (Korean name, Yun Chong-hwa), in 1944, as well as the selection of Koreans to head Kangw≈èn Province's Higher Police Department (k≈çt≈ç kach≈ç-that is, the province's "thought police") and Ky≈ènggi Province's Criminal Affairs Department. As of late 1944, Koreans held five out of thirteen provincial governorships and they served until the end of the war. The GGK even claimed to be practicing what in today's U.S. English would be called a kind of "affirmative action" for highly educated Koreans. It reported that a particularly large number of Koreans, no fewer than thirty-seven, had passed the higher civil service exam for administration in 1943. "Through the especially cooperative auspices of the central government's authorities," it boasted, "twelve of them had been formally selected for employment in ministries of the central government, thus opening up an unprecedented avenue." Of the remainder, twenty-one took positions in the offices of the GGK, two became students, and one worked in the Manchukuo bureaucracy, with only one failing to find employment. The Government-General also pointed out that in 1943 a member of the Yi family had taken a seat in the Imperial Diet's House of Peers by imperial nomination, and that Han Sang-nyong, a councillor in the Ch≈´s≈´in advisory body to the governor-general, had been appointed director general (jimukyoku s≈çsai) of the Korea Federation for Total National Mobilization (Ch≈çsen S≈çryoku Ch≈çsen Renmei).73 The latter was the important extra-governmental organization that combined the efforts of bureaucrats, the military, and private individuals to mobilize Koreans for the war effort.
The Politics and Bio-politics of Inclusion
On 22 July 1944, General Koiso Kuniaki succeeded T≈çj≈ç Hideki as prime minister of Japan. Koiso had been Korea's governor-general (29 May 1942-22 July 1944) and as such had presided over the introduction of military conscription to the colony. Earlier, as commander of the Korean Army (2 December 1935-15 July 1938), he had also played a major role in establishing Korea's Army Special Volunteer System. In his September 1944 policy speech before the eighty-fifth session of the Imperial Diet, Koiso made it clear to the peoples of the Japanese empire, and in fact to the entire world,74 that the nation needed to improve its treatment of Koreans and Taiwanese. As he put it,
As important parts of the imperial nation, Korea and Taiwan are each exercising the special characteristics of their regions to contribute to its prosperity and the realization of war objectives. They have previously produced excellent results as Army Special Volunteer Soldiers and now we have come to witness implementation of the military conscription system. From the perspective of the nation, the fact that so many compatriots have demonstrated the sincerity of their willingness to serve on the sacred battlefield is cause for celebration. At the same time, I believe that it is necessary to fully reconsider their treatment.75
With this speech Koiso set in motion the process by which some version of the slogan "Betterment of the treatment of Korean and Taiwanese compatriots" (Ch≈çsen oyobi Taiwan d≈çh≈ç ni taisuru shog≈´ kaizen) became the Japanese government's official policy-a position that also circulated in public discourse through the media. This campaign unfolded on two fronts. One, explicitly categorized as "political treatment" (seiji shog≈´), centered on the effort to give Koreans and Taiwanese representation in the national Diet. The other, labeled "general treatment" (ippan shog≈´), focused on a range of practices that were supposed to enhance the general welfare and happiness of the Korean and Taiwanese colonial subjects.76 The latter cluster therefore fits well into Foucault's broader concept of "government."
