The legal integration of Korea

By William Wetherall

First posted 1 January 2007
Last updated 1 July 2011

On Korean time Korea as protectorate | Korea as cession entity | Chosen as territory | Korea (Chosen) as lost entity | Three Koreas
Chosen laws | Family registers | Family law and names | Suffrage | Resident registration | Military conscription | Labor conscription
Nationality statuses 1897 Koreans | 1910 Japanese (Chosenese) | 1943 Koreans in America not "enemy aliens" | 1945 Alien Japanese (Chosenese) | 1948 ROK and DPRK Koreans (Chosenese) | 1952 Chosenese aliens | 1965 ROK aliens, Chosenese aliens | DPRK aliens
Nationality issues "Koreans" as "Japanese" in US | Alien nationals in Philippines and Occupied Japan | Austria and Germany
Syngman Rhee on legal status Natural enemies | Dual nationality | Famine relief | Military service | Kilsoo Haan
Chang and Hosokawa | On annexation and nationalization | On denationalization | On Peace Treaty, Constitution, and Nationality Law
Korea and Chosen publications RGK statistics | GGC statistics

See Korea becomes Chosen for treaty that ceded Korea to Japan.
See Racial reunification for Yamatoization as desinification of Chosen.
See Soshi kaimei myths for misunderstandings about name changes.
See Koreans in Japan for a look at Korea, Japan, and their affiliates as historical variables.

On Korean time



Korea as a protectorate of Japan

Numerous protocols and agreements were exchanged between Japan and Korea during the last three decades of the 19th century and the first decade of the 20th century, which preluded the 1910 annexation treaty in which Korea became a part of Japan called Chosen.

The most important of these agreements were those made in 1904 and 1905, which resulted in Korea becoming a protectorate of Japan, and a 1907 agreement which placed the Korean government under Japan's Resident-General for a number of purposes related to the improvement of internal administration.

The 1905 treaty allowed Japan to establish a governmental office in Korea called the Resident-General of Korea. After the annexation of Korea as Chosen in 1910, this office became the Government-General of Chosen.

One of the more important laws facilitated during the period between 1907 and 1910, when the Resident-General of Korea was empowered to be involved in Korea's domestic affairs, was the 1909 population registration law.

Japan continues to regard all early treaties with Korea, including the 1910 annexation agreement, as legal facts. The governments of the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, however, consider not only the 1910 treaty, but all treaties since and including the 1905 treaty, as illegal and hence never valid.

For an overview of the principal treaties and agreements between Japan and Korea leading up to and including the "annexation" or "union" of Korea to Japan as Chosen in 1910, see Korea becomes Chosen.


Korea as an entity ceded to Japan

Whether or not Japan's annexation of Korea in 1910 was "legal" in the sense of being legally correct, by contemporary or pressent-day standards, its consequences were "legal" as a matter of historical record. The annexation took place. Korea in effect ceded itself to Japan. The events which unfolded from this cession are now historical facts.

The unfolding events include individuals and organizations that did not recognize the annexation. They become the heroes of nationalist denials of the legality of the annexation. Denial of its legality does not, however, erase its legal effects.

The legal effects are most evident among aliens in Japan who qualify as Special Permanent Residents. The status is predicated on the legality of past territorial cessions and their legal effects, including the possession of Japanese nationality until 1952. Most SPR aliens are descendants of people who became Japanese in 1910 when Korea joined Japan as a cession entity.

Notwithstanding the view that the annexation treaty was illegal, it had legal effects until 1952. Hence the agreement between Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) in 1965 that agreements related to the annexation had by then already become ineffective. While annexation agreements are no longer effective, they remain legally effective under Japanese law for purposes of reckoning accounts between 1910 and 1945 when Korea was formally a part of Japan called Chōsen, and between 1945 and 1952 when Chōsen was still considered part of Japan for the purpose of regarding some Chosenese as nationals of Japan.


Chosen as a territory of Japan

Japan's annexation of the Empire of Korea in 1910 represented the most extreme form of territorial cession -- self-cession -- in which an entire nation cedes itself to another. As a territory of Japan, the former Empire of Korea was renamed Chōsen, as it had been called before becoming an empire in 1897. Koreans thus became Chosenese, and as subjects and nationals of Japan they were also Japanese.

Government-General of Chosen



Korea (Chosen) as a lost entity

"Korea" (Chōsen) was separated from Japan under the terms of surrender in 1945 and fully released from Japan's sovereignty under the terms of peace in 1952. During this period, Korea was what I am calling a "provisionally lost entity". By this I mean that while Korea had been separated from Japan in 1945, this separation would not be formally confirmed until 1952.

In 1945, Korea's sovereignty was divided between the United States in the south and the Soviet Union in the north. Then in 1948 it was claimed by two rival Korean states -- the Republic of Korea (ROK) in south and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in the north.

The 1952 peace treaty finalized Japan's loss of Korea (Chōsen) merely by confirming that Japan had abandoned all claims and rights over the territory. The treaty did not specify the successor state because which of the two Korean states -- ROK and DPRK, because under the terms of surrender Japan had lost had already abandoned its say over Korea's future. In other words, the 1945 terms of surrender had already provided that Korea would be an independent entity. That there were now two entities was of no concern to the 1952 peace treaty.

In any event, neither ROK nor DPRK were qualified to be parties to the 1952 treaty. The United Nations and a number of member states had recognized ROK as the sole legal government on the peninsula in 1948 and 1949, and the United Nations had sided with ROK in its defense against DPRK after the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950. The war ended in 1953 without any resolution to ROK's and DPRK's claims to sovereignty over the same territory and it inhabitants.

In 1951, a year into the Korean War, Japan and ROK began negotiating a normalization treaty and status agreement, hoping to come to be able to establish diplomatic relations when the terms of the peace treaty came into effect in 1952. But the talks stalled, and the two countries did not sign a normalization treaty and status agreement until 1965. In the treaty, Japan recognized ROK as the sole government on the peninsula. This was the first acknowledgement by Japan that ROK was the successor to Chosen.

The Korean, Japanese, and English versions of the 1965 treaty all differ in their reference to the entity. Japan's version is "Chosen" -- the name of the entity under Japanese rule from 1910-1945 and part of Japan's dominion from 1910-1952. The English version is "Korea" as "Chosen" had been called by the Allied Powers and in the 1952 San Francisco Peace Treaty. Some Allied documents had referred to Korea as "Korea (Chosen)". The Japanese versions of all postwar settlements, including the 1952 peace treaty, refer to the entity as "Chosen" -- as to present-day court judgments that argue points of law that concern civil status in the Empire of Japan up to 1945, in Occupied Japan from 1945-1952, and in post-Occupation Japan from 1952.


Three Koreas: Chosen, ROK, DPRK

The labels "Korea" and "Koreans" -- in reference to a sovereign and united country and its nationals -- lose their credibility after 1910. For the past century, there has been no "Korea" and no "Koreans" -- except as a vision of independence since loss of sovereignty and nationality in 1910, and as a vision of unification since territorial division in 1945 and the creation of two Korean states in 1948. Or rather of three Koreas -- for, for the Japanese territory of Chōsen continues to exist as a legal entity in considerations of legacy issues.

The countries which jointly declared war against the Tripartite Pact in 1942 had recognized that Taiwan and Chōsen were parts of Japan. Taiwan and Chōsen were not clearly earmarked for "liberation" until later.

Under the terms of surrender and occupation, "Formosa" (Taiwan) and "Korea" (Chōsen) ceased being under Japan's control and jurisdiction. However, they remained formally bound to Japan by treaties that would continue to have effect until Japan could conclude new treaties with the states that would govern them.

Between the fall of 1945 when Japan surrendered CChosen in parts to the United States and the Soviet Union, and 1948, when the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) were founded in the US and USSR zones of the penininsula, the Allied Powers intended, in principle at least, to help "Koreans" establish a sovereign "Korea". Such a "Korea" remains the dream of many, most, if not all people who consider themselves "Korean" by whatever definition. Still, as a matter of historical fact, "Korea" and "Koreans" have not existed, other than in racioethnic nationalist imagination, since 1910.

Since the establishment in 1948 of ROK and DPRK, there have been at least three "Koreas" and three kinds of "Koreans". The first and second "Koreas" are ROK and DPRK, and the first and second "Koreans" are their nationals.

The third "Korea" is Chōsen, which no longer exists except as a legacy in history and law. The term "Chōsen" is alive, well, and meaningful in Japanese treaty and court considerations of the matters related to Chōsen as part of Japan.

The third "Koreans" are Chosenese, referring to alien residents of Japan whose statuses are relics of the annexation period. This population has rapidly shrunk over the decades as Chosenese migrated to ROK nationality, or to Japanese or other nationalities. Japan has admitted a few DPRK nationals to the country, but these are not Chosenese.

Some Chosenese, and Japanese for that matter, appear to have obtained DPRK nationality through the agency of DPRK missions in third countries. However, Japan does not yet formally recognize DPRK, and hence such Chosenese and Japanese are not able to formally migrate to DPRK nationality under Japanese law.

38th parallel politics

While many people throughout the empire must have sensed that the war was coming to an end, the abruptness and manner of its ending must have caught most off guard. Long before the end of the war, governments throughout the empire had begun making plans for all manner of administrative and demobilization contingencies, but none was prepared for the problems they faced by Hirohito's announcement that Japan had unconditionally surrendered and agreed to abandon a number of its its territories, including Taiwan, Karafuto, and Chosen.

The Government-General of Chosen, like the Residency-General of Korea before it, had relied on the support and participation of local subjects who favored, or seemed to favor, Japanese intervention if not rule. Though its higher posts were dominated by Interior subjects, the closer its offices came into contact with the people, the more likely they were staffed if not also led by Chosenese.

Contingencies for an independent Korea

The Government-General of Chosen planned for a number of contingencies, including the orderly transfer of all its powers to a new Korean government. Naturally such plans had to involve the Chosenese who would step into the highest posts of the new government, effectively replacing the office of the Government-General of Chosen.

However, plans to transfer authority to a new government were disrupted by the sudden end of the war and the equally sudden division of Chosen into two military occupation zones under the control of two foreign states. For a while at least, there would be no new "Korea" to replace a defunct "Chosen".

The military line drawn at the 38th parallel by the United States and the Soviet Union was contrived as a way to divide the labor of accepting Japan's surrender, receiving control of the Government-General of Chosen and its properties, and carrying out demobilization and repatriation. The US and USSR had discussed the possiblity of a multilateral trusteeship over the entire peninsula, but this idea never materialized.

United States Army Military Government in Korea

Throughout the period of Japanese rule, there were many Korean independence movements, each with its own designs on the country's reigns. When the moment came to take them back, Koreans in both occupation zones found themselves faced with new occupiers who had their own agendas.

Koreans in the southern zone had to contend with the United States Army Military Government in Korea. USAMGIK was under SCAP in Japan, which in some sense meant that the southern zone of Korea was still being linked with Japan. Not until the summer of 1946 did USAMGIK became an independent command directly teathered to the US government in Washington, D.C.

USAMGIK preferred to work more closely with Japanese authorities -- namely, the Government-General of Chosen -- than with the provisional government of Syngman Rhee, which claimed the right to rule. Several Korean independence factions ended up fighting each other while the United States worked embraced Japanese and Koreans who had worked closely with Japanese to effect a smooth transition of authority and deal with the repatriation of over a million people both ways, from Korea to Japan and from Japan to Korea.

USAMGIK began to systematically replace Japanese with Koreans in Government-General of Chosen posts, beginning with the higher posts. Most, but not all Japanese, had been replaced in government posts by the spring of 1946.

ROK inherits Government-General of Chosen

The United States, failing attempts to negotiate with USSR a reunification of the peninsula, agreed to allow Syngman Rhee's provisional government to establish the Republic of Korea. The United Nations sanctioned the founding of ROK on 15 August 1948 and recognized it as a state on 12 December. The UN did not recognize the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, which the USSR had allowed to be founded on 9 September.

Shortly after ROK was founded, USAMGIK transferred to the new government all of the properties which USAMGIK had taken over from the Government-General of Chosen and other Japanese entities. When replacing USAMGIK, ROK also inherited all that was left of the Government-General of Chosen -- meaning most of its civil offices and legal system, and even a few Japanese who USAMGIK had left in old posts or installed in new ones.

Exorcising Japanese laws

Soon after the United States occupied the southern zone of Korea, USAMGIK abrogated Government-General of Chosen decrees and ordinances which had limited freedoms of speech and religion, or engendered discrimination because of "race, nationality, faith, or political thoughT" (but not gender). However, decrees and ordinances that facilitated essential administrative functions -- including the population registration system -- were allowed to remain in force. (Kim Yŏngdal 2002: 99, 141)

1946 order concerning restoration of Korean names

On 23 October 1946, USAMGIK issued a law, which was immediately effective, called "Chosen surname and personal name restoration ordinance" (朝鮮姓名復舊[旧]令 조선 성명 복구령 Chosŏn sŏngmyŏng pok'ku ryŏng, J Chōsen seimei fukkyū rei). Article 1 of the law, Order No. 122, stated that its purpose was to make it easy to restore Japanese-style names to Korean-style names. (Kim 2002: 142)

Article 2 nullified Japanese-style family names retroactive to their day of establishment. However, it gave those who wished to keep such names sixteen days within which to notify the registrar of their intent. Otherwise, the registrar would restore all surnames in the registers. (Kim 2002: 142-143)

Article 3 gave those who had changed their Korean-style personal names to Japanese-style personal names six months within which to notify the registrar of their wishes. After this period, they would have to submit a name-change petition to a court with jurisdiction -- the standard procedure for changing names. (Kim 2002: 143)

Article 4 nullified all laws inconsistent with the order, from their day of origin -- referring to all Government-General of Chosen decrees and ordinances concerning adoption of Japanese-style names. (Kim 2002: 143)

In other words, USAMGIK accepted the legal infrastructure built by the Government-General of Chosen, during its thirty-five years of rule, as something to be selectively reconstructed in a legal manner. On 1 November, USAMGIK issued detailed procedural provisions concerning name restoration, which Koreanized terminology in standing laws related to household registration. Hence 氏名 became 姓名, and 姓及本 or 姓及本貫 became simply 本 or 本貫 (Ibid. 144).

De-Japanization in the north

In the USSR-controlled north, Japanese institutions were shown no patience. The north more aggressively dismantled Japan's legal infrastructure. Ordinances nullified any articles of law which went against the grain of Korean sentiments. Corrective measures were taken to reverse all Japanizations of household registers. Adoptions of husbands, and adoptions of heirs with different surnames, were also nullified earlier than in the south. (Kim 2002: 99-100, 145-149).


Chosen laws


Chosen was placed under the direct administration of a Government-General by the following law.

Law No. 30 of 1911

Promulgated on 25 March 1911
Enforced from same day

Lost effectiveness on 28 April 1952 due to enforcement of [San Francisco] Peace Treaty with Japan (Treaty No. 5 of 1952)

朝鮮ニ施行スヘキ法令ニ関スル法律 (明治44年法律第30号)

第一条 朝鮮ニ於テハ法律ヲ要スル事項ハ朝鮮総督ノ命令ヲ以テ之ヲ規定スルコトヲ得

第二条 前条ノ命令ハ内閣総理大臣ヲ経テ勅裁ヲ請フヘシ

第三条 臨時緊急ヲ要スル場合ニ於テ朝鮮総督ハ直ニ第一条ノ命令ヲ発スルコトヲ得
2 前項ノ命令ハ発布後直ニ勅裁ヲ請フヘシ若勅裁ヲ得サルトキハ朝鮮総督ハ直ニ其ノ命令ノ将来ニ向テ効力ナキコトヲ公布スヘシ

第四条 法律ノ全部又ハ一部ヲ朝鮮ニ施行スルヲ要スルモノハ勅令ヲ以テ之ヲ定ム

第五条 第一条ノ命令ハ第四条ニ依リ朝鮮ニ施行シタル法律及特ニ朝鮮ニ施行スル目的ヲ以テ制定シタル法律及勅令ニ違背スルコトヲ得ス

第六条 第一条ノ命令ハ制令ト称ス




Family registers in Chosen


When Chosen was part of Japan

1911-6-20 (GGC Ordinance No. 75)
Regulation concering lodging and residence
宿泊及居住規則 (Shukuhaku oyobi kyoju kisoku)

This ordinance, dovetailing with the previously established Population Register Law (Minsekihō), introduced means of keeping track of who lived where.

