Remembering the Korean Holocaust Amidst This Pademic

The Slaughtered Koreans in 1923

People are scared. This pandemic will terrorize the people’s lives for a long time. Out of fear and terror, people get to believe anything. Historically, people will hunt and find scapegoats. They need someone to blame like the Germans against jews.

Now, it looks like people are targeting Chinese for the spread of the pandemic. The anger, fear and hatred against the Chinese and possibly against Asians will stay longer in the U.S.

But this is not about Chinese. This story is about Japanese. About 100 years ago, On September 1 of 1923, there was a major earthquake in Japan called “The Great Kantō earthquake (関東大地震).” This earthquake devastated Tokyo, Yokohama, and the surrounding prefectures of Chiba, Kanagawa, and Shizuoka, and caused widespread damage throughout the Kanto region causing about 100,000 casualties.

Japanese Militia Killing Koreans

Out of fear and terror, Japanese people created a scapegoat to erupt their anger and frustration. It was Koreans. Korea was a colony of Japan at that time, which means there was no government to represent their voices at all.

The Japanese citizens got really agitated at the rumor that Koreans were poisoning wells in the middle of chaos, started to hunt and kill Koreans in Japan. If those mobs armed with swords, bamboo spears, and firearms, found a Korean, they just killed the person.

for many weeks after the quake, as many as 100,000 Koreans were killed by angry mobs in Japan due to this turmoil. The Japanese government did not take any action to prevent violence in the street at all until people’s anger caused by the quake was ventilated enough by the violence against Koreans.

History often blames only leaders for the crime against humanity. We were taught it was Hitler, not the German people, who should take the blame for the holocaust. Well, at least in this Massacre in Japan of 1923, it was the Japanese people, not the leaders, who actually initiated and performed the crime against humanity. September 1st of 2020 is the 100th years since the tragedy.

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