In its May 1942 study of procedures for recruiting Koreans under the conscription system, the Government-General had been prescient in acknowledging that the issue of political rights would haunt the decision to draft Koreans into the military. "It is as clear as the light of day that like a shadow that follows its object," it said, "a discussion of the rights to vote and hold office will arise in conjunction with the problem of making Koreans subject to the military conscription system."77 But by late 1944 it was no longer possible to delink conscription as well as the general mobilization of the Korean population for the war effort from this question. As Tanaka Takeo-who had served under Koiso as both his vice governor-general and subsequently his chief cabinet secretary at the time when formal deliberations on Koreans' political rights took place-recalled in a postwar roundtable, the decision to "send them [the Koreans] out as soldiers" (hei ni dasu) had been the foremost impetus for "seriously considering the matter of the rights to hold office and vote."78
In November of that year, the cabinet passed a resolution to establish the Research Commission on the Political Treatment of the Residents of Korea and Taiwan (Ch≈çsen oyobi Taiwan Zaij≈´min Seiji Shog≈´ Ch≈çsakai), and its subsequent regulations (approved 23 December, promulgated 26 December) gave Koiso nearly complete control over its direction and membership. Koiso headed the commission, and he appointed to it some of the leading figures in the government and bureaucracy, including his state and home ministers and members of the Diet. A number of men who occupied or had earlier held high-ranking positions in the colonial governments also sat on the commission, beginning with the vice governors-general of Korea and Taiwan at the time, as well as Tanaka Takeo. However, no Korean or Taiwanese was appointed.
It has been noted that in general the metropolitan government and bureaucracy, fearing the erosion of metropolitan Japanese privilege in the colonies and at home, tended to be passive about or even resistant to granting Koreans and Taiwanese rights to participate in the national Diet-while representatives of the War Ministry, the Government-General, and Koiso himself aggressively promoted the move.79 In this sense, the fall of the T≈çj≈ç cabinet and Koiso's subsequent appointment to the premiership might appear to have been the fortuitous events that enabled eventual passage of the laws granting Taiwanese and Koreans rights to participate in the Imperial Diet. As Tanaka Takeo and a number of other high-ranking former officials of the Government-General recalled in their fascinating postwar recollections on the process by which these legal changes occurred, Koiso had vigorously advocated these rights for Koreans and Taiwanese while serving as Korea's governor-general. The army and navy shared his views. However, T≈çj≈ç and officials in the Ministry of Home Affairs were just as adamantly opposed. Thus, as long as T≈çj≈ç remained in power there seemed little hope of passing the requisite legal changes. Conversely, once his cabinet had resigned, it became possible for Koiso to assume power and to push his agenda. While he faced considerable resistance at times, Koiso's strong position and the military's aggressive support of the new policy ensured their ultimate passage.80
Although Koiso and supporters such as Tanaka Takeo no doubt played key roles in passing the new legislation, the movement toward further political inclusion of Korea in the nation had begun at the beginning of the total war years. In terms of the colonial empire's administrative structure, the extension of some form of national political rights to the colonies coincided with the larger trend toward the "unification of domestic and colonial administration." This move was given a major institutional boost with the November 1942 abolition of the Colonial Ministry (Takumush≈ç) and the transfer of its jurisdiction over Korea's and Taiwan's governments-general and the Karafuto Agency to the Home Ministry's new Bureau of Administration (Kanrikyoku). In contrast, the relative political outsideness of Kant≈çsh≈´ (Kwantung Leased Territory) and Nan'y≈ç (the Micronesian islands under Japanese mandate) was reflected in the shift of their supervision to the newly established Greater East Asia Ministry (Dait≈çash≈ç). It might also be noted that in March 1945, the Diet's Lower House accepted a petition abolishing use of the term gaichi, "outer territories," to refer to Japanese possessions outside of metropolitan Japan.81 Even more importantly, as Koiso's speech suggested and as former colonial officials agreed in their recollections, the new promises for greater political inclusiveness emerged as effects of the Japanese empire's mobilization of Korean and Taiwanese in the war effort.82
Koreans and Taiwanese received the rights to vote for and send representatives to the national Diet through two laws promulgated on 1 April 1945. Law No. 34 provided that all male imperial subjects residing in Korea and Taiwan who were twenty-five years of age and above and who also paid a minimum of fifteen yen in direct national taxes could vote in elections for representatives to the Diet's Lower House. Korea was allotted twenty-three Lower House representatives; Taiwan, five. To be sure, as Okamoto Makiko has shown, this law with its high minimum tax requirement was calculated to place a limit on the number of eligible Korean and Taiwanese voters in the colonies. Moreover, no election under the new law ever took place, since the war ended before it went into effect.