1911 (GGC Decree No. 7)
Chosen civil matters decree
朝鮮民事令 (Chōsen minji rei)

Government-General of Chosen Director-General of Police Affairs division of duties regulations
朝鮮総督警務総監部事務分掌規定 (Chōsen Sōtoku Keimu Sōkanbu jimu bunshō kitei)
Included regulations concerning administration of population registers (minseki) and household surveys (koseki chosa) [censuses] by police.

1918-6 (GGC Decree No. 108)
Revision of 1911-6 lodging and residence regulations

1918-6-1 (Law No. 39)
Common Law establishing rules for applicable law within Empire of Japan.

Provisions of this law other than Article 3 were promulgated on 17 April 1918, and enforced from 1 June 1918 by Imperial Ordinance No 144 of 1918.

Article 3 was enforced from 1 July 1921 by Imperial Ordinance No. 283 of 1921.

March First Incident

1922-12-18 (GGC Decree No. 154)
大正11年12 月18日朝鮮総督府令第154号
Chosen family register ordinance
朝鮮戸籍令 (Chōsen koseki rei, Chosŏn hojŏngnyŏng)
Added Naichi register system to Korean family system.

1939-11-10 (GGC Decree No. 19, enforced from 11 February 1940)
Matters for revision in Chosen civil matters decree
朝鮮民事令中改正ノ件 (Chōsen Minji Rei chū kaisei no ken)
Introduced Interior-law provisions concerning adopted-son and adopted-son-in-law alliances.

1939-11-24 (GGC Decree No. 20)
Matters concerning family and personal names of Chosenese
朝鮮人ノ氏名ニ関スル件 (Chōsenjin no shimei ni kan suru ken)
Mandated adoption of one family name for each register, and stipulated rules and procedures for family name adoption and personal name change.

1939-12-26 (GGC Ordinance No. 221, enforced from 11 February 1940
Matters concerning procedures for submission of notices and records in household registers concomitant with the establishment of family names of Chosenese
朝鮮人ノ氏ノ設定ニ伴フ届出及戸籍ノ記載手続ニ関スル件 (Chōsenjin no shi no settei ni tomonau todokede oyobi koseki no kisai tetsuzuki ni kan suru ken)
Mandated adoption of one family name for each register, and stipulated rules and procedures for family name adoption and personal name change.

1939-11 (Imperial Ordinance No. 451)
National [labor] conscription ordinance
国民徴用令 (Kokumin chōyō rei)
Provided for labor conscription of imperial subjects

1939-12 (GGC Ordinance No. 220)
Revision of 1922-11 Chosen family register ordinance

1942-9-26 (Interor Government Order 32, enforced from 15 October 1942)
Chosen residence ordinance
朝鮮寄留令 (Chōsen kiryū rei)
Introduced Interior-style residence registration system in Chosen, to facilitate movement of people between the two entities, particularly from Chosen to the prefectures.

Family register laws and military conscription

An imperial subject man's eligibility for military service depended on family register laws applied to him. See Military conscription (above) for how family register law limitations in the 1927 law changed in 1943.


Family law and names in Chosen






Resident registration



Military conscription

There were numerous legal provisions concerning the eligibility of imperial subjects, including those affiliated with Taiwan and Chosen, for military service, both voluntary and compulsory. Here I am mainly interested in the ways conscription obligations were governed by legal status defined in terms of applicability of affiliation laws -- meaning, primarily, nationality (national affiliation) and subnationality (regional affiliation within the empire).

In principle, the 1927 Military Service Law made all imperial subject males eligible for military service, if they were of certain ages, and met other qualifications as provided in the law.

Not withstanding the principle of universal male eligibility, an article in the 1927 law restricted military service to persons subject to the Family Register Law, which applied only to the Interior -- hence only Interiorite males were eligible for military service as a matter of duty.

In 1943, however, military service law was twice revised to expand the scope of draftability -- first to persons subject to either the Family Register Law or the Chosen Civil Matters Ordinance, thus embracing Chosenese -- and then, by entirely dropping this territorial status qualification, imposing military obligations on all subjects in accordance with the principle of universal male eligibility stated in Article 1 of the law.

In 1938 Chosenese, and in 1942 Taiwanese, became eligible for special enlistment in the Army, meaning they could apply for admission to Army officer training schools and the like. In 1943, an imperial ordinance provided that imperial subjects not subject to the Family Register Law, meaning both Chosenese and Taiwanese, could be entered on rolls used to recruit special enlistees in the Navy.

Selected military service laws

1927 (Interior Law No. 47)
Military service law
兵役法 (Heiekihō)
Promulgated 1 April 1927
Enforced from 1 December 1927

Article 1 provided for universal military service for all imperial subject males. Several articles categorized different kinds of military service and covered disqualifications and exemptions.

Article 23, however, limited conscription to "those subject to application of the Family Register Law" (戸籍法ノ適用ヲ受クル者 Kosekihō no tekiyō o ukuru mono), and they were obliged to undergo a conscription examination at age 20. Though the law applied to all subjects, the conscription obligation applied only subjects affiliated with the Interior, hence Taiwanese, Chosenese, and Karafutoans were not, at this time, draftable.

Article 52 stated that anyone not subject to the Family Register Law who entered the family of someone subject to the law, after the period during which they would have been obliged to undergo an examination, would be exempted from conscription -- as would be those who had obtained, or been restored to, the nationality of the empire (帝国ノ国籍 teikoku no kokuseki) after the age of obligatory examination.

1938 (Imperial Ordinance No. 95)
Army special enlistee order
陸軍特別志願兵令 (Rikugun tokubetsu shiganhei rei)
Promulgated 22 February 1938

This order authorized the establishment of the Army special enlistee system in jurisdictions of the sovereign empire where the Family Register Law did not apply -- meaning Taiwan, Chosen, and Karafuto.

Article 1 allowed male imperial subjects for whom the Family Register Law did not apply to register as Army enlistees for what was termed "First auxiliary military service" (第一補充兵役). Implementation in Chosen, Taiwan, and Karafuto was effected by ordinances related to these territories.

1938-3-30 (Army Government Ordinance No. 11)
Army Special Enlistee Provisions Enforcement Rules
陸軍特別志願兵領施行細則 (Rikugun tokubetsu shiganhei ryō shikō saisoku)
Enforced Army Special Enlistee system in Chosen from 3 April 1939.

1942 (Forthcoming)
1938 Army Special Enlistee system extended to Taiwan from 1 April 1942.

1943 (Interior Law No. 4)
Revision of 1927 Military Service Law to apply to Chosen
Revised Article 23 to read "those subject to provisions concerning family registers in the Family Register Law or the Chosen Civil Matters Ordinance" (戸籍法又ハ朝鮮民事令中戸籍ニ関スル規定ヲ受クル者 Kosekihō mata wa Chōsen Minji Rei chū koseki ni kan suru kitei o ukeru mono).

1943 (Interior Law No. 110)
Revision of 1927 Military Service Law to apply to all subjects
Revised Article 23 again, dropped the stipulation limiting applicability to those subject to family register provisions in the Family Register Law or the Chosen Civil Matters Ordinance. This made all nationals of the sovereign empire subject to military draft.

1943-7-28 (Imperial Ordinance No. 608)
Navy special enlistee order
海軍特別志願兵令 (Kaigun tokubetsu shiganhei rei)
Imperial Ordinance No. 608 of 28 July 1943 authorized the enrollment of males who were imperial subjects to whom the Family Register Law [of the Interior] did not apply (戸籍法ノ適用ヲ受ケザル帝国臣民タル男子), in Navy military personnel registers, in order to be able to used them as special enlistees [volunteer soldiers] to perform military service in the navy, as determined by the Minister of the Navy.

In 1944, the draft age was dropped to 19. It was then dropped to 17, which had been the minimum age for enlistment. It then became possible for boys younger than 17 to enlist.


Labor conscription

Japan's military operations in China in 1937 required the mobilization of labor and military resources on a scale never before attempted in the Empire of Japan. Here I am mainly interested in the most general laws and how they were applied within Japan's various territories.

Considerable confusion is found in popular writing, but also in some academic reports, about labor mobilization in Chosen. Not a few accounts claim that Chosenese were forcibly brought to the Interior to make up for labor shortages after the outbreak of the Pacific War in 1941. In fact, the mobilization of laborers from Chosen to the Interior -- sometimes voluntary, sometimes compelled (at times by abduction) -- had began over three years before the beginning of the Pacific War and peaked before the attack on Pearl Harbor.

1938 (Law No. 55)
State general mobilization act
国家総動員法 (Kokka sō dōin hō)
Enacted by the Diet on 24 March, promulgated on 1 April, and enforced from 5 May 1938, this law facilitated migration for labor and other reasons within the entire empire. Revised by Law No. 68 of 1939, Law no. 19 of 1941, and Law No. 4 of 1944, it was the foundation for numerous related measures down to the final days of the empire in 1945.

The following ordinance was especially instrumental in facilitating the general mobilization in terms of labor conscription.

1939 (Imperial Ordinance No. 451)
National [labor] conscription ordinance
国民徴用令 (Kokumin chōyō rei)
Provided for labor conscription of imperial subjects

The National [Labor] Conscription Ordinance (国民徴用令 Kokumin chōyō rei), which authorized compulsory recruiting, was promulgated on 8 July 1939, enforced in the Interior from 15 July, and in Chosen, Taiwan, Karafuto, and the South Sea Islands from 1 October (Imperial Ordinance No. 451). Military personnel, military academy students, some civilian employees of the military, medical care personnel, veterinarians, seamen, and incarcerated persons.

By the time Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, over fifty (50) percent of the roughly 1.3 million Chosenese who migrated (or, in some case, been brought) to the interior after mobilization began in 1939 -- when corporations were permitted to freely recruit Chosen subjects -- had already migrated.

Not only was the mobilization inspired mainly by the war in China that had started in 1937 and rapidly spread from 1938 -- but, after Pearl Harbor, there was a marked decrease in the rate of labor migration and conscription from Chosen to the interior.


Nationality statuses


Nationality following self-cession

When Japan annexed territories ceded by treaties concluded with states that continued to exist -- Chishima (1875) and Karafuto (1905) from Russia, and Taiwan and the Pescadores from China (1895) -- the treaties had provisions for dealing with the status of persons who remained domiciled in the ceded territory. Such provisions were put into treaties that involved territorial transfers because it was recognized that the contracting states had obligations to safeguard the status of each other's nationals, and that affected persons should be given some choices.

However, in 1910, Korea did not cede part of its territory to Japan and remain a state with sovereign rights over the remainder of its territory. Korea ceded itself, in its entirety, to Japan.

In other words, Korea -- as a state with a nationality -- ceased to exist. Hence all persons who had been nationals of the Empire of Korea in effect lost their imperial Korean subjection and became subjects of the Empire of Japan. Which meant that they became Japanese nationals.

This change in nationality did not require stipulation in the annexation treaty because it was understood that the Empire of Korea would no longer exist. Stipulation would have been required only if there had been some need to exceptionalize specific groups of people from the change of nationality that such annexation would customary cause.

All states at the time recognized Japan's right to assume that everyone in Korean registers would be Japanese -- and that aliens in the country would continue to be aliens. Japanese, of course, were no longer aliens in a territory that was now part of Japan.

For an article on the changing meanings of "Korea" and "Koreans" and "Japan" and "Japanese" over the century spanning the late 1890s to the late 1990s -- and a chronological table showing these changes -- see "Koreans in Japan" and "Zainichi": Korea, Japan, and their affiliates as historical variables.


Koreans as nationals of Empire of Korea (1897-1910)

From the point of view of "nationality" as a legal affiliation with a sovereign entity, most inhabitants of the Korean peninsula were "Koreans" because they possessed the nationality of a state called Korea. Korea underwent some name changes during the last half of the 19th century, but to the extent that it was a sovereign entity, it had its own nationality, and those it recognized as its nationals were Koreans.

Koreans as such ceased to exist in 1910, the moment "Korea" became "Chosen" and subjects of the Empire of Korea became subjects of the Empire of Japan.


Koreans become Chosenese and Japanese (1910-1945)

Japan did not formally extend its nationality law to Chosen. It assumed, correctly from a legal viewpoint, that when the Emperor of Korea ceded his imperial sovereighty to the Emperor of Japan, he ceded both the territory and the people he presumed to rule. The territory joined the Empire of Japan as part of its sovereign dominion, and the people joined the population of its imperial subjects

Japan immediately changed the name of its new entity from Korea to Chosen. Koreans therefore became Chosenese subjects of Japan, hence both Chosenese and Japanese. They were Japanese by "kokuseki" (national registration [affiliation], i.e., nationality) and Chosenese by "minseki" (population registration [affiliation]).

Minseki status was a subnational territorial status (affiliate of Chosen) within the larger national territorial status (affiliate of Japan). Neither status was racial or ethnic.


Koreans in United States no longer "enemy aliens" (1943)

In 1943, shortly after the Allied Powers agreed in the Cairo Declaration to liberate Korea from Japan, the United States stopped classifying Koreans residing in America as enemy aliens.

Until this change in status, Koreans in America were expected to register as aliens of Japanese nationality, since the Untied States had recognized Japan's annexation of Korea as Chosen, and had generally been treating Koreans in the United States as Japanese subjects and nationals. The United States had also been issuing some non-quota immigrant visas to Japanese of Chosen affiliation directly from its consulate in Chosen

For further details regarding enemy alien status, see following links to other sections on this page.

"Koreans" as "Japanese" in the United States

Syngman Rhee on legal status

For further details on America's issuing of immigrant visas to Chosen affiliates as Japanese nationals, see the following link to an article in "The Detritus of Empire" feature of this website.

The empire of passports and IDs


"Koreans" as "liberated nationals" (1945)
(1) remain Japanese of Chosen registration (1945-1952)
(2) become aliens under some laws (1945-1952)

Chosen subjects who adopted Interior-style family and personal names under the 1940 ordinances had only five years to get used to their new monikers. On 15 August 1945, they were suddenly "liberated" of Japanese rule by the broadcast of the war-ending rescript Hirohito had issued the previous day.

However, Japan's sovereignty over "Korea" (as the Allied Powers called the entity) was not formally suspended by the Potsdam Declaration until Japan signed the Instrument of Surrender on 2 September 1945. And Japan did not formally recognize "the independence of Korea" and renounce "all right, title, and claim to Korea, including the islands of Quelpart, Port Hamilton and Dagelet" until the San Francisco Peace Treaty came into effect on 28 April 1952.

What, then, was the status of "Chosenese" on the peninsula, in the prefectures, and in other parts of the far-flung Empire of Japan, between 14 August 1945 and 28 April 1952?

By the end of 1945, "Koreans" had ceased being "Japanese" -- at least in the eyes of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP). Pursuant to a directive from the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), which was acting on the authority of the Potsdam Declaration, SCAP informed Japan that Koreans, Taiwanese, and Nansei islanders were excluded from its definition of "Japanese" for the purpose of carrying out the terms of the Potsdam Declaration, which limited Japan's sovereignty to its main four islands and associated islands as designated by the Allied Powers.