Limitations aside, Law No. 34 represented a radical reenvisioning of the political relationship between the metropole and its two largest colonies. In the late 1950s Akiyama Sh≈çhei, who had been among those assigned to study the political rights issue around the time of the law's passage, recalled that he and some of his colleagues had not worried a great deal about the implications of this legislation for the wartime period, in large measure because the Imperial Rule Assistance Association's domination of mass politics in Japan would have precluded the colonial vote from having a significant impact. Instead, Akiyama and his colleagues feared that granting Taiwanese and Korean voters rights to participate in the Imperial Diet could have enormous repercussions in the postwar period-and here we should remember that despite the Cairo Declaration's 1943 promise to end Japanese rule over Taiwan and Korea, their immediate liberation was by no means guaranteed. If Korea remained a part of Japan, such a change might have allowed colonials to have the decisive or "casting vote" on critical issues.83
Similarly, former Vice Governor General Tanaka Takeo and another former colonial official, Hozumi Shinrokur≈ç, recounted that all Japanese politicians, "big and small," had been very much concerned that granting political rights to Koreans might lead to difficulties similar to Britain's "Irish problem." Hozumi stressed that ever since the late nineteenth century, Irish MPs had held the casting vote at critical times. This resulted eventually in the successes of the Irish National Party, the rise of Sinn Fein, and eventually the split between the independent Republic of Ireland and British-ruled Northern Ireland. Hozumi described the Japanese politicians, who knew how Irish inclusion in British parliamentary politics had stirred up such troubles, as having been "extremely nervous about the casting vote."84
Tanaka recalled three general sources of apprehension about Korean representation in the Diet. First, with the T≈çj≈ç cabinet's fall, the Diet had once again become an important arena for debate, and Japanese politicians feared that colonial representatives might have a significant impact in such discussions. Second, given that the nation's leaders still did not consider defeat an inevitability, they worried that they might be compelled to fulfill any promises about expanded political rights in the postwar era. Finally, those discussing the matter understood that representation in the Diet and conferral on the colonials of what might be the casting vote opened up the possibility of Korean and Taiwanese independence. In short, these former colonial officials testified that they had genuinely believed that despite the risks involved, it had become necessary to meet some of the colonial demands for enhanced political rights and better overall treatment. They had arrived at this conclusion because of the mobilization of Koreans and Taiwanese for the war effort, not because they assumed that they were about to lose the war and that their promises would become meaningless.85
The second law concerned the House of Peers, to which, since 1932, three Koreans and one Taiwanese had received lifetime appointments, under provisions of the then-existing law. In 1945 Imperial Ordinance No. 193 opened up a more substantial avenue for selection of Koreans and Taiwanese to the House of Peers: it stipulated that ten male residents of Korea or Taiwan, each at least thirty years of age, would serve for seven years in the House as direct imperial appointees. In keeping with the empire's formal principle of nondiscrimination, the law did not exclude metropolitan Japanese residents of these colonies from consideration. However, everyone implicitly understood that appointees would be Korean or Taiwanese and that their appointments would be determined by the recommendations of the governments-general. As a result, seven Koreans and three Taiwanese joined the one surviving earlier Korean appointee in the House of Peers. As an eerie reminder of this late wartime moment in which Korea was increasingly becoming a part of the Japanese nation, the names of the new colonial appointees remained on the official registry of Diet members until 4 July 1946. The earlier appointee, a member of the Korean royal family, was still on the official Diet registry when the House of Peers was abolished in May 1947.86
Beyond their inclusion in the national political system, wartime mobilization of Koreans also led directly to their constitution into a population worthy of life, health, reproduction, and happiness-in other words, to their inclusion in the regime of governmentality and bio-power. As in all modern nation-states, one of the basic requirements for enabling the state to intervene in the lives and deaths of the people in these ways was to establish an accurate and comprehensive administrative technology by which the population could be identified and monitored. In Japan proper this had been accomplished in the late nineteenth century by putting the previously highly inaccurate household registers (koseki) in order. The immediate impetus for doing so had been the introduction of military conscription in the 1870s. The new military recruitment system required a method for locating young men subject to the draft.87
In Korea, a similar process unfolded during the war years. There had certainly been earlier attempts, some even predating formal Japanese rule, to turn household registers into instruments through which to efficiently chart and manage the Korean population,88 but the colonial state succeeded in carrying out a comprehensive campaign to put the household registers in good order only when it began preparing to implement the military conscription system in the colony. Prior to the May 1942 announcement that conscription would begin in 1944, the Korean household registers were in shambles and the authorities knew it. Koreans frequently neglected to set up independent registers when establishing new households; many registers did not include women and children; and many individuals were listed in more than one registry, or, in contrast, households that perished were not removed from the records, resulting in "ghost registers" (y≈´rei koseki). Moreover, household registers often inaccurately noted the age of individuals and in many cases did not give their sex. The very mobile character of the population, especially men of working age, also exacerbated the situation. Although many individuals regularly changed their domiciles, both to other locations within Korea and to places as far off as metropolitan Japan, Manchuria, and North China, most did not bother to submit temporary domicile notices (kiry≈´ todoke).89
According to an official document prepared for the purpose of estimating the enormous budget and number of personnel required to register all unregistered Koreans and to process the required temporary domicile notifications, more than 1.1 million people in Korea remained unregistered, while just over 6 million (6,001,991) needed to submit temporary domicile notices because they lived in places other than the location given in their household registers. More than 5.2 million of the 6 million figure were Korean. Presumably, almost all of the 1.1 million unregistered were Korean, since all Japanese would have had been accounted for in the metropole. Further, the report estimated that an additional 2.2 million temporary domicile forms needed to be processed for Koreans living outside of Korea. Thus, out of a total population of some 25,154,560 Koreans residing inside and outside of Korea, almost 7.5 million (7,447,497) needed to submit temporary domicile forms. The document further estimated that high percentages of those living in the various administrative units-about 40 percent of those living in municipalities (J. fu, K. pu), 30 percent of those in townships (J. y≈´, K. ≈≠p), and 20 percent in village districts (J. men, K. my≈èn)-needed to submit temporary domicile notices. Thus even the accurate notation of age and sex in the household registers did not guarantee that the state could actually locate individuals. For all practical purposes, a large, fluid segment of the population remained invisible to the state.90
In order to effectively carry out the military draft as well as to mobilize the population for labor, the Government-General of Korea enacted the Korea Temporary Domicile Notification Ordinance (Ch≈çsen kiry≈´ todoke rei) in September 1942 and soon thereafter started a concerted effort to keep an accurate record of those residing in areas outside their native places. The ordinance required those residing for ninety days or longer in locations other than their place of household registration to submit notifications of temporary domicile. Also, primarily in order to conduct the military draft, the Government-General in February 1943 launched a massive effort to eliminate inaccuracies in household registers. While the GGK never succeeded in completely monitoring the population, the combined effects of forcing the population to submit temporary domicile notifications and of working more intensely to put all household registers in order enabled the state for the first time to know and regulate almost the entirety of the populace. According to one official source, by the end of 1943 about 80 percent of Korean household registers were considered accurate. Although this fairly successful attempt to make the population visible to the state might at first appear unconnected to bio-power and governmentality in the ways that I've described earlier-that is, as a technology to make the population live-it is relevant to note that one of the factors contributing to the relative success of the effort was the colonial state's attempt to make proper registration a condition for receiving wartime rations. By using such slogans as "From temporary domicile notifications, also [get your] ration tickets," the authorities turned the effort to register and monitor the people into a means both of sustaining their lives and of mobilizing them for death (conscription).91
Similar to the situation in the Japanese metropole and many other industrialized nations during the war years,92 in the colony social welfare measures especially targeted that segment of the population in which the promotion of life was most directly linked to the demand for death. Korean military personnel and their families became recipients of aid under Japan's Military Assistance Law (gunji fujoh≈ç, 1937). As the Government-General's officials stated in 1944, prior to 1943 the beneficiaries of the law in Korea had been metropolitan Japanese settlers and the small number of families of Koreans who had entered the army through the Special Volunteer Soldier system. However, with the new enrollment of Korean student soldiers, including new officers, and the massive influx of conscripts from 1944, the Government-General predicted that the number of Korean beneficiaries of the law would continue to increase sharply. This was especially likely since the majority of conscripts came from poor farming households.