Chosenese in "Korea"

"Chosen" never reverted to being a singular "Korea". The Instrument of Surrender signed on 2 September 1945 provided that, for surrender and occupation purposes, the peninsula would be divided at the 38th parallel between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Chosenese on the peninsula either side of the 38th parallel, in the prefectures, and elsewhere in the world had to wait until the emergence of a Korean state before they could have a nationality of their own. Three years later, not one but two states were formed in the two sectors -- the Republic of Korea (ROK) in the southern US sector, and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in the northern USSR sector>

Chosenese in "Japan"

Though SCAP's position on the status of Koreans gave the Japanese government the green light to treat Koreans as aliens, under Japanese law they were Chosenese (Chosenjin), and as Chosenese they were Japanese nationals. So while Japan began provisionally treating Chosenese as aliens, it also continued to treat them as Japanese for the purposes of administerting a number of laws that applied to all nationals.

Moreover, all "Koreans" in Japan would remain Chosenese until which time there was a Korean state with which they could affiliate as nationals and they acquired the nationality of this state. The creation of two states, which claimed the same territory and inhabitants, destroyed all hope for a simple and a fair solution to the problem of Chosenese status in Japan.

Chosenese in Japan would now have to wait until Japan signed treaties with one or both of the new states before they would be able to to choose which, if either, of the states they wished to be affiliated with as nationals. Prospects of a timely solution were dashed when DPRK invaded ROK, and a full-scale civil war broke out, each side backed by several states.

In the meantime, the legal status of Chosenese in Japan remained in limbo. Not until 1965 did Japan reach an agreement with ROK. It has yet to reach an agreement with DPRK.

Even today, there are aliens in Japan whose legal status is Chosenese, denoting their residual affiliation with the defunct Japanese territory of Chosen.

See "Japan" and "Japanese": How JCS and SCAP redefined the Empire of Japan for transcriptions of documents related to SCAP's exclusion of "Koreans" from the definition of "Japanese".


Chosenese in "South Korea" become ROK nationals (1948)
Chosenese in "North Korea" become DPRK nationals (1948)

By 1948, two Korean states had emerged, the first the Republic of Korea (ROK) south of the 38th parallel, the second the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) north of the parallel.

Both ROK and DPRK claimed to be the sole successor of the former Japanese territory of Chosen. Neither recognized that "Chosen" had legally been part of Japan but that is another story. All that matters at this point in time is that, three years after Japan had agreed that it would lose its sovereignty over Korea (Chosen), there were suddenly two new states contending for control of and jurisdiction over the peninsula.

In the view of Japan, the effects of the San Francisco Peace Treaty, enforced from 28 April 1952, caused all Chosenese, including those in Japan, to lose their Japanese nationality. Most Chosenese who remained in Japan, and their descendants in Japan, have migrated to ROK nationality, which Japan has recognized since 1965. Some have claimed to be DPRK nationals, but Japan does not yet recognize DPRK, and hence does not acknowledge its nationality. And a few have become nationals of other Japan or other countries.

As of this writing, over six decades after their founding, ROK and DPRK remain divided rivals that sometimes speak of unification but essentially cling to their separate statehoods while staring at each other's arsenals on either side of the demilitarized zone along the 38th parallel. Both were simultaneously admitted as member states of the United Nations in 1991, which technically means that they are not supposed to covet each other's territory and people, as they did at the time they were founded, and during the civil war of 1950-1953.


Chosenese lose Japanese nationality (1952)
Chosenese in Japan become only aliens (1952-1965)

Japan's understanding of the effects of the enforcement of the San Francisco Peace Treaty from 28 April 1952 result in the separation of Taiwanese (Formosans) and Chosenese (Koreans) from Japanese nationality. Consequently, all Taiwanese and Chosenese in Japan become aliens.

Japan had confirmed its understanding of the effects of the treaty with the Republic of China, prior to signing a separate peace treaty with ROC on 28 April 1952, from which date Japan regained its sovereignty and the right to conduct its own foreign affairs. Essentially Japan agreed that the status of Taiwanese in Japan was the prerogative of ROC laws -- i.e., Japan, having formally abandoned Taiwan to the control and jurisdiction of ROC, no longer had a right to affiliate Taiwanese with its own nationality.

Talks between Japan and ROK, beginning shortly after Japan signed the San Francisco Treaty in September 1951, were sufficient grounds for Japan to assume that ROK held essentially the same view as ROC with respect to Japan no longer having a say in Chosenese nationality after the finalization of Japan's abandonment of Chosen (Korea) in the treaty. Note that Japan provisionally abandoned both Taiwan and Chosen when it signed the general instrument of surrender on 2 September 1945.


Some Chosenese in Japan become ROK nationals (1965)
Others remain aliens of legacy Chosenese status

For nationality purposes, Japan recognized ROK in 1965. Prior to this, ROK had begun to enroll Chosenese in Japan as its nationals, and Japan had permitted Chosenese who considered themselves ROK nationals to write "Kankoku" as their nationality or honseki on alien registration and other documents. But Japan was unable to formally acknowledge their ROK status until 1965.

Japan and ROK did not entirely normalize their relationship until 1965. Among many agreements concluded at the same time was an agreement about the legal status of ROK nationals in Japan -- meaning Chosenese who had been in the prefectures when the war ended, and their Japan-born offspring, and who ROK had enrolled as its nationals. The agreement did not cover those who remained Chosenese.

In the 1965 normalization treaty, Japan recognized ROK as having become the sole government of Chosen. In fact, the Japanese version of the treaty specifically calls the entity 朝鮮 (Chōsen) -- not 韓国 (Kankoku) -- because it is referring to the entity by its name before the Republic of Korea declares itself the successor state.

Because recognizes ROK claim to the entire peninsula, Japan has never recognized the authority of DRPK to enroll as its nationals residents of Japan who continue to be classified as "Chosenjin" -- that is, Chosenese in Japan who have not chosen to become ROK nationals.

Republic of Korea (ROK)

The Republic of Korea (ROK) was formally established from 15 August 1948.

1948 provisional ordinance on nationality of Korea

On 11 May 1948, before the establishment of ROK, the transitional court of the South Korea (南朝鮮 Nam Chosŏn, J Minami Chōsen) Transitional Government, under USAMGIK, issued a "Provisional ordinance concerning nationality" (Law No. 11). The ordinance stipulated that anyone with a Korean (朝鮮人 Chosŏn'in, J Chōsenjin) father, or with a Korean mother if the father was unknown or stateless, or born in Korea of unknown or stateless parents, would be recognized as Korean. (See Chang 1990, pages 260-261, in Ko 1990, both in Bibliography. See Koshikawa 1949, pages 433-434, for Japanese translation.)

Article 5 of the ordinance stipulated that "Persons who have acquired the nationality of a foreign country or a family register of Japan, who abandon (抛棄 hōki) that nationality or who renounce (離脱 ridatsu) the nationality of Japan, shall be viewed as having recovered the nationality of Korea (朝鮮 Chōsen) from 9 August in who are Korean (朝鮮人Chōsenjin ) and are in a family register of Japan shall not recover the nationality of Korea (朝鮮) as long as they do not [= unless they] separate from that [register]." (Japanese source)

1948 ROK Nationality Law

On 12 July 1948, the provisional government adopted its constitution. Promulgated on 17 July, it provided, as did the postwar constitutions of Japan and the Republic of China (both enforced during 1947), that conditions for being a national would be determined by law. Such a law was promulgated on 20 December 1948, four months after the founding of ROK on 15 August -- the third anniversary of Korea's "independence" from Japan. (Chang 1990: 261)

Neither the provisional ordinance, nor the later nationality law, defined an "initial determination" of Korean nationals, according to Chang Hyo Sang, writing in "Nationality in Divided Countries: A Korean Perspective" (Chapter 6) in Nationality and Internaltional Law in Asian Perspective (Chang 1990: 260-264).

Chang, who calls this "remarkable" (whether in the sense of "worth noting" or "surprising" is not clear), goes on to say this (Chang 1990: 263).

This lack [of "a definition of Korean nationals by way of initial determination"] may to a large extent be explained by the fact that it was considered a self-evident and obvious fact. Yet such an initial determination of Korean nationals in view of the preceding alien occupation and the division of the country would have been most useful to avoid various legal complications.

To be continued.

1949 nullification of husband adoption in ROK

In 1949, a year after ROK declared itself a state, its Supreme Court (大法院 대법원 Taebŏbwon) retroactively nullified an instance of husband adoption (婿養子 J muko yōshi) for the reason that such a practice "is contrary to public order and good morals" (Kojima Takeshi, Han Sangbŏm, and Yun Ryongt'aek, 1993).

1999 abrogation of of same-clan marriage restriction

Fifty years later, In 1999, a year after it degenderized its nationality, ROK finally liberalized its marriage law to permit unions between people who had same-clan surnames.

To be continued.


DPRK nationals in Japan

Japan does not, as of this writing, recognize the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, hence does not acknowledge its nationality. Some legacy Chosenese in Japan, and some Japanese, have obtained documents which support their claims that they are DPRK nationals, but Japan does not recognize their claims. ROK, for that matter, does not recognize claims by its nationals, including those in Japan, who claim to have obtained DPRK nationality.

Both Japan and ROK do, however, admit a few DPRK nationals to cross their borders, with ordinary visas, or for humanitarian reasons.

Democratic People's Republic of Korea

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) was formally established from 9 September 1948.

To be continued.


Nationality issues



"Koreans" as "Japanese" in the United States

As a legal attribute, "nationality" requires "recognition". A person can claim to be the national of a given state, but the claim will have no meaning in countries that do not recognize the state. This was the case when the Empire of Korea, which was recognized as a state, was annexed to Japan as Chosen in 1910, at which point most other states recognized the annexation, hence no longer recognize the existence of a Korean state. Since Koreans had become Japanese subjects, when residing in foreign states that recognized Japanese nationality as a status of affiliation with the Empire of Japan, they would be classified as Japanese nationals.

This of course was an extreme irritation to Korean nationalists, both thoses who had taken up residence outside the Empire of Korea before the annexation, and those who had left Chosen after the annexation. Some American scholars of Korean ancestry have even suggested that America's classification of "Koreans" as "Japanese" was partly due to tendencies to think that "all Orientals look alike".

Dateline of status of "Koreans" in the United States

1943-11-27 Cairo Declaration

On 27 November 1943, following the Cairo Conference of 22-26 November 1943 in Egypt, the "Three Great Allies" who were fighting "to restrain and punish the aggression of Japan" issued the Cairo Declaration. This declaration stated that the purpose of these states was that:

. . . Japan shall be stripped of all the islands in the Pacific which she has seized or occupied since the beginning of the first World War in 1914, and that all the territories Japan has stolen from the Chinese, such as Manchuria, Formosa, and the Pescadores, shall be restored to the Republic of China. Japan will also be expelled from all other territories which she has taken by violence and greed. The aforesaid three great powers, mindful of the enslavement of the people of Korea, are determined that in due course Korea shall become free and independent.

Issued over the signatures of US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, ROC President Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, and British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill, the Cairo Declaration became the foundation for the terms of unconditional surrender stipulated in the Potsdam Declaration issued on 26 July 1945.

1943-12-4 Military Order No. 45

Kim Young-Sik on US treatment of "Koreans" as "Japanese

The following paragraph appares in "A Brief History of the US-Korea Relations Prior to 1945", a paper presented by Kim Young-Sik on 15 May 2003 at the University of Oregon at an event sponsored by "Meet Korea in Eugene" (retrieved in 2010 from Free Republic.

It should be noted that from 1910 to 1943, by and large, the US government treated Koreans as citizens of Japan. However, this changed on December 4, 1943, when US Military Order No. 45 granted Koreans in the United States non-enemy alien status. Thanks to this change, Korean-Americans were spared of life in concentration camps -- unlike many of the Japanese-Americans.

Kim's statement is fairly typical in its use of terms I have underlined. They do not, however, serve the interest of historical accuracy.

Koreans became "subjects" and "nationals" -- not "citizens" -- in 1910. They remained subjects until Japan's formal surrender on 2 September 1945, and they did not formally lose their Japanese nationality until the Occupation of Japan ended on 28 April 1952. There were not then, and there are not today, "citizens" of Japan -- only "nationals".

Kim speaks of "Koreans in the United States" and "Korean-Americans" -- but it is not clear that he is differentiating aliens and Americans. Note that he mentions "Japanese-Americans" but not "Japanese in the United States".

Of the roughly 112,000 people of putative "Japanese ancestry" who were evacuated from the West Coast Military Zone in the spring of 1942, about 70,000 were Americans and the rest were Japanese. In any event, "most" such people were residing on the West Coast and thus ended up living in reclocation centers.

In point of fact, Japanese Americans were treated, but not classified, as enemy aliens -- as they were not aliens.

Kim does not tell us how Koreans were treated before the late 1943 military order. By 1943, some interned Japanese Americans were being released to work, study, and live outside the relocation centers. Not to mention the Japanese American soldiers who, by the fall of 1943, were fighting in Italy.

Hyung-chan Kim and Wayne Patterson (compiler, editors) The Koreans in America, 1882-1974 (A Chronology & Fact Book) [Ethnic Chronology Series Number 16] Dobbs Feery (NY); Oceana Publications, 1974 vii, 147 pages, hardcover

This book, like others of its kinds, is packed with "facts" and therefore a good place to begin to get a grip on the extent of Korean migration to the United States and the nature and scope of their activities. There is, of course, a focus on Koreans who were in some manner conspicuous, and this means mostly the "patriotic" Koreans who involved themselves in movements directed against Japan's activities in the Korea before and after the joining (annexation) of Korea to Japan in 1910.

Some "facts" in the book are not quite right, and others are presented without sufficient background information to understand their political, legal, and social significance. While the tone of the book is even, what it fortunately lacks in the ideological zeal and patriotic bravado that mars too many other books about Koreans in America, it unfortunately lacks in a clear and objective chronology of events and facts related to Korea before, during, and after Japan's control of the peninsula.

I have selected the following items for their interest to the theme of this page. The page numbers in the source are shown in [brackets]. Comments in white boxes following the items, and bold highlighting of dates of items, are mine.

1906 February 6. As a result of the Russo-Japanese Treaty, the Korean legation in Washington was withdrawn and Acting Minister Kim Yun-jong left San Francisco aboard the Mongolia. [Page 9]

However, this was the result of an agreement between the Empire of Japan and the Empire of Korea, called the Ulsa (Eulsa) treaty, signed on 17 November 1905, in which Japan agreed to represent Korea in its relations with other countries and to protect "the subjects and interests of Korea" (韓国の臣民及利益) in other countries. As Korea's proxy in foreign affairs, Japan would mediate all existing and future treaties between Korea and other countries.

1908 March 23. Chang In-whan shot [Durham W.] Stevens [an American employed by the Japanese foreign office] as he was getting ready to leave San Francisco [for Washington, D.C.]. Stevens was taken to a nearby hospital for emergency treatment, but he died on March 25 from the wounds he had received. Chang received a sentence of Twenty-five years of imprisonment. Chang received a sentence of twenty-five years of improsonment, but later was released on bail on January 14, 1919 and finally released April 11, 1924. [In an interview with a San Francisco Chronicle reporter, Stevens had said that "the Japanese control of Korea was working for the good of Koreans" (paraphrase?) -- which upset some Koreans, who demanded an apology. A Korean apparently "threw blows against Stevens" when he refused to withdraw his remark.] [Page 14]

Stevens was appointed "Diplomatic Adviser to the Department of Foreign Affairs" following the signing by the Empire of Korea and the Empire of Japan on 22 August 1904 of a defense protocol in which Korea agreed to "improvements in administration" while Japan agreed to ensure "the safety and repose of the Imperial House of Korea" and guarantee "the independence and territorial integrity". This protocol made Korea only a quasi-protectorate of Japan. Korea did not delegate its diplomatic affairs to Japan, and become a full protectorate, until an agreement it signed with Korea on 17 November 1905, which agreement established the Residency-General of Korea, and transferred the functions of Korea's foreign missions to Japanese legations. An agreement signed by the two countries on 24 July 1907 gave Japan rights of approval and direction in many of Korea's domestic affairs. See Korea becomes Chosen for further details on these and other agreements related to the 1904 defense agreement for details)

Stevens was shot on my birthday and died on my father's birthday. My father would not be born for three more years, and I came into the world three decades later.