In order to cope with the projected scale of such aid to Koreans, in 1944 the Government-General took over administration of these benefits from the metropolitan government's Ministry of Health and Welfare and appropriated nearly one million yen (949,657) for military assistance. In addition, although the total amount is not impressive, in 1944 it earmarked funds from the national treasury to pay two-thirds of the costs of benefits to dependents not covered under the law, such as common-law wives, children born out of wedlock, uncles, parents, nieces, and nephews. Officials determined that as of the end of July 1944, 22 percent of almost 45,000 military families required some form of military aid and that the prolonged massive induction of conscripts would continue to push the total number of such families sharply upward. Similarly, they noted that between the beginning of the Sino-Japanese War in 1937 and the end of June 1944, 3,775 households made up of 11,784 individuals had received livelihood aid (seikatsu fujo), while there had been 805 cases of assistance for medical care, childbirth, burials, and occupational assistance. The Government-General also offered some assistance to gunzoku, civilian employees of the military who were not covered under the Military Assistance Law. For instance, as of June 1944 it claimed to have paid out funds received from the national treasury to the 1,932 households of gunzoku who had died while in service to the army and navy.93
In addition to providing direct monetary aid, the colonial authorities noted that the government had established various institutions to care for veterans and survivors. For example, it described the founding of a sanitarium for veterans afflicted with tuberculosis or pleurisy in Southern Ky≈èngsang Province in February 1941, a policy for treating such patients in specialized hospitals and clinics in metropolitan Japan and Korea, efforts to educate veterans released from hospitals to facilitate their reemployment, ten local guidance counselors for wounded veterans, and special privileges for wounded veterans such as free or reduced train fare. Programs and facilities for widows and other survivors included job training and employment offices, established in major cities such as Seoul (Keij≈ç), Taegu, and Pusan; guidance clinics (gunji engo s≈çdanjo) to assist with various matters including the management of family businesses and the arbitration of labor grievances; educational scholarships; and home visitations of guidance counselors.
The network of provincial and more local groups organized under the Korean Headquarters of the Military Assistance Association-which had originally been formed in December 1938, two months after its parent organization had been established as a foundation in metropolitan Japan-joined with the GGK to facilitate these assistance efforts. Moreover, these groups engaged in other activities designed to build Korean support for the military, such as disseminating knowledge about the concept of military assistance, promoting send-off and welcoming home celebrations for soldiers and sailors, encouraging the populace to send letters and gifts to military men, undertaking condolence activities for the fallen, and so on.94
In addition, throughout the period of the Asia-Pacific War, but particularly in the war's last years, the colonial state as well as extra-governmental organizations closely tied to the state increasingly targeted the Korean population at large for expanded social services and social welfare. For example, during these years tens of thousands of communal day care centers (ky≈çd≈ç takujisho) were opened to enable the increasing mobilization of women workers. The Korean Disaster Relief Foundation Ordinance (Ch≈çsen risai ky≈´jo kikinrei), promulgated in August 1938, facilitated the collection of funds for disaster victims. Enactment of the Korea Relief and Protection Ordinance (Ch≈çsen ky≈´gorei) on 1 March 1944, although more limited and coming some twelve years after a similar ordinance was passed in metropolitan Japan, marked the high point of legal efforts to increase aid and protection for the elderly, children, pregnant and nursing mothers, and the mentally and physically ill or handicapped.95
Administratively, paralleling the establishment of the Ministry of Health and Welfare (K≈çseish≈ç) in the metropole in 1938, the Government-General set up its own Bureau of Health and Welfare (K≈çseikyoku) in November 1941. As Vice Governor-General ≈åno Rokuichir≈ç explained, this independent bureau was established to administer matters concerning labor mobilization and "health, hygiene, and the improvement of physical strength, as well as various types of social and welfare institutions-in short, the various ad hoc and permanent measures concerning the basic cultivation of human resources." Without going into all the details, it may be noted that the Bureau of Health and Welfare was made up of four sections-social, labor, hygiene, and health-and dealt with matters as diverse as physical fitness, maternity, infants and young children, public health issues such as contagious diseases and medical personnel, food and water, labor and unemployment, social and medical relief disaster aid, housing, military relief, and juvenile reformatories.96
This does not mean that all Koreans benefited, and many were assuredly exposed to death, but it does explain why many Koreans received support to live and why colonial officials could boast that in some important statistical respects the aggregate population was prospering. For example, in its compilation of materials prepared in anticipation of the eighty-fifth session of the Diet (September 1944), the Government-General stressed that in the three years and seven months that had elapsed between the 1940 national census and the May 1944 population census, the Korean population had dramatically increased. By its calculations, the Korean population in Korea (that is, the population in Korea excluding metropolitan Japanese, other colonials, and foreigners) had grown from 23,546,932 to 25,133,351. Moreover, the colonial government claimed that over the five-year period from 1938 to 1942 (inclusive), the Korean population had experienced an average natural growth (births minus deaths) of 417,638 per year, or an average annual increase of 17.18 per 1,000. The latter far exceeded metropolitan Japan's rate of 12.03 for the same years.97
Other scholars have researched this new attention to social services and social welfare in Korea (and I have relied on them heavily here), but they have tended to dismiss these projects as disingenuous, intended only to prevent social discontent and to benefit the Japanese state and war program. Relief efforts for the poor, for example, are said to have not been "pure poor relief" (junsui na ky≈´min). Moreover, they have tended to focus on the deficiencies in these types of programs and particularly the disparities between efforts in Korea and those in metropolitan Japan.98 However, I have been suggesting that there is no such thing as "pure poor relief" or social welfare that is independent of power. The history of social services and social welfare throughout the world, including metropolitan Japan, should ultimately be understood as a history of nurturing the life of populations to turn them into efficient workers and soldiers and to preempt social discord, although it would also be ludicrous to deny their obvious benefits to those not called upon to die.99
This leads us to the second aspect of the movement toward the "betterment of the treatment of Korean and Taiwanese compatriots," which was announced in Koiso's July 1944 speech-namely, improvement of their "general treatment." Toward the end of 1944, Koiso Kuniaki's cabinet adopted a proposal drafted by the Home Ministry called "On the Improvement of the Treatment of Koreans and Taiwanese" (Ch≈çsen oyobi Taiwan d≈çh≈ç ni taisuru kaizen ni kansuru ken).100 The proposal consisted of three sections: (1) "items concerning improved treatment of Korean compatriots residing in the metropole," (2) "items concerning improved treatment of Taiwanese compatriots residing in the metropole," and (3) "improvement of treatment within Korea and Taiwan."
The document provided considerable detail only for section 1. The eight items under this section concerned with Koreans in the metropole were (1) "edification of metropolitan Japanese (Naichijin) in general" so that they would improve their "everyday treatment" of Koreans; (2) "removal of the system of barriers to travel" between Korea and metropolitan Japan for Koreans; (3) "improvement of treatment by police," in order "to prevent feelings of discrimination from arising"; (4) "improvement of labor management" to ensure that "Korean laborers will feel secure in their area of work and fulfilled in life"; (5) "renovation of welfare services"; (6) "guidance in educational advancement," meaning that Korean children should be treated the same as their metropolitan Japanese counterparts with regard to their education, thereby facilitating the advancement of Koreans into metropolitan Japan's technical colleges and beyond, and appropriate measures should be taken to provide Korean students with financial assistance; (7) "assistance in finding employment"; and (8) "opening up a path to transfer permanent household registers to metropolitan Japan."