1910 July. Korea was annexed by the Japanese Empire. The Mutual Unity Association was convened in Honolulu and later sent letters of protest to the king of Korea, the emperor of Japan, and heads of many governments in Europe and America. [Page 17]

However, the annexation took place in late August.

1924 May 15. The Oriental Exclusion Law was passed and immigration of Koreans and of picture brides came to an end. [Page 36]

There was no such law. National origin quotas for Japan, China, and other some countries were exactly zero -- but other provisions permitted some individuals to enter as immigrants.

1934 August 7. Agnes Davies [sic = Davis], a young American woman determined to marry a Korean whom she had met at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey, where both were students, arrived in Korea in order to fulfill her marriage vow. Later, she wrote a book, I Married a Korean, which was published in 1953 by the John Day Company. [Pages 41-42]

1934 October 8. Syngman Rhee married an Austrian woman by the name of Francesca Donner. This marriage drew a great deal of criticism from Korean residents in Hawaii and the continental U.S.A. Previously, Rhee had denounced intermarriage and encouraged young Koreans to maintain their racial purity. [Page 42]

1937 October 21. Haan Kil-soo, a Korean resident in Hawaii, made a charge during his testimony beofre the Congressional Statehood Committee that the Japanese government, through its Honolulu consulate, attempted to unite Orientals in Hawaii against the whites. The charge was immediately denied by Tsueneshiro [sic? = Tsuneshiro? ] Yamazaki, vice-counsul of the Japanese Consulate in Honolulu, who termed it reidiculous.

1940 September 7. Haan Kil-soo urged Koreans in Hawaii registering as aliens under the Alien Registration Act of 1940 to register as Koreans and not as Japanese subjects. Subsequently, Earl G. Harrison, director of Alien Registration in Washington, D.C., ruled that Koreans have the right to register as Koreans and not as Japanese subjects. [Page 44]

1941 Haan Kil-soo charged that Japan had been making preparations to attack the United States and that between 35,000 and 50,000 Japanese in the Hawaiian Islands who either were citizens of Japan or held dual citizenship were prepared to assist Japan in case of war with the United States. [Page 44]

1941 December 7. Japan made a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. During the attack, a Korean was killed. [Page 45]

1942 May 4. Yi Jong-gun and Pak Yong-hak were commissioned as Navy interpreters. They were sent to the Solomon Islands and later participated in the Guadalcanal campaign. They returned to the U.S.A. on April 11 of the following year. [Page 46]

1943 December 4. Military Order No. 45 was issued which exempted Koreans from enemy alien status. [Page 46]

1945 October 16. Syngman Rhee arrived in Seoul, Korea. [Page 47]

1947 Philip Jaisohn, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Korea, returned to Korea on an invitation from the American military goverenment in Korea, arrived in Seattle. During his visit, he negotiated with a number of institutions of specialized and higher education to accept Korean students on scholarship. [Page 48]

Philip Jaisohn (1864-1951) had lived a full life by the time he made this trip. Born Seo Jae Pil (徐載弼 서재필 Sŏ Chae P'il), he studied in Japan in 1883-1884, where he was strongly influenced by the way Japan had developed. In December 1884, back on the peninsula, he joined an attempt to overthrow the Yi dynasty and establish a government that would "open and develop" (開化) Chosŏ in the manner that the Meiji government had been carrying out reforms in Japan since 1868. The coup failed, Sŏ fled to Japan, and in 1885 he arrived with a couple of the other leaders of the coup in San Francisco. The following year, his name anglicized as Philip Jaisohn, and supported by an American sponsor, he began attending a school in Pensylvannia. By 1889 he was translating Chinese and Japanese medical texts into English at the Army Surgeon General's Library in Washington, DC, and studying medicine. On or about 19 January 1890 he became an American citizen. He received a degree in medicine in 1892, opened a private practice in 1894, and on or about 20 June 1894 he married Muriel Armstrong, a niece of former US president James Buchanan. In 1895 he returned to Korea to participate in movements to make the country independent of Russia and Japan, but in 1898, the year after the founding of the Empire of Korea, he was forced again to leave, and returned America. His activities over the next half century suggest deep involvement in movements related to freeing Korea from Japanese rule. Circa 1942-1945, he served as a physical examination officer for the US Army, and on 18 August 1945 he is supposed to have returned to Korea (other reports say he returned on or about 1 July 1947 as the Chief Advisor to the US Military Government in the southern occupation zone). He became a member of the Korean Interim Legislative Assembly and in 1948 he even petitioned to run for the presidency of the newly established Republic of Korea. By 11 September 1948, however, he was back in the United States, where he died in 1951. In 1994 his remains were exhumed from their resting place in Philadelphia and reburied at the National Cemetery in Seoul. [Collated from various unconfirmed English and Japanese web sources.]

1947 August 24. A group of thirty-three Korean students, both male and female, arrived in San Francisco. They came to America to study at various institutions of higher eduction. [Page 48]

1948 August 15. The founding of the Republic of Korea with Syngman Rhee as its president was declared.

1948 September 9. It was reported that there were 514,050 people in the Hawaiian Islands. Of these people, 5,570 were U.S. citizens of Korean ancestry, while 1,750 were aliens of Korean ancestry. Therefore, a total of 7,320 persons were of Korean ancestry. [Page 49]

No mention is made of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. This is typical of much that has been written in English about "Korea" by scholars and others who believe that an "indepenent Korea" existed during the period of annexation, and that the Republic of Korea is the legitimate successor of this Korea.

1948 The Republic of Korea established a consulate in Los Angeles and appointed Min Whui-sik as consul general. [page 49]

1948 October 19. The Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization, Department of Justice, was requested by President Truman to delete a part of an order issued by the State Department in 1907 that prevented Korean and Japanese residents in Hawaii from coming to the Mainland. [page 49]

Charles K. Armstrong on US treatment of "Koreans" as "Japanese

Charles K. Armstrong has the best summary I have seen in English on the status of Koreans in the United States before and during the Pacific War (The Koreas (Globalizing Regions), Cambridge: Routledge, 2006, The Korean Diaspora, pages 103-104).

After 1910, Koreans were officially treated as Japanese subjects by the US government, and even as early as the Japanese Protectorate period (1905-1910) the United States only recognized Koreans with passports issued by Japan. This created a paradox after Pearl Harbor -- whereas the Korean community in the United States was largely pro-independence, Koreans as Japanese subjects should have been considered enemy aliens. Nevertheless, unlike Japanese-Americans, Koreans in the United States were not sent to internment camps. US Military Order No. 45, promulgated in December 1943, exempted Koreans from enemy alien status.

Elaine Kim on US classification of "Koreans" as "Japanese

Elaine Kim wrote this in the preface to Asian American Literature (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1982, page xiii).

To Asians all Orientals do not "look alike." For instance, during the decades when Korea was colonized by Japan, enormous efforts were made by Korean Americans to clarify the distinctions between Koreans and Japanese, especially because the United States responded to that annexation by classifying Koreans in the United States with Japanese.

Kim appears to be saying that Americans of Korean ancestry wanted to be seen as "Koreans" rather than "Japanese" but found themselves seen as "Japanese" because "Koreans in the United States" were being classified as "Japanese". She is, of course, mixing nationality as a legal status and race as a status which could have legal consequences.

However, before reading too much into Kim's remark, keep in mind that she is fully aware that "Koreans" as aliens and "Korean Americans" as US citizens would be clearly differentiated in census data in so far as nationality status was concerned. The question would be what might be entered a "race box" or "national origin" box.

Kim, in her book, goes on to define "Asians" in terms of what she calls "national groups" -- and admits that she is racializing authors this way because she has "accepted the externally imposed racial categorization of Asians in American society" (Kim 1982: xii).

Kim has published her own biography in collection of "Korean American Life Stories" she edited with Eui-Young Yu called East to America (New York: The New Press, 1996, Appendix A: Elaine H. Kim, pages 353-358). Born herself in New York in XXXX, Kim believes her mother was born in Hawaii to a woman who had "fled Korea to Hawaii, pregnant and alone around 1903" (Kim and Yu 1996: 355).

Kim remarked at the beginning of her story that "Koreans often tell me that I don't 'look' Korean" (Kim and Yu 1996: 353). Her mother, she wrote, "looked like a person of mixed-racial heritage" and speculated whether the father her mother never knew could have been "one of the Russian soldiers who was went to the Korean peninsula around the time of the Russo-Japanese War" (Kim and Yu 1996: 353). "Was my grandmother seduced? Was she raped?"

Kim describes her father's family as including an uncle who "fled to China, where he fought in the resistance movement against Japan until his death" and an aunt who "became a communist and, after the Allied defeat of Japan, moved to P'yŏ:ngyang" where reportedly she was "killed whn the U.S. used bacteriological warfare on North Korea during the Korean conflit" (Kim and Yu 1996: 355).

Kim's father, she said, "came . . . first to Japan around 1917, and then to the U.S. as a foreign student in 1926" -- and continues with this remark (Kim and Yu 1996: 355).

Since persons born in Asia were prevented by law from immigration and naturalization, he remained in this country throughout the Japanese colonial period in Korea by staying enrolled at Columbia University until he was almost forty years old. Finally, he and other Koreans literate in Japanese were granted permanent resident status by special congressional bill when they were hired as translators during World War II. Like so many other Korean sojourners of his time, my father struggled all his life with underemployment, waiting on table in Chinese restaurants, peddling Japanese novelities, working for the South Korean embassy, and finally starting his own small business.

Kim is correct about immigrants from Asia being unable to naturalize. But it is not true that Asians were prevented from immigration. The racialist "national origin" quota system established in 1924 prevented immigration as quota immigrants. Other laws, however, allowed the issuance of non-quota immigration visas for certain categories of activity in the United States. Students, of course, were admitted on non-immigration visas, and there were not a few who, like Kim's father, managed to stay in the United States by staying in school.

More important about the example of Kim's father is the fact that he had (1) learned Japanese, (2) gone to "Japan" (Kim, like most writers, calls the Interior "Japan" by way of sidestepping the fact that Korea had a part of Japan called Chosen), and (3) had obtained a visa to study in the United States as (presumably) a Japanese subject, and (4) was employed as a translator of Japanese during the Pacific War.

Though critical of some of Elaine Kim's views, I am actually one of her fans. I was very aware of her activities at Berkeley in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and in 1978 I interviewed her for a magazine article.

See my reviews of some of Kim's writing, including Kim 1982, in the Bibliography and Image studies sections of The Steamy East website.


Alien nationals in Philippines and Occupied Japan



Nationality in Austria under Germany

Japan's annexation of Korea in 1910 and Korea's liberation upon Japan's defeat in World War II in 1945 is often compared with Germany's annexation of Austria in 1938 and its liberation during the war. The postwar legal issues regarding Korea and Koreans, and especially Koreans in Japan, have usually been misrepresented.

For a summary of the annexation and deannexation of Austria, and an overview of postwar nationality issues with extractions from an English summary of an important ruling by the Federal Constitutional Court of the Republic of Germany, see 1955 German ruling.

The case of Japan and Korea

A number of Japanese -- from Naichi officials of the Government-General of Chosen to Chosenese who favored the annexation -- argued that the annexation represented a reunification of racioethnic kin, and legal and other reforms on the peninsula were aimed at "desinification" of Chosenese. According to this view, Chosenese had once been part of the Yamato race, but had come under Chinese suzerainty and been Sinified. The time had come to regenerate their racioethnic Yamato roots.

See Racial reunification: Yamatoization as desinification for a partial translation of the most important statement of this view.

A number of Korean governments in exile, and provisional Korean governments on the peninsula, similarly declared Japan's annexation of Korea null and void -- as did both ROK and DPRK when they were founded, and then recognized by their US and Soviet backers, in 1948. Both ROK and DPRK immediately took legal measures to restore Korean nationality to persons in population registers affiliated with their "claimed jurisdictions" -- meaning all of the former entity of Chosen. In practice, however, they could only enforce their laws within the territories they controlled -- meaning south and north of the 38th parallel, which marked the American and Soviet occupation zones on the peninsula.

In principle, Chosenese in Japan and other territories outside "Korea" (ROK/DPRK) -- such as USSR/Karafuto and ROC/PRC/Taiwan/Manchukuo -- were "latent Koreans" (my term), in that both ROK and DPRK presumed them to be Koreans, whose ROK/DPRK nationality be confirmed through ROK/DPRK missions or agents in Japan and other places outside Korea.


Syngman Rhee's Japan Inside Out
published on eve of Pacific War

Syngman Rhee on legal status

Syngman Rhee (李承晩 이승만 I Sŭngman 1875-1965) published an interesting and largely ignored book in 1941 shortly before the beginning of the Pacific War.

Syngman Rhee, Ph. D.
Japan Inside Out
(The Challenge of Today)
New York: Fleming H. Revell Company, MCMXLI [1941]
202 pages, hardcover

Under the by-line is this title.

First President of the Provisional Government of the
Republic of Korea in Exile

Rhee's self-promotion is clever. He ambiguously gives the impression that he might still be the first president -- and indeed he is, but only because he was.

Rhee was the "first president" of the so-called "Korean Provisional Government" (KPG) founded in Shanghai during the March 1st Movement of 1919. However, his presidency continued only until 1925, when he was expelled from KPG over questions about his use of funds. Since then, and until 1945, he was a resident of Hawaii and Washington, D.C. He married Austrian-born Francisca Donner on 8 October 1934 in New York.

In 1945, after Japan's surrender, General MacArthur allowed him to return to "liberated" Korea, where eventually he and other nationalists set up a new government. In 1948, he was elected the first president of the Republic of Korea. During an election scandal in 1960, fled to Honolulu, where he lived in exile with his wife and their adopted son until his death in 1965.

While residing in the United States, Rhee tried to persuade the US government to take a position against Japan's annexation of Korea, which the US had recognized. Of great interest here is the manner in which, in this book, Rhee describes the treatment by the United States of people in Hawaii who, in Rhee's view, should have been exceptionalized under US status and immigration laws as victims of what he considered Japan's illegal annexation.

In the following sections, I will cite the entirety of what Rhee wrote under the subheading "Hawaii" (pages 140-146) in the tenth chapter, "Japan's March of Conquest and its Repercussions" (pages 126-150). The chapter includes these subheads.

Japan's March of Conquest and its Repercussions

Hong Kong
Burma Road
Dutch East Indies
Philippine Islands
Mandate Islands

The section on Hawaii is twice as long as the longest other sections (Dutch East Indies, Indo-China), and several times longer than the other sections.


The Hawaii section is of special interest, not only because Rhee goes into great detail about his perception of status issues involving Koreans as Japanese, but because of Hawaii's own history as a Kingdom which had been somewhat forcibly annexed by the United States for reasons that.

Rhee is too busy urging Americans to share his pro-Korean, anti-Japanese sentiments to remark that Japan's annexation of Korea as Chosen in 1910 was to some extent inspired by America's annexation of Hawaii in 1898. The US annexed Hawaii at a time when Japan was beginning to dominate the islands, and the US wanted a Pacific anchor for its national interests, by then embracing the Philippines.

Rhee, however, is concerned only with the three-way tug of war between Japan, the United States, and people like himself who considered themselves Koreans and not Chosenese, much less Japanese. He wants Americans to stop treating Koreans in the United States as Japanese.

Toward the end of the chapter on "U.S. Nationals and Their Interests" (VIII), Rhee describes how Japan had been insulting American and British flags in China (pages 109-112). He then details some incidents during the visitation of two Japanese naval vessels to Hawaii in 1939 (pages 112-115).

Even local people are expected to follow Japanese naval protocol, which calls for saluting the sentry, or bowing or tipping the hat, when boarding a Japanese ship, and a critical editorial with a photograph appeared in the Honolulu Advertiser on 30 October 1939. The photograph is the frontispiece of Rhee's book.

Between the China and Hawaii flag anecdotes, Rhee says things like this about "Nipponese" in Hawaii and "Japanese" generally (pages 112-113).

While the Japanese were deliberately insulting the American flag in China and elsewhere, they tried to force Americans to bow to their flag in American territory. It happened during the winter of 1939, when three Japanese navel vessels were "visiting" Hawaii. Every now and then these naval vessels make "official" and "unofficial" calls on these isles. Each time they arrive in Honolulu harbor, the piers and water front are thronged with hundreds of Nipponese, most of them American "citizens," who go out to welcome their visiting compatriots. . . .

[ Parts omitted ]

. . . During these visits the city streets are crowded with white uniformed Japanese carrying kodaks and cameras. Of course, it is nothing but an unofficial call by naval unites of a friendly nation. There is no reason to doubt, and every reason to believe, that it is only a sincere expression of friendly feelings between two great Pacific powers. However, that is not all. Every Japanese is an empire builder. He is part and parcel of the great scheme of world conquest.

The problem is not that Rhee finds the imposition of naval etiquette on people who are supposed to be guests of a ship to be arrogant. The problem is that he wants readers to be believe that Hawaii's "Nipponese" -- most of whom are "citizens" of the United States -- are not really Americans, and are not to be trusted as such. This view of Japanese Americans as untrustworthy is further developed in the section on Hawaii, in the course of talking about the status of Koreans.

I have broken Rhee's "Hawaii" section into a number of sub-sections. I have provided my own subtitles in purple and introduced each sub-section in purple.


Koreans as natural enemies of Japanese
Special treatment of Koreans too irksome
Interior Department versus State Department

From "Hawaii" in Japan Inside Out (Rhee 1941, pages 140-142)

If Japan's invasion of China [in 1937] had taken place a century ago it would hardly have been noticed in territory as far from the Orient as the islands of Hawaii. In this machine age of ours, when continents are no longer divided by water and air but connected by them, Hawaii seems almost to be the very centre of events. Suffice it to say that Japan's war on China affects Hawaii's present changes to win admission to the Union as a state, for which it has applied to the United States Congress. However, the question of the Japanese population in the territory puts the territory in a dubious position.

The Japanese-Americans have been reaching voting age rapidly, but when they vote for territorial legislators they are known to vote almost exclusively for their own Japanese candidates. This is particularly true on the island of Hawaii, the largest in the group. This experience has been repeated a number of years. At all events, the Japanese-Americans are gradually getting into key positions in the territorial government, and it is difficult to stop them.

Some of the far-sighted citizens in Hawaii have been watching the rapid development of this anomalous situation with silent but serious forebodings. The former Governor of Hawaii, Charles McCarthy, was one of them. When he was serving as a delegate from the territory to the United States Congress, he quietly approached the Interior and State Department authorities with the proposal that a limited number of Koreans be admitted to the territory as laborers. At that time the sugar plantations in Hawaii were in need of a fresh supply of cheap labor. The main purpose for which he submitted this proposal was, however, to have an equal number of Koreans settled side by side with the Japanese, in order to safeguard the peace and security of the territory, the most strategic insular possession of the United States. Koreans and Japanese are hereditary enemies, and Governor McCarthy saw the wisdom of such a move. As a result, the Korean Commission in Washington was advised by the Interior Department that any Koreans who were outside of Korea in 1910, the year in which Japan formally annexed Korea, would be permitted to enter the Territory of Hawaii. The Korean Commission at once took the matter up with the immigration authorities, who informed them that the Immigration Bureau could not act upon it unless the State Department issued similar instructions to that effect. The State Department authorities frankly stated in their reply to the Korean Commission that the United States could not allow Koreans to enter without Japanese passports, because that would violate the so-called "gentlemen's agreement." That ended the negotiations.

Since there was no special restriction against Koreans, Korean students used to receive lenient treatment at the hands of the United States Immigration officials and steamship companies. Once or twice, several political refugees managed to get aboard American steamships in one of the Oriental ports, and the ship's captain, or some other officer, protected them from the Japanese police. When the refugees arrived in America, the United States permitted them to enter as soon as they proved themselves to be Korean students. This special favor was too irksome to the Japanese to bear. To plug this loophole, the Japanese made a special effort to put a separate clause in the so-called "gentlemen's agreement" to the effect that Koreans, being subjects of the Mikado, should not be permitted the enter the United States without Japanese passports. Passports, so freely obtained by Japanese, were about the last thing possible for Koreans to secure. Thus Japan managed to bar Korean students from the United States. According to the Korean interpretation of this clause of the agreement, the Koreans who were not in Korea during the time of annexation, and still refused to be classified as Japanese, as most of them did and still do, should be treated as men without a country and be exempted from the passport requirement. The Interior Department readily accepted this interpretation, but the State Department in those days was anxious not to displease Tokyo, and the matter was dropped.


By William Wetherall

Syngman Rhee relates an anecdote about a failed attempt to exceptionalize Koreans for immigration to Hawaii, both to provide needed labor, and to counterbalance the political weight of Japanese Americans. The logic, though, is a bit odd.

It would have taken a sudden infusion of many times more Korean immigrants than there had been Japanese immigrants, and a couple of generations, for the Koreans to produce enough adult Korean Americans to counter the number of adult Japanese Americans. In the meantime, there would have been no guarantee that the alleged animosities between the two cohorts would not have dissolved through intermarriage and other forms of Hawaiianization and Americanization.

The Department of the Interior was responsible for overseeing territorial governments including the government of Hawaii. The Department of State was responsible for overseeing agreements between the United States and other states. The Interior Department was therefore in a position to seek special provisions for Hawaii's labor needs.

In 1933, the Bureau of Immigration, which had been in the Department of Commerce and Labor, was transferred to the Department of Labor and transformed into the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Under president Roosevelt's 1940 reorganization plan, INS was moved to the Department of Justice.

National-origin immigration quotas applied US territories as well as states. When Philippine Islands became the Republic of the Philippines in 1935, Filipinos -- though they remained US nationals -- were declared aliens for purposes of immigration laws. The Philippine Independence Act set the quota for the Philippines at fifty (50), but this did not apply to Filipinos entering Hawaii on other than an immigration or passport visa. Immigration to Hawaii would "be determined by the Department of the Interior on the basis of the needs of industries in the Territory of Hawaii."

See Nationalization treaties for more about the status of Filipinos as US nationals before and after the formation of the Republic of the Philippines.

Rhee claims that it was difficult for Koreans to obtain Japanese passports. However, some did obtain Japanese passports. And some Koreans, including entire families, were issued immigrant visas by the American Consulate in Seoul -- even before the incidents in 1937 that resulted in Japan's military and political actions in China.

See The empire of passports and IDs for more about Japanese passports and US immigration permits and ID cards issues to Chosenese, including images of actual documents.


Question of Japanese dual citizenship
Alien registration act of 1940 and Koreans
Renouncing Japanese citizenship to become Americans

From "Hawaii" in Japan Inside Out (Rhee 1941, pages 142-144)

Now, to go back to the Japanese in Hawaii. The question of Japanese dual citizenship has been a subject of public discussion for many years. Under the Constitution of the United States, Japanese, born on American soil, are, like all other native-born, American citizens. Japan, on the other hand, claims that a Japanese is a subject of the Empire irrespective of the place of his birth. The crux of this question is to which country does an American-born Japanese owe allegiance and for which flag will he fight? In this controversy, if the Japanese government had insisted that such a person would fight for Japan, the American government would have classified him and thousands of others as aliens, a decided disadvantage to Japan. Therefore, the Tokyo government finally agreed to give the Japanese in this category an opportunity to expatriate themselves. This arrangement was accepted as satisfactory to all concerned.

Under the alien registration act of 1940, the United States Department of Justice, granting the petition of Kilsoo Haan, representative of the Sino-Korean league, ruled that Koreans be allowed to register as Koreans, not as subjects of Japan. Earl. G. Harrison, director of alien registration in Washington, announced a similar ruling. It was reported that under this ruling 2276 Koreans in Hawaii were to register as Koreans. The rest of the Koreans, some 6500 in all, according to the last census, are American citizens. The Japanese were highly dissatisfied with this ruling. Kiichi Gunji, Japanese Consul General, openly declared that American citizens of Korean parentage are still dual citizens and must be expatriated from Japan by filing their applications with the Japanese consulate in Honolulu. This stupid statement stirred up the Korean community in Honolulu to such an extent that a mass meeting was promptly called by the Korean Civic Association, and after indignant speeches and denunciations a resolution was unanimously adopted reasserting that Koreans had never recognized Japan's forcible annexation of Korea, that they never allowed themselves to be called Japanese, that they owed no allegiance to any country but the United States, and that they would take in the future, as they had taken in the past, their full share of obligation as worthy citizens of the United States.

The Japanese Consul General in Honolulu knows that Koreans born under the Stars and Stripes will never go to the Japanese for expatriation, and the Japanese in America have no way to force them to do it. No one except the Japanese would think for a moment that these young Korean-Americans should be expatriated because the Japanese are required to do it. The reason why the Japanese are required to renounce their Japanese citizenship, if they want to become American citizens, is because under the old dual citizen law they would have been free to voluntarily take up arms for Japan in case of war. But no such requirement is needed for the Koreans, because no Korean would fight for Japan against the United States or any other nation. They would welcome an opportunity to fight Japan. The very fact that a Korean army, fully equipped and organized, is fighting the Japanese in China is significant. There is no Korean army, except in Japan's propaganda, fighting for Japan. That the Japanese dare not trust the Koreans with firearms speaks eloquently. . . . [Continued in next section]


By William Wetherall

Syngman Rhee writes with great enthusiasm and patriotic fervor. At times, though, he expresses the same kind of anti-Japanese sentiments that worked against Japanese and Americans of Japanese ancestry in the United States.

He muddles, rather than clarifies, the dual-nationality issue between the United States and Japan. His generalizations about Japan's and America's nationality laws are stereotypic at best. He may have understood some the legal wrinkles he writes out of his generalizations, but I don't get the impression it would have mattered. About all that one can say about what he writes is that it suggests how America's formal recognition of Japan's annexation of Korea as Chosen in 1910 began to unravel after Japan's incursions in China in 1937 (not to mention Manchuria in 1931).

Bear in mind, while reading Rhee's remarks, that in 1940, Japan had recognized the government of Wang Ching-wei (Wang Jinwei) in China. The Republic of China was in exile, and the so-called Korean Provisional Government, which had been in Shanghai, now occupied by Japan, had followed Chiang Kai-shek's ROC government-in exile to Chungking. The "Korean army" Rhee claims is "fully equipped and organized" and fighting against Japan in China refers to a small band of resistance fighters.

The following "propaganda" appears in The Japan Year Book, 1940-1941, published in 1940 (page 878, underscoring and [bracketed remarks] mine).

Chosenese for Defence Services

Chosen has been defended by the Chosen Army which solely consisted of Japanese [sic = Naichijin, i.e., Interiorite] officials and soldiers. But the present China Affair gave Chosenese an opportunity to show their loyalty to the Government-General [of Chosen] and the Emperor, and their earnestness in requesting their share in defence services and in other relative works has been much appreciated by the authorities and the people of Japan in general ["ippan no Nihon kokumin" ? = "nationals of Japan generally (i.e., including Chosenese)" ?]. And to comply with the request an Imperial Ordinance was promulgated in March 1938, according to which Chosenese are allowed, for the first time, to enter military service as volunteers.

The Chosen Government-General announced, in April, to receive 400 Chosenese volunteers, for which as many as 3,000 Chosenese young men immediately responded. The required number was chosen from among the three thousand and 200 of whom were first enlisted as military students in the Chosen Government-General Institute for Training Military Volunteers, which was established near Keijo [now Seoul], the capital. They were graduated from the Institute at the end of November 1938, after 6 months of training to be the pioneer Chosenese constituent in the Imperial Army. In 1939-40, the Government-General [of Chosen] announced to increase the number of Chosenese volunteers to 600, for which the responses reached 12,300 in number; two were killed in action in the Sino-Japanese hostilities in September 1939.

Propaganda of a sort, yes. But what does it mean as a reflection of contemporary policy and law? And of behavior?

What Rhee does not wish to recognize is -- perhaps because he does not actually know -- the extent to which some Chosenese sought to join the Chosenese units, for the sake of Chosen if not the Empire of Japan -- or to be trained as officers in Tokyo for service under Manchoukuo's flag. Some Chosenese argued, along with some Interiorites who favored total equality within Japanese subjecthood and nationality, that the territorial restrictions in Military Service Law, which in principle applied to all Japanese subjects, should be abolished.

Loyalty to the Government-General and the Emperor

One of the more interesting phrases in the year book report is the listing of the Government-General of Chosen as an object of loyalty -- ahead of the Emperor, no less!

Other phrases reflect conventional differences in the ways that status was described in Japanese and English. From no later than this edition of the year book, which in any case is not a government report, "Korea" had become "Chosen" and "Koreans" had become "Chosenese" in English -- somewhat problematically, because this resulted in a conflation of proper distinctions between "Korea/ns" and "Chosen/ese". In the meantime, the official usage in English materials produced by the Government-General of Chosen had consistently been "Chosen" and "Chosenese" -- precisely reflecting Japanese usage -- since, or very soon after, the annexation.

Note also that, as used here, "Japanese" reflects what would have been "Naichijin" (Interiorite) in Japanese usage. Chosenese were Japanese by subjecthood and nationality. It is mainly in English reports that "Japanese" is used to refer to prefectural (Interior) subjects exclusive of Taiwanese and Chosenese -- hence huge gaps in the manner in which the Empire of Japan and its subjects were described in contemporary Japanese and English accounts. Today, too, even accounts in Japanese -- with the exception mainly of court briefs, which have to reflect legal usage -- only Naichijin (Interiorites) are called "Nihonjin" (Japanese), and "Chōsen" (Chosen) and "Chōsenjin" (Chosenese) will be morphed into "Korea" and "Koreans" in English.

See The Japan Year Book for further details on basic terminology was different, and at times changed, in English representations.

Also bear in mind that in late 1940 and early 1941, the United States, and then Great Britain and the Netherlands, began supporting the Republic of China in its struggle against Japan, by imposing sanctions on Japan in the form of embargoes of oil, iron, and other strategic products.

The Pacific War, in a sense, had already begun. And the United States was availing itself of every opportunity to pressure Japan to back out of China if not also Manchoukuo.

Dual-nationality issue

The dual-nationality issue had flared since the first decade of the 20th century -- in the United States. In 1916 Japan amended its 1899 Nationality Law to permit renunciation. The United States government, increasingly anti-Oriental, pushed for more action on Japan's part, and in 1924 Japan again revised its Nationality Law -- this time provide that a parent of a child born in a right-of-soil states in the Americas, who was qualified to acquire Japanese nationality at birth, would in effect lose Japanese nationality if the birth was not registered in a timely manner at a Japanese consulate.

It is commonly thought that Japanese nationality is automatically acquired, and a superficial reading of Japan's Nationality Law will leave this impression. But Family Register Law procedures mean that Japanese nationality, even though presumably gained at time of birth according to one or another article in the Nationality Law, is not actually gained without proper and timely registration. And the 1924 revision specifically provided that failure to register, in order to retain (reserve) nationality, would result in loss of nationally (meaning presumptive nationality) retroactive from birth (Article 2-2). Which means that Japanese nationality would not actually be acquired without timely registration.

See 1899 Nationality Law for details.

US census and nationality

Rhee has a hard time keeping Japanese and Koreans separate from Japanese Americans and Korean Americans. Elsewhere in the book, too, he easily conflates "Japanese" and "Japanese Americans" and "Koreans" and "Korean Americans" in manner that appears favor putative "race" over nationality -- or, perhaps I should say, racialized "nationality" over "citizenship".

By "Americans" Rhee appears to mean someone who is white -- or at least is not "Japanese-American" or "Korean-American". It seems that the latter can be "American citizens" but not just "Americans".

Of course the US census would count any US citizen, regardless of putative "national origin", as a US citizen. Being possibly a dual national would not have made them aliens for census purposes. The same would be true in Japan. Laws of laws, which determined applicable laws based on status, recognized that dual nationals residing in one of their countries of nationality would be treated as a national of that country. Some federal and state laws in the United States operated on concepts of "race" or racialized "national origin", but "nationality" was a raceless attribute even in the United States.

Renouncing "Japanese citizenship"

Oddly, Rhee contends that "Japanese" had to renounce their "Japanese citizenship" to become "American citizens" -- which was not, and could not have been, the case. Japanese could not become American citizens. They could not naturalize because they were considered to be of a race legally ineligible for naturalization.

Whereas children, born in the United States regardless of the nationality or nationalities of their parents, became Americans by birth. They might also, if their birth was registered by a Japanese parent under Japanese law, retain (reserve) Japanese nationality for activation later in life should they wish to go to Japan as a Japanese national.

In the meantime, such Americans, whose birth had been registered at a Japanese consulate by a Japanese parent, were not considered yet to be actual nationals of Japan -- but were only regarded as having retained or latent nationality, or a residual nationality. So long as they were not in Japan, Japan's laws did not reach them. They were, in any event, not "citizens" of Japan. "Citizen" and "citizenship" as Rhee uses these terms reflect usage in US law, not Japanese law.

Article 24 of the 1924 revision to the 1899 Nationality Law specifically stated that Japanese males fully 17 years of age or above could not lose their nationality unless they had actively served in army or navy or were not of age to still be obliged to serve -- accept Japanese males who acquired a foreign nationality through having been born in another country. The latter could renounce their nationality at any time if they were domiciled in the country of their other nationality. In other words, Japan's military service obligations did not extend to them. In any event, Japanese consulates were not able to enforce Japan's conscription, even with regard to Japanese nationals abroad who, had they been in a Japanese jurisdiction, would have been subject to the Military Service Law.

Subversive activities

Something Rhee fails to mention is that political purpose of the America's Alien Registration Act of 1940 was to facilitate investigations of activities suspected of being contrary to the security of the United States. Nationals of communist, socialist, and fascist states, and of Japan, were primary candidates for suspicion and surveillance.

In September 1940, three months after the Alien Register Act entered into law, Japan joined the Tripartite Pact with Germany and Italy. This gave the FBI and other concerned US agencies all the more reason to consider Japanese, and Americans of Japanese ancestry, as potential enemies, and to step of their surveillance of such persons, especially in localities such as Hawaii -- which Rhee correctly calls "the most strategic insular possession of the United States" (page 141, as cited above).

Koreans in America, regardless of their political views, were caught in the middle of the rising animosity toward Japanese. Of course they would want to differentiate themselves from Japanese. And the desire to be seen as Koreans with no loyalties toward Japan would multiply many fold when Pearl Harbor was attacked on 7 September 1941 Hawaiian time.

Anyone who "looked Japanese" but was actually "Chinese" or "Korean" was hard pressed to alert especially those who lumped all Orientals together, that they were not Japanese. Even as late as 1982, in Detroit, Vincent Chin was being clubbed into a coma that resulted in his death -- because a white truck assembly plant superintendent blamed him for unemployment in the industry. The desire of some Koreans and Korean Americans not to be regarded as Japanese was at least partly motivated by the same desire that some Japanese and Japanese Americans had in not wanting to be viewed as possible threats to the United States.

See American anti-subversion laws for further comments about, and the text of, the 1940 US Alien Registration Act.

Nationality in Chosen

Another problem with Rhee's statement about the putative dual American and Japanese nationality of Korean Americans -- which he alleges was a problem for the United States if not also Japan -- is how American-born offspring of Koreans in the United States would have become dual nationals.

The 1910 Korea-Japan Annexation Treaty made no specific provisions for Koreans to migrate to Japanese nationality. But since Korea had ceded its itself, Japan took this, quite reasonably, to mean that Koreans -- at least those in Korea -- became Japanese subjects the moment Korea became part of Japan. At the same time, Korea became Chosen and Koreans became Chosenese.

As for Koreans not in Korea at the time, especially those who had established their domiciles overseas (excluding Japan, which ceased to be overseas), Rhee argued, quite reasonably, that the government of their country of residence should have regarded them as stateless.

The status of Chosenese who left Chosen or other parts of Japan after the annexation are not so easily lumped together with those like Rhee who had not been in Korea at the time it became Chosen -- and who in fact had spent only a couple of years in Chosen during its first few years as part of Japan.

Within months of enforcing its 1899 Nationality Law in the Interior (prefectures), Japan extended the law, an Interior Law, to Taiwan, which had been part of Japan since 1895. Japan did not, however, apply the Nationality Law to Chosen. Japan took the 1910 annexation treaty as sufficient grounds to regard Koreans as having become Chosenese subjects of Japan and consequently Japanese nationals.

Chosen laws and Japanese consulates

Korean affiliation laws become Chosen affiliation laws, and these affiliation laws continued to operate as quasi nationality laws regarding the gain and and loss of the Japanese nationality of Chosenese. Not having studied Korean/Chosen affiliation laws, however, I cannot say on what legal grounds, or through what administrative procedures, Japan would have permitted people in Hawaii who were viewed as being affiliated with Chosen to renounce their Japanese nationality.

Affiliation with Chosen was, however, a matter of registration in what amounted to a household register. Japan applied parts of its Interior (prefectural) Family Register Law to Chosen until which point migrations between the two register systems were possible in alliances of marriage and adoption. The Chosen population (family) register system was further modified along Interior (prefectural) -- i.e., along the lines of Interior family law -- in order to facilitate, eventually, a merger of Chosen's legal system into the Interior's legal system.

All manner of legal questions multiply when considering the status of the children born in the United States to Koreans or Chosenese. The 1924 revisions in Japan's Nationality Law (see above) applied to Japanese affiliated with the Interior (including Karafuto) or with Taiwan, but not to Japanese affiliated with Chosen.

So how would any child born in the United States to a Korean or Chosenese immigrant have become Japanese? Unless the child's parents went to the trouble to register the child's birth?

The answer was simple. Japan's Nationality Law may not have applied to Chosen. But Chosen's affiliation laws applied to Chosen. And Chosen was part of Japan. Hence Japanese consulates were responsible for administering to the legal needs of Chosenese overseas with regards the all laws that applied to Chosen, including Chosen's own laws.

But the story doesn't end here. By the time Korea was joined to Japan as Chosen in 1910, Japanese consulates had been in the business of taking care of Korea's foreign affairs, and the legal needs of overseas Koreans regarding Korean laws -- for all of five years -- since 1905, when the Empire of Korea delegated its foreign affairs to Japan.

Chosen's Population Register Law, a carry over from the Empire of Korea, had been promulgated in 1909, the year before the annexation, under the direction of Japan's Resident-General of Korea, which after the annexation became the Government-General of Chosen.

How many Koreans in the United States had stepped foot in a Japanese consulate? How many had complied with laws that applied to Chosen, as Chosenese?

How many Americans of Korean/Chosen descent had any business with a Japanese government agency in the United States? As Americans who may also have possessed Korean nationality, or Japanese nationality derived from their Chosen affiliation?

States that had recognized Japan's annexation of Korea as Chosen, including the United States, consequently recognized that Chosenese had Japanese nationality. And Japan issued Japanese passports to Chosenese for the purpose of travel or emigration to foreign states such as the United States.

Never mind how difficult it might have been for ordinary Chosenese to obtain a Japanese passport. Those with the means and ways of traveling abroad, or emigrating from Chosen, obtained passport. And foreign consulates in Chosen issued them visas and related documents, based on their Japanese status, for all manner of purposes, from study and business to immigration. Such visas and documents may have been mere formalities in the eyes of some people, but they do suggest the realities of contemporary recognition politics -- and these realities were mostly at odds with what Rhee would have preferred.

Implications for postwar status

Rhee's remarks -- to repeat what I said above -- suggest a shift of US recognition politics in 1940 and 1941. During these two years, America imposed many sanctions on Japan. And the Allied Powers, in the course of prosecuting their war against the Empire of Japan, adopted the position of liberating both "Formosa" (Taiwan) and "Korea" (Chosen) from Japan. However, when separating these entities from "Japan" as defined for occupation purposes, GHQ/SCAP was legally obliged, by precedents of international law, to defer the disposition of the Japanese nationality of "Koreans" to treaties of peace or normalization.

It is possible -- though more evidence would be needed to prove -- that the treatment of what GHQ/SCAP later called "Koreans in Japan" during the Occupation of Japan -- as "non-Japanese" for purposes of repatriation, border control, and alien registration but "Japanese nationals" for other purposes -- began about the time Rhee was writing his book. During the Occupation of Japan, Koreans in Japan became what I would call "non-Japanese (i.e. "alien") Japanese nationals" -- much like Filipino's became "non-American (i.e. "alien") US nationals".

What is especially interesting is that, among the demands made by the delegates Syngman Rhee sent to Japan to negotiate a treaty of normalization with Japan, was one in which Japan was expected to recognize all Koreans in Japan was ROK nationals while treating them as its own nationals.

ROK does not appear to have recognized that Koreans in Japan had ever actually been Japanese nationals. It seems only to have insisted that, because Japan had treated them as its nationals in the past, and because had been regarded as Japanese nationals until a treaty determined their status, then it made sense that they should continue to have the benefits of Japanese nationality.

ROK does not seem to have wanted them be dual nationals as such -- but rather ROK nationals who, because Japan had been treating them as its actual nationals, would continue to be treated as though they were its virtual nationals -- or so-called quasi-nationals.


Koreans collect funds to relieve famine in mother country
American Mission Board in Korea agrees to distribute funds
Denial of famine by Japanese Consul General

From "Hawaii" in Japan Inside Out (Rhee 1941, pages 144-145)

[Continued from previous section] . . . . The following instance is another evidence of Japanese animosity toward the Koreans:

The last year [1940] witnessed one of the worst famine disasters in Korea. In fact, the famine condition was so bad that it was widely reported in the American press, despite the strict censorship in Korea. If such suffering were going on in China, India, or Japan, appeals for relief would have reached the philanthropic hearts of Americans immediately and repeatedly. It is proverbial that Japan's policy of repression in Korea has built an almost impenetrable barrier between that unhappy land and the outside world.

In the early spring of 1940 the Koreans in Hawaii and the mainland made whatever contributions they could to help alleviate the famine in their mother country, and with the aid of their American friends in California and elsewhere appeals for contributions were made to the general public. Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady to the nation, graciously included the Korean famine situation in her weekly radio broadcast and also in her daily column. In conclusion, Mrs. Roosevelt said:

"I tell you all this because, while Korea is far away, perhaps you will send an occasional check to the American Red Cross, marked for these people who are just one more addition to the world's suffering people. It seems hard to sleep at night these times because the stress of homeless, hopeless people haunts one's dreams."

This touching plea in behalf of suffering humanity was bound to bear fruit. Voluntary subscriptions increased the total of the Korean relief fund substantially. Naturally, the Koreans were made happy and grateful.

The next question was how to distribute this fund to the famine suffers without going through a Japanese agency. If it was turned over to the Japanese consulate, to be handled by the Japanese, it would not have appeared so objectionable to the Japanese, perhaps. But the Koreans would not think of such a thing, and subsequently they made arrangements with the American Mission Board in Korea to distribute the fund among the most needy ones. This was too much for the Japanese to keep quiet about. The Japanese Consul General in Honolulu made another misleading statement, asserting that there was no famine in Korea. He said, in part:

"It is unthinkable that Korea today is suffering from a large scale famine as some reports reaching here have stated. . . . I have never heard or read of such disastrous famine yet. If there were such famine, the Japanese government would have taken immediate steps to remedy the situation."

By making that statement, the Japanese Consul General made the situation all the worse for Japan. The outside world had learned that the suffering was worse than was generally known. One would like to know the reason why the Japanese so strenuously objected to American relief funds going into Korea. Was it in pursuit of the policy of repression? If so, the policy does not seem to kill or even dampen the Korean spirit. On the contrary, that spirit grows stronger inwardly as the pressure from without becomes harder. Yet the Japanese blindly refuse to see this.


By William Wetherall

The famine Rhee refers to was not the first under Japan's influence or rule. Japan had plenty of experience responding to famines, and Japan's response to this famine does not seem to have been particularly different. The food situation in Chosen became more critical than it would have because considerable parts of its harvests were being sent to Japanese military operations in China.

It is hardly surprising that reports should surface in the world's press "despite" censorship in Japan (including Chosen). A famine of any extent is not something that can be "censored". Despite the tensions in Chosen at the time, given its role in Japan's military and political involvement in China, there were plenty of people in Chosen who were both in positions to witness conditions on the peninsula, and motivated to report what they saw or thought to the outside world. The missionary press globally, and the non-sectarian American press, were constantly on alert for Japan-related stories, the more negative and sensational the better.

Rhee is right that denials of what the rest of the world believes are likely to make a situation worse. However, why should the Japanese Consul General in Honolulu have simply agreed that there was a "large scale famine in Korea" if he had no reason to think the situation was "disastrous"?

Japanese consulates in the Americas would have been the last to be informed about conditions in Chosen. Short of an emergency with foreign affairs implications, they would have read about Chosen in one or another annual report. Under such circumstances, any Japanese consul general would have reflexively denied claims of wrong doing on Japan's part. It is not the business of such officials to side with Japan's critics -- particularly those known to be hostile toward Japan.

Apart from these reservations about the manner in which Rhee has reported the response of Koreans in Hawaii to the famine in their "mother country", I cannot quite understand why "The following instance is another evidence of Japanese animosity toward the Koreans" (page 144, see above).

(Comments by William Wetherall)


Census of Japanese subjects in foreign countries
Japanese born in America and military service

From "Hawaii" in Japan Inside Out (Rhee 1941, pages 145-146)

In connection with the Sino-Japanese war, it is evident that Japan has to recruit her man power, not only at home, but abroad as well. Instructions were issued last year by the Tokyo government to all Japanese consuls abroad to conduct a census of all Japanese subjects everywhere. Under the guise of census taking, they were to recruit Japanese males who were subject to service in the Japanese army. Somehow American authorities in Washington learned of this and started an investigation. Upon inquiry, the Japanese consul in New York replied, "This is the routine official census of our subjects living in all foreign countries, as well as in Japan, compiled by our government every five years." In this connection, the consul unwittingly made the significant statement that the instructions issued from Tokyo had "no special reference to those born between February 2, 1920, and December 1, 1921, because these persons, under Japanese law, would be subject to service in Japan's army in 1941." It was an indirect admission that those born in America are subject to Japanese military service when they reach military age, and are to go back to their country for service voluntarily. This admission is directly contradictory to the statement which Japanese diplomats and propagandists had so constantly repeated, that Japanese born in America are not subject to Japanese military service. It is clear, then, that all the Japanese fishermen along the American coast and in Hawaiian and Philippine waters, who have surveyed and charted these waters, as well as those who are otherwise employed elsewhere in America, would attempt to go back to their country should Japan call them to contribute their unique services in the cause of empire building. They would be invaluable assets to the Nipponese militarists, especially should there be an attack upon the United States.


By William Wetherall

Rhee is garbling a lot of facts here. Japan takes a national census every five years, and 1940 was a census year. Japanese residents of foreign states are included in the head count to the extent that Japanese consulates have information about them. Many states do this. Japan still does this. Today, too, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs estimates the population of Japanese domiciled abroad. And in some countries, including the United States, it estimates the number of aliens of Japanese descent. The two cohorts are very different. Again, many countries do this.

There is nothing sinister in the remark Rhee attributes to the Japanese consul in New York, who cited the range of dates of birth between which males would be subject to military service in 1941. The consul was just making it clear that such dates had had nothing to do with census taking. Such dates were, in fact, publicly announced in Japan, and they would also have been publicized by Japanese consulates for the benefit of Japanese subjects in their jurisdictions.

Subjects living outside Japan (which included Taiwan and Chosen) were obliged to undergo the standard military service examination if they were part of that year's cohort. However, not only were children born in the United States to Japanese parents (whether Interiorite, Taiwanese, or Chosenese), who had not been registered in a family register affiliated with Japan (Interior, Taiwan, Chosen) not Japanese, but they were not even latent Japanese. Only those who had been registered could have obtained a Japanese passport, and only those who actually went to Japan on a Japanese passport would have been subject to the military service law.

Rhee's only aim here is to suggest that no Japanese in the United States -- and no American of Japanese ancestry -- was to be trusted. He would have qualified for membership in the more racialist wing of the FBI, which also viewed everyone in the United States with one drop of "Japanese" blood in their veins as a a potential enemy.

It appears that Rhee's hostility toward Japan -- cultivated over a period of about half a century by the time he wrote this book, most of this time in the United States -- continued after Japan's surrender, and was largely responsible for ROK's unreasonable demands and uncompromising position toward Japan in attempts between ROK and Japan to normalize their relationship following the 1951 signing of the San Francisco Peace Treaty.


Kilsoo Haan

Kilsoo Haan (1900-1976) was a bit more than just a "representative of the Sino-Korean league" (Rhee 1941, page 143, as cited above). He was, by all appearances, already involved in espionage work for the United States at the time Rhee reports that the Department of Justice ruled in favor of his petition for permission to register as a Korean rather than a Japanese under the Alien Registration Act of 1940.

Haan's papers and life

Haan's papers (1933-1973), housed in the Special Collections and Archives of the University of California at Santa Cruz, are described on the website Online Archive of California (OAC).

Haan's papers, 3 cartons running 1.5 linear feet, consist of "Correspondence, clippings, commentaries, and other writing, including texts for the Korean Underground Report, written by Haan in his role as a Sino-Korean Peoples' League representative."

Haan's "Background" is described like this (retrieved 1 July 2010, underscoring mine).

Kilsoo Kenneth Haan was born in Chang Dan, Korea, on May 31, 1900. He arrived in Honolulu, Hawaii, at age 5, and soon was working as a sugar cane laborer for the Oahu Sugar Company. After completing the 8th grade, he contracted to raise sugar cane for the Company, while training in the Hawaiian National Guard. After an honorable discharge, Haan moved to San Francisco. There he attended the Salvation Army Training College. Between 1922 and 1926 he served in the Salvation Army as an officer, reaching the rank of Captain, and was stationed back on the Hawaiian Islands. In 1926 he married Stella Yoon in Honolulu, with whom he had a son and a daughter. In 1932 he joined the Sino-Korean Peoples' League, acting as its representative in Hawaii and America, and began working to assist U.S. intelligence concerning Japan. Between 1938 and 1947 he resided in Washington, D.C., as the Washington representative of the League. He is famous for having attempted to warn various American officials shortly before the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor of the impending attack<. Haan became a naturalized United States citizen in 1956. He worked for the Chun King Corporation in San Jose, California, from the mid-1950's until 1969. Upon his retirement he moved to Capitola, a seaside village near Santa Cruz, where he died in July, 1976.

Time report on Haan

On 24 August 1942 -- eight months into the Pacific War, two months after the naval battles at Coral Sea and Midway, the campaigns in New Guinea and Guadalcanal barely underway -- Time Magazine published the following report about -- what? -- a caricature of Kilsoo Haan? -- his credibility? -- the aims and aim of Korean terrorists? (Time archives, underscoring mine.)

KOREA: Straight to the Armpit

Monday, Aug. 24, 1942

Kilsoo K. Haan, U.S. representative of both the admittedly revolutionary Korean National Front Federation and the Sino-Korean Peoples' League, is Korea's most vocal Washington spokesman. He is short and 42; he wears rimless spectacles and is given to loud, figured ties. He is often heard, seldom heeded. But last week Kilsoo Haan came into his own.

Papers throughout the U.S. featured his "secret report" that a young Korean patriot had shot and slightly wounded Japanese Premier Hideki Tojo on June 17. The would-be assassin's second shot went wild, but seriously wounded onetime Premier Koki Hirota. As Tojo was carried to the hospital with a wound "under the left armpit," the patriot, whose name was Park Soowon, was shot full of holes by Japanese police, who in the process brought down the Japanese ace, Major Yuzo Fujita, and two Japanese photographers. Tokyo police succeeded in rounding up go-odd [sic = 50-odd ?] members of a Korean terrorist group that has been operating in Yokohama, Tokyo and Osaka, but, said Kilsoo Haan, "their number is legion, and they will continue to operate."

Although his scoop had yet to be confirmed, Kilsoo Haan was serenely confident that it would be. As evidence of its plausibility, he drew up a list of Korean acts of terrorism. The list was more notable for length than for accuracy. Most impressive of the checkable acts was the 1932 bombing of a reviewing stand in Shanghai after a parade in honor of Japan's Emperor: General Yoshinori Shirakawa lost his life, Minister to China Mamoru Shigemitsu his leg and Admiral Kichisaburo Nomura his right eye. Author of that bombing was one In Hokichi. As for most other Korean terrorists, their aim was no better than Park Soowon's.


Chang Hyo Sang and Hosokawa Kiyoshi on Korea and Koreans

Chang Hyo Sang (장효상), a professor of international law at Hanyang University in Seoul, has written a number of articles dealing with ROK/DPRK "transboundary" issues, some of which have appeared in English -- including "Legal aspects of transboundary environment damage caused by the diversion of watercourses in a divided nation: A case study of the Kumgangsan Dam" (Washington, D.C.: World Peace Through Law Center, 1987).The "divided nation" metaphor appears again in "Nationality in Divided Countries: A Korean Perspective" (Chang 1990 in Bibliography), which appears as Chapter 6 in Ko Swan Sik's Nationality and Internaltional Law in Asian Perspective (Ko 1990 in Bibliography). In this article, Chang articulates what an essentially "ethnic Korean" and "pro ROK" stance on Japan's annexation of Korea in 1910, and on the nationality issues that continue to divide ROK and DPRK and alienate some "ethnic Koreans" in Japan.

Hosokawa Kiyoshi (細川清 b1944) began his legal career in the late 1960s and early 1970s as a district court judge in Tokyo and Hakodate. In the late 1970s he joined the Civil Affairs Bureau of the Ministry of Justice. In the early 1980s he was active in discussions concerning the government movement to revise the 1950 Nationality Law by 1985. From the late 1990s he moved on to a series of judgeships, and at the time of this writing (2008) he was the chief justice of the Nagoya High Court.

Hosokawa was the director of the Third Division of the Civil Affairs Bureau of the Ministry of Justice, and formerly the director of the Nationality Division of the same bureau at the time he wrote "Japanese Nationality in International Perspective" (Chapter 5), also in Ko 1990.

As a career jurist in the Ministry of Justice, with expertise in nationality issues, Hosokawa's position on the legality of Japan's annexation of Korea and its denationalization of Korea/Chosen subjects after World War II, is not surprisingly opposite Chang's.

Action by default

However, my impression of the positions taken by these two legalists is that, whatever the theoretical arguments on either side, they would agree that, like it or not, Koreans became Japanese nationals after the annexation -- and, like it or not, they lost their Japanese nationality in an action the government of Japan was left if not encouraged to take by the absence of (1) contrary stipulations in the San Francisco Peace Treaty, (2) binding conventions in international law, and (3) objections from either Korean state (then at war).


Chang and Hosokawa on annexation and nationalization of Korea

Chang Hyo Sang (Chang 1990, in Ko 1990) and Hosokawa Kiyoshi (Hosokawa 1990, in Ko 1990) present rather contrasting views of the origin of "Japanese nationality" of Koreans (Chosenese) after Japan's annexation of Korea as Chosen in 1910.

Chang on annexation and nationalization

Regarding "nationality and state succession" in the case of Japan's annexation of Korea in 1910, Chang summarizes the views what he calls "publicists" as follows (Chang 1990: 289).

In their view, a permanent replacement of the sovereign power of Imperial Korea had not taken place merely by the Japanese annexation of the Korean peninsula, and consequently its sovereignty had not ceased to exist. Some publicists have characterized the Japanese rule as a belligerent occupation. In this approach the colonial rule did not legally effect the continunity of Imperial Korea.

Chang then describes his own position as follows (Chang 1990: 289).

In the view of the present writer the exercise of Korean sovereignty was curtailed and finally taken away altogether during the period 1905-1945, but despite the forcible annexation the sovereignty of Korea itself remained residual. In any event, no one would dispute the fact that the annexation itself was in flagrant violation of international law.

Apparently Chang himself is a "publicist" -- and indeed, every argument in his book is slanted toward the view that, while Koreans never truly had "Japanese nationality" in a truly legal sense, those who remained in what was left of Japan should have been given a choice to remain Japanese nationals (Chang 1990: 289-299, notes omitted).

In the case of Korea the Annexation Treaty of 1910 did not contain provisions on the nationality of the population, and during the period of annexation the Japanese never introduced express rules regulating the matter. Nevertheless, Japanese practice clearly proved that the nationality of the annexing State [Japan] was deemed to be imposed on all ethnic [sic] Koreans regardless of their wishes, and consequently they had no alternative but to accept the ipso facto acquisition of Japanese nationality acquire Japanese nationality. It is submitted that they ought at least to ahve been granted a right of option so that each individual would have had the opportunity to repudiate the imposed Japanese nationality, or, unless they had expressly opted for Japanese nationality, they should have been regarded as retaining their original nationality. . . . the repercussions of both the compulsory change of nationality as a result of the Japanese annexation and the subsequent mass denationalization after the War are still very felt today.

Chang's wishful "publicist" thinking is not supported by the actions of other states, the vast majority of which (1) recognized Japan's annexation of Korea as legal, (2) regarded "Chosen" as part of the Empire of Japan, and (3) treated "Chosenese" as Japanese nationals.

Hosokawa on annexation and nationalization

Hosokawa position is diametrically opposite Chang's regarding the legality of the annexation. But he is in accord with Chang's assessment that Koreans, despite specific nationality provisions, became Japanese nationals (Hosokawa 1990: 230, notes omitted).

In the view of the Japanese Government, unanimously supported by scholars on the subject, the sovereignty transferred by the Korean Emperor to the Japanese Emperor included sovereignty over the Korean people as well as over Korean territory. Thus, every former Korean national, regardless of place of residence, acquired the status of Japanese subject and lost his Korean nationality.

Unlike the case of Taiwan and Sakhalin, the old Nationality Law was never declared applicable to Korea. Thus Koreans were never Jpaanese nationals within the meaning of the Old Nationality Law. However, since Japan had acquired sovereignty over them, they undoubtedly possessed Japanese nationality under international law. Yet under Japanese law, they were treated differently from the Japanese proper, just as was the case with the Taiwanese.

Hosokawa's representations -- like "unamimously supported by scholars" -- are every bit as as self-serving as the "pro ROK" and "ethnic Korean" spins Chang puts on his shots -- such is the gulf between what are essentially "official Japanese" and "official Korean" understandings of the "legality" of the annexation how Japan treated its Korea/Chosen subjects with respect to nationality.

Hosokawa's "Japanese proper" -- by which he means Naichijin or "Interiorite", i.e., a Japanese subject whose family register was affiliated with a prefecture -- like Chang's "mainland" reference to the prefectures, and his qualification of Koreans as "ethnic Koreans" (which has no foundation in law) -- are typical of several familar but odd (and sometimes misleading) English expressions that have crept into their articles on account of their or an editor's choice of terminology.

De facto and de jure sovereignty

As much as I "sympathize" with the view that Korea was a victim of Japanese aggression -- as well as with the view that some Koreans were treated poorly both during the annexation and in postwar settlements -- I have to side mostly with Hosokawa's assessment of the legal facts.

Chang is right to submit that former exterior subjects, particular those who chose to remain in prefectures, should have been given a choice in nationality in 1952 -- no matter what difficulties this imposed on Japan and its relations with ROK/DPRK at the time.

However, Hosokawa has a much better grasp than Chang of what actually happened -- and of what has actually been legitimated by international recognition -- i.e., Japan's treaty-based control of and jurisdiction over Korea as Chosen from 1910 to 1945, and its treaty-based sovereignty until 1952.

This is not to say that ROK and DPRK were not sovereign states from 1948 -- but only that the disposition of "Korea" as the Japanese territory of "Chosen" was not finalized until 1952.

Japan's abandonment of "Korea" as "Chosen" in 1952 did not immediately translate into a recognition of either ROK or DPRK as the successor state. In fact, Japan was unable to recognize ROK as the sole legal government of its former "Chosen" territory until 1965.


Chang and Hosokawa on denationalization of Korea

Both Chang Hyo Sang (Chang 1990, in Ko 1990) and Hosokawa Kiyoshi (Hosokawa 1990, in Ko 1990) recognize the complexities of nationality law. Chang is perhaps more articulate on this score (Chang 1990: 258, 291, bracketed clarifications mine)

[ page 258 ]

Since nationality is a legal bond between a State and a natural person it presupposes the existence of the State as a subject of international law. . . . Yet non-state political entities, while not recognized as a State, do exist in factd and effectively exercise contro over certain territory, which is often determined by internationally recognized boundaries. North Korea [Democratic People's Republic of Korea] is a case in point. It may consequently be said that the phenomenon of divided countries does gove rise to a temporary anomaly peculiar to that phenomenon and possibly give rise, in the field of nationality, to some sort of de facto dual nationality.

There are indeed hardly any, or no, rules of international law dealing with the legal issues concerning nationality in divided countries . . . .

[ page 291 ]

The question of recognition by the ROK [Republic of Korea] of acts of foreign States concerning nationality arises chiefly in connection with Japan and North Korea. The general conclusion to be drawn from the considerations mentioned earlier is that Japan exceeded the generally accepted limits in dealing with the nationality of Koreans. No treaty or municipal arrangements were made which provided for a right of option when Japanese nationality was conferred upon annexation. As will be seen later . . . Japan also violated both international law and its own constitution by taking denationalization measures with regard to Koreans after the Second World War.

San Francisco Peace Treaty as authority for denationalizing Koreas

Chang contends that "Japan wrongly relies upon the Treaty to justify its denationalization measures" (Chang 1990: 300).

As far as the nationality of Koreans habitually residing in the mainland of Japan is concerned, the 1951 Peace Treaty is irrelevant, since it does not deal with the question. Article 2 paragraph (a) of the Peace Treaty declares that Japan, while recognizing the independence of Korea, renounces all right, title, and claim to Korea. There is no room for doubt that the provision relates only to territorial change. It was not designed to deal with the intricate question of nationality.

Hosokawa's view on the matter is, of course, different (Hosokawa 1990: 232).

While recognizing the independence of Korea, the Peace Treaty made no provision for the nationality of Koreans, and no separate agreement was subsequently reached on this matter between Japan and the two countries concerned. However, this does not mean that there was no agreement at all on the matter. The Japanese Government took the position that Article 2(a) of the Peace Treaty was designed to restore and re-establish the independent State of Korea which had existed until its annexation by Japan in 1910, from which it necessarily followed that those who would belong to that State but for the annexation should resume their Korean nationality and lose Japanese nationality by virtue of the Peace Treaty coming into force. As regards the criterion upon which to determine who were to lose Japanese nationality and acquire Korean nationality, the possession of legal status as Koreans under the municipal laws of Japan was the most reasonable and practical criterion, because Koreans were clearly distinguished from Japanese proper under the municipal law of Japan and this distinction had been consistently maintained from the time of annexation.

Regarding Chang's view

"Korea" in the San Francisco Peace Treaty is most certainly not simply a "territory" but is an "entity" -- specifically, an entity that would have been a single "state" were there not in fact two "states" then at war over their conflicting claims to the same territory and the same affiliated population. As entity, "Korea" is presumed to have a geographical territory and a demographic territory -- the later a "nation" consisting of people affiliated with the state.

Regarding Hosokawa's view

Apart from whether Japan should have treated residual residents of Korea/Chosen affiliation differently -- he is certain correct in his assessment of the intentions of the San Francisco Treaty -- which simply finalized the terms of the Potsdam Declaration that Japan formally accepted when it signed the Instruments of Surrender on 2 September 1945. His view of the differentiation between Chosen subjects ("Koreans") and prefecutural subjects ("Japanese proper") under Japan's municipal laws is also correct -- though the same could be said of the municipal laws of "Korea" (i.e., ROK and DPRK laws).

In "Korea" as in Japan, the "nation" that together with a "territory" constitute the object of a state's "government" is defined by population registers affiliated with the territory. That is, "territory" and affiliated registers go hand in hand.

GHQ/SCAP -- when directing Japan to exclude "Korea" and "Koreans" from its definitions of "Japan" and "Japanese" -- in effect placed both the territory and affiliated population of Korea/Chosen beyond "Japan's" control and jurisdiction. The San Francisco Peace Treaty formallyi removed placed both the territory and affiliated population of "Korea" beyond Japan's sovereingty.

To be continued.

Chang makes this observation in "Nationality in Divided Countries: A Korean Perspective" (Chang 1990, in Ko 1990, pages 303-304, [sic] notations mine; see Chang 1990 in Bibliographies section for source details).

Neither the Circular Notice [19 April 1952 Civil Affairs A No. 438 notification] nor the decision of the Supreme Court of Japan [5 April 1961 Supreme Court decision in Kanda Asako v. State] made any distinction between Koreans living in the Korean peninsula and those living in mainland Japan. In the decision of 5 April 1961 in the case of A. Kanda v. State of Japan referred to earlier, the Supreme Court simply ruled that all Koreans, irrespective of their residence, had lost their Japanese nationality.

See Civil Affairs A No. 438 notification on this website for the original text and my translation.

It is remarkable that some earlier decisions of Japanese courts refuted this assuption of the forteiture of Japanese nationality. Thus, inter alia, the decision of the Kobe District Court of 25 April 1952 admitted that those who had continued to reside in Japan after 2 September 1945 were entitled to retain their Japanese nationality until such time as the nationality issue would be settled by a treaty to be concluded between Japan and Korea [note 201]

Note 201   In its judgment of 30 July 1955 the Tokyo District Court decided that the nationality status of ethnic [sic] Koreans during the Japanese rule should have been determined according to the relevant laws of Korea which would be effective but for the Japanese annexation, and the old Japanese nationality law. In its judgment of 27 February 1958, the Tokyo District Court, while admitting the forfeiture of the ethnic [sic] Koreans of their Japanese nationality, held the opinion that so far as persons were concerned who were of Japanese stock but whose names were deleted from the Japanese family register as a result of marriage or adoption (by Koreans), habitual residence in Korea was a prerequisite for the loss of their Japanese nationality. See Onuma Yasuaki, Jaeil-Choseonin-e-Bokjokjiwi-e-Kwanhan-Il-Kochal [A Study of the Legal Status of Korean Residents in Japan], translated from Japanese into Korean by the ROK Ministry of Foreign Affiars (1981) p. 63. Cf., supra, n. 186.

Note 186   Onuma Yasuaki, 'A Study of the Legal Status of Korean Residents in Japan', Hogaku Kyokai Zaashi [sic] vol. 97 part 2, pp. 253-256 (in Japanese).

"remarkable" decision

It may be worth remarking -- but it is hardly surprising -- that on the Kobe District Court ruled that residual Chosenjin were entitled to remain Japanese until a treaty with a Korean entity settled the nationality issue. How else could the court have ruled on 25 April 1952 -- three days before the San Francisco Peace Treaty, and the Justice Ministry's Civil Affairs A No. 438 notification, came into effect?

Without reading the judgment, I cannot tell whether the court knew of and took into consideration the ministerial circular. However, most courts at the time would probably have issued a similar decision -- since nationality issues associated with territorial cession has usually been settled by treaties -- as in both the Treaty of Shimonoseki and the Treaty of Portsmouth.

Later court decisions, though, naturally took into account both the San Francisco Peace Treaty -- and the ministerial notification, which was intended to implement the treaty. And according to Chang (and many others), they recognized the legal authority of the government to act as it did.

"ethnic Koreans"

Chang, reflecting his own racioethnic sentiments rather than principles of law, often refers to Koreans in Japan, as he did in the above graphs, as "ethnic Koreans". He even parenthetically qualifies the "Koreans" referred to in SCAP directives as "(ethnic) Koreans" (Chang 1990: 298).

Definition of "nationality"

Such racialization of Koreans in Japan is entirely at odds with Chang's generally correct definition of nationality and his generally accurate description of the effects of what I call "entity recognition politics" on nationality (Ibid. 291, notes omitted).

Statehood is a prerequisite of nationality since nationality is the legal bond which unites a person with a State. [Note 152] Under international law, nationality is the relationship between a State and individuals as its subjects. Only where a State is recognized as such, has its nationality law validity in relation to States which have afforded such recognition. [Note 153] The consequence is the occurrence of cases where a nationality is effective in some countries, but not in others. [Note 154]

Recognition politics

So far so good. But Chang comes up short on his perception of what I call "recognition politics" -- as in this statement (Ibid. 293).

Rules concerning nationality are entirely different from those governing ordinary daily life relations or family relations, in that nationality greatly affects national interests. It is, therefore, statehood and recognition of the State concerned that determine the recognition of foreign nationality laws. For these reasons, so far as countries like Japan (which has not recognized DPRK), are concerned the North Korean law cannot claim to determine effectively the national law of Koreans habitually residing overseas.

This is not a very accurate statement.

First, many laws governing ordinary daily life are predicated on "national interest".

Second, nationality laws, like all laws, are effective only when conditions of applicability are met. Recognition of statehood is only one condition of applicability.

Third, whether Japan recognizes DPRK in no way prevents DPRK from claiming that its nationality laws extend overseas to people it considers eligible for DPRK nationality, including qualified residents of Japan.

DPRK and Japan

DPRK claims that it is a state. Some states recognize this claim, others don't. Because the People's Republic of China recognizes DPRK as a state, PRC also recognizes DPRK's nationality. However, Japan does not recognize DPRK as a state, hence Japan does not recognize that people in Japan who possess documents certifying that they are DPRK nationals are so in fact.

For example, if a Japanese national naturalizes in DPRK -- or obtains DPRK nationality papers, even a passport, at a DPRK mission in Beijing, say -- Japan will not allow such a national to renounce his or her Japanese nationality. For in Japan's view, DPRK nationality does not exist, hence the person is not a dual national. Therefore, allowing the person to renounce his or her Japanese nationality would cause the person to become stateless, which would be a violation of Japanese law.

Both DPRK and ROK are states in UN eyes

Chang believes, and argues from the standpoint of his belief, that only ROK should be recognized as the rightful successor state to Chosen and its affiliated population. Unfortuantely for his nationalistic sentiments and arguments, in 1991 -- the year after his article appeared -- ROK and DPRK were simultaneously admitted to the United Nations.

The United Nations if of course a political body. It's recognition in 1948 and 1949 of only ROK, and its declarations that ROK was the only lawful government on the peninsula, resulted in the Korean War of 1950-1953. It took nearly forty years for currents of recognition politics to shift toward the view that both ROK and DPRK should be admitted on an equal footing. This resolved all doubt as to whether DPRK has a legitimate claim to statehood in the eyes of the world as defined by the United Nations.

Residual Chosenjin options

While members of the United Nations are not required to recognize each other, Japan cannot expect to play an effective role in East Asian affairs without normalizing its relationship with DPRK as a state. Any settlement between DRPK and Japan will obligate Japan to renegotiate its relationship with ROK.

Most likely Japan will wait until ROK and DPRK settle their relationship issues -- either by reuniting, or by agreeing to normalize their relationship as two independent states south and north of the 38th parallel.

If ROK and DPRK reunite as a single Korean entity, Japan will have to negotiate the status of its residual (legacy) Chosenjin population in Japan with a united Korean state.

If ROK and DPRK opt to normalize their relationship as two independent states, then Japan will be free to recognize DPRK without jeapordizing its relations with ROK -- and free to negotiate the status of residual Chosenjin with DPRK. Most likely, though, ROK will also be involved in a tri-party agreement that allows residual Chosenjin to chose to become (1) a national of DPRK, (2) a national of ROK, or (3) a national of Japan.

If residual Chosenjin are given the option of becoming Japanese, then other residual aliens -- namely, Special Permanent Residents, most of whom are ROK nationals -- will also have to be offered a window of three years or so during which they will be able to gain Japanese nationality by notification rather than naturalization. This would effectively settle all nationality issues related to the denationalization of Taiwan and Chosen/Korea.

Origin of residual Chosenjin population

In his emotional history of Japan's annexation of Korea as Chosen, Chang characterizes the residual "(ethnic) Korean" population in Japan as follows (Ibid., page 297).

Mass denationalization of Korean residents in Japan

In addition to the legal aspects of nationality of Koreans in the Korean peninsula, we are faced with the legal issues relating to the nationality of the (ethnic) Koreans who were forcibly taken to (the then 'mainland' of) Japan and who still live there, as well as their descendants. The number of (ethnic) Korean residents in Japan reached 663,631 in June 1980. This represents approximately 85% of the total number of registered aliens in Japan.

The tragic fate of Korean residents in Japan can be traced back to World War II, when Koreans were forcibly taken to Japan to serve the latter's purposes. . . .

Chang does not appear to understand that nearly half of the two million or so Chosenese in the prefectures (the Naichi or "Interior", which he calls the "mainland") at the time Japan accepted the terms of the Potsdam Declaration -- had freely migrated and settled before the 1938 State General Mobilization Act came into effect, which paved the way for the 1939 National [Labor] Conscription Ordinance, which authorized compulsory recruiting of labor throughout the empire.

Both acts were in response -- not to World War II, much less to the Pacific War -- but to the war in China that had started in 1937 and rapidly spread in 1938. By the time Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, over half of the roughly 1.3 million Chosenese who migrated or were recruited and brought to the Interior after mobilization began in 1939 were already there. And after Pearl Harbor, there was a marked decrease in the rate of labor migration and conscription from Chosen to the Interior.

While this does not change the fact that Chosen became a labor pool for the Interior, it changes our understanding of the causes of labor mobilization -- and the origin of the population of exterior subjects who remained in the prefectures after World War II -- for most of those who remained were those who had freely migrated to and settled in the prefectures.

Article 10 of 1947 constitution

Chang maintains that the circular does not satisfy Article 10 of the 1947 Constitution, which holds that qualifications for being a national of Japan shall be determined by "law". However, he overlooks very important legal precedents in Japan.

A similar stipulation appears in Article 18 of the 1890 Meiji Constitution, but the Nationality Law of 1899 made no providions for gain or loss of Japanese nationality associated with gain or loss of territory. Following the Sino-Japanese War and the Russo-Japanese War, nationality issues attending China's and Russia's cessions of Taiwan and Karafuto to Japan were dealt with in the Treaty of Shimonoseki in 1895 and the Treaty of Portsmouth in 1905. Other laws, and ministerial notices, implemented the provisions of these treaties.

The 1947 Constitution and the 1950 Nationality Law followed the legal traditions of the 1890 Constitution and 1899 Nationality Law regarding the determination of nationality qualifications. Nationality matters related to territorial cessions were left to treaties, which of course have the status of laws.

Authority of San Francisco Peace Treaty

The San Francisco Peace Treaty had, and has, the force of law in Japan. It confirmed the effects of the terms of surrender regarding the separation of territories such as Taiwan, Chōsen, and Karafuto -- without stipulating the successor states, or placing conditions on how Japan would settle issues with concerned states. In effect, it left such settlements, including nationality issues, to the Japan and the concerned states.

The Japanese government and its competent agencies, including the Ministry of Justice (then the Attorney General's Office), would have to negotiate with the states Japan chose to recognize. Given the emerging economic and political relationship between Japan and the United States, but also Japan's own long-standing opposition to communism, Japan -- with not a little encouragement of course from the United States -- naturally chose to negotiate with the Republic of China (ROC) and the Republic of Korea (ROK).

The Ministry of Justice has the authority to interpret and implement laws -- including treaties and related international agreements -- subject only to objections that might be raised in the Cabinet, the Diet, or a proper court of law. On 19 April 1952, the Attorney General's Office (as the Ministry was then called) -- not without the tacit approval of other competent bodies, including the Cabinet and Diet -- issued a Civil Affairs Notification, under its authority, to interpret the treaty to mean that everyone in Chōsen and Taiwan registers would lose Japan's nationality at which time these territories were formally separated from Japan. That is, Chosenese and Taiwanese would lose their Japanese nationality on 28 April 1952.

The Attorney General's Office, while having the authority to make such determinations, was merely the mouth of the Japanese government. The 19 April 1945 notification merely expressed conclusions that the Japanese government had arrived at before it began talks with ROC and ROK in late 1951. Japan's understanding that legally Taiwanese and Chosenese would lose their nationality when Taiwan and Chōsen were formally separated from Japan was accepted -- one might argue even welcomed -- by both ROC and ROK. The Allied Powers also accepted Japan's understanding of the effects of territorial separations on the disposition of Japanese nationality.

Authority of ministerial notifications

Ministry notifications are legal, barring objections by the Cabinet, the Diet, or a court. In point of fact, all courts in Japan have upheld the legality of the mass denationalization of residual exterior subjects in Japan.

Since nationality provisions are usually made in treaties that transfer territories from one state to another, one has to ask why the San Francisco Peace Treaty did not stipulate that, in any treaty Japan made with a successor state, Japan would be required to allow former exterior subjects still in Japan to remain Japanese nationals by migrating to a prefectural register -- not by naturalization but by notification (i.e., choice).

Recognition politics conspired against the specification of successor states in the San Francisco treaty. None of the states that would have qualified as a successor state -- ROC and PRC in the case of Taiwan and other territories, ROK and DPRK in the case of Korea, and USSR in the case of Karafuto and other territories -- were parties to the treaty.

USSR and ROC were members of the Allied Powers. USSR recognized DPRK and PRC. ROC recognzed ROK. USSR and PRC were aligned with DPRK against UN forces, including ROC, defending ROK in Korea. The US recognized ROK and ROC but neither DPRK nor PRC. Japan recognzied ROC when the Treaty of Taipei came into effect on 5 August 1952. It did not recognize ROK until 1965.

Choice would have been fairer, but . . .

While of course it would have been fairer if, at the time it regained its sovereignty in 1952, Japan had given residual former exterior subjects and their offspring in Japan the choice of migrating to a prefectural register as a means of retaining their Japanese nationality -- or remaining in a Taiwan or Korean register, and lose their Japanese nationality even if this resulted in statelessness. However, Japan had the legal right, as a sovereign state, to denationalize all former exterior subjects, including those who remained in the prefectures and their offspring. And Japan was not bound by any treaty or convention to prevent statelessness.

In point of fact, ROC tacitly recognized Japan's stance on denationalization when signing the Treaty of Taipei on the very day the San Francisco treaty came into effect -- at which moment Civil Affairs A No. 438 notification on loss of Japanese nationality also came into effect. Though ROK and DPRK were still at war, neither state raised objections to Japan's actions -- not that they would, given their position that everyone with a register on the Korean peninsula, including residuals in Japan, were "Koreans".

GHQ/SCAP on choice

In a Statement Issued by a Spokesman for SCAP Concerning the Status and Treatment of Koreans in Japan dated 20 November 1946, GHQ/SCAP declared that "The Occupation Authorities have no intention of interfering in any way with the fundamental rights of any person of any nationality in regard to retention, relinquishment or choice of citizenship." This statement was made to refute rumors that GHQ had "recently issued an order that Korean nationals remaining in Japan after 15 December 1946 must obtain Japanese citizenship" (Statement).

As early as 1949, some GHQ/SCAP Diplomatic Section memos (sources and transcriptions of memos to