Scholars have long known of this proposal. However, they have tended to read it with great skepticism-dismissing it altogether, challenging its authors' sincerity, or minimizing the extent of its significance and effects. They have noted its lack of concrete detail on key recommendations, the absence of any legally binding language, and conversely its utility as propaganda that was intended to give the appearance of Japan's commitment to equality. For instance, neither the proposal nor its more detailed attachment gave any indication of how or when freedom of travel to and from the metropole would be realized, and details were similarly absent regarding the possibility of moving permanent household registries to the metropole. Indeed, as Okamoto Makiko points out, restrictions on travel from the colony to the metropole remained in place through the end of the war, and avenues to transfer household registries never materialized. The latter would have eliminated all legal distinctions between metropolitan Japanese and Koreans, and hence removed the foundation in law for what amounted to discrimination against Koreans by blood.101 Furthermore, through a meticulous reading of numerous drafts of the proposal, Okamoto convincingly shows that the scope of its specific recommendations gradually narrowed. While early drafts considered measures for all Koreans and Taiwanese within the larger empire, the final draft limited its most extensive and concrete recommendations to Korean residents in Japan. In sum, scholars have tended to minimize the genuine significance of this document and emphasized its shortcomings in improving the situation of Koreans under Japanese colonialism.
Regardless of the limitations of this proposal, however, it must be understood within the larger context of the wartime transition toward inclusion of Koreans both inside and outside of metropolitan Japan in the newly forming multiethnic nation and regime of governmentality. As even Okamoto points out, Koreans residing in Japan were coming to occupy a position as a kind of "minority within metropolitan Japanese society,"102 rather than simply as colonial subjects. She remarks that particularly because of the late wartime need to efficiently manage Korean laborers in Japan, the Home Ministry and the Health and Welfare Ministry made fairly detailed prescriptions for and budgetary allocations to expand social services, employing in particular the Central Harmonization Society (Ch≈´≈ç Ky≈çwakai). And I would add that in November 1944, the name of this society-which had been established out of less-centralized organizations in 1939 to manage and assimilate the Korean population in metropolitan Japan-was changed to the Central Society for the Promotion of Welfare (Ch≈´≈ç K≈çseikai), a phrase obviously suggesting that the organization's main purpose was to promote life.103
Thus it matters less that the cabinet proposal was not fully implemented than that as the war drew to a close, the Japanese discourse on equality and the need to protect and nurture the Koreans both inside and outside the metropole was becoming dominant in official circles. As we have seen, the sweeping measures to include Koreans in the Japanese bio-political and political regimes were so wide-ranging and dramatic that to merely fixate on the limitations of inclusion and the force of ongoing discrimination can only lead to misrecognition of the late wartime transition. Such a misfocus prevents us from recognizing the fundamental shift toward a new form of racism that was beginning to operate precisely through the inclusion of those who had been despised, through the disavowal of racism, through the right to make live, and through the expansion of possible ways in which Koreans might be made to imagine and even sometimes realize their prosperity and happiness as Japanese.
Shortly after Japan's defeat and faced with the grim prospect of Korea's estrangement from Japan, Yoshida Toshiguma, who had been head of conscription for the Korean Army, closed his insider's history of Koreans in the Japanese army with sentimental praise not only for the Koreans who had fought for Japan but also for what he imagined to have been the Japanese system of absolute equality. "The billowing waves of the Genkai Sea [between metropolitan Japan and Korea] are stormy," he said,
and once again we face the day when Japan and Korea are estranged from one another. But the military life that the [soldiers] experienced through conscription-one that they sought to the end, and one that practiced complete equality and impartiality and upheld meritocracy as its first principle-this military life planted seeds in their breasts that will certainly become the driving force of the newly rising Korea. And someday in the warm light of spring, the buds from these seeds will surely bloom into flowers of mutual love and respect, coming to fruition in the spirit of a mutual accord.104
Yoshida appears to have been completely convinced that in its last years the Japanese empire had overcome racism, practiced equality, and genuinely welcomed Koreans into the nation. He described a mutuality of love and respect in which patriotic Koreans fought and often gave their lives for Japan, while the Japanese system treated them with total impartiality. Yet as striking as the apparent sincerity with which Yoshida expressed his feelings was the gap between such a phantasmic view of Japan's relations with the Korean people and the coercion and violence that so many of them had experienced under colonial rule. Yoshida even chose to ignore the obvious force imposed on young men subjected to the draft during what he himself called the "period of continuous desertions," when recent conscripts had absconded in such great numbers that it had been necessary to increase night watches, spies, and sentries, and even to repair and strengthen iron fences to prevent their escape.105
Yoshida's blindness to his own hypocrisy and the regime's brutality should not be understood as simply an individual lapse. Instead, it is but one manifestation of the way in which the polite and inclusionary form of racism of late wartime Japan concealed its own vulgarity through the language of equality and the disavowal of discrimination. But here we might probe even further: if the Japanese regime began to include these previously despised populations within its nation in unprecedented ways, even considering them as part of the national populations in need of life, welfare, and happiness, and if there was indeed a shift from "vulgar" to "polite" racism, and from the "right to kill" to the "right to make live," why then did the Korean people experience so much death and brutality? How can we explain the inhumane treatment accorded to the hundreds of thousands of Korean men forced to labor under horrific and often dangerous conditions with inordinately high mortality and injury rates, or the subjection of tens of thousands of Korean women, if not more, to sexual slavery as "comfort women"? How indeed, when we know that the most gruesome and large-scale wielding of systematic physical and sexual violence against Koreans took place precisely during the turn toward polite racism?106
Such questions can be addressed in two ways. First, it is important to recognize that in Foucault's formulation, under the bio-political regime the right to demand death is the flip side of the "right to make live." Foucault reminds us that the emergence of systematic state programs for public health in the late eighteenth century coincided with the development of mass armies and military technologies that resulted in mass death. From the point of view of the bio-political state, the individual is significant only insofar as she or he affects the strength of the state, either positively or negatively: "sometimes what he has to do for the state is to live, to work, to produce, to consume; and sometimes what he has to do is to die." Foucault also reminds us that this conjunction of apparent opposites reaches a climax in the Second World War, when we find both unprecedented butchery and the institutionalization of massive programs of "welfare, public health, and medical assistance." As Foucault explains, "Since population is nothing more than what the state takes care of for its own sake, of course, the state is entitled to slaughter it, if necessary. So the reverse of biopolitics is thanatopolitics." And with even more irony, he says: "One could symbolize such a coincidence by a slogan: Go get slaughtered and we promise you a long and pleasant life."107
The wartime instrumentalization of life meant that Japanese and Korean lives could be both nurtured and put up for slaughter in the interests of preserving the core population. However, Koreans in the Japanese empire and, as we will see in the next chapter, Japanese in the U.S. empire had been only very incompletely constituted as populations worthy of the positive workings of government prior to the Asia-Pacific War. Thus, before they could be asked to die in order to defend society, they had to be welcomed into the nation and enticed to enjoy the benefits of their inclusion. So in the case of these two subpopulations during the war, I would have to add a prefatory clause to Foucault's slogan: "Welcome to the nation, go get slaughtered and we promise you a long and pleasant life."
Second, as Foucault recognized and as Giorgio Agamben and Achille Mbembe have further theorized, despite the advance of bio-power in modern times, a pure necropolitics-or the sovereign power to take life without regard for life or law-has never disappeared.108 In the case of Japan's and America's minorities and colonial subjects during the war years, even as they entered into the mainstream populations in some important respects, they continued to be marked as somehow different, usually through discourses of cultural difference. Inclusionary racism made it possible for the two regimes to separate out these subpopulations as a whole, or at least segments of them, and then to constitute them permanently or in moments of crisis into indeterminate states or zones of exception in which power could operate through sheer negativity. The racialized difference was complicated, of course, by markers of class and sex. Thus the wartime constitution of Koreans as newly reawakened Japanese both allowed unprecedented opportunities for some, especially the Korean elite, and also resegmented some-such as poor men mobilized as forced laborers and poor women coerced into sexual slavery-within an expanding imaginary of "Japan." These latter were the exceptions to the positivity of bio-politics, sacrificed for the population at large.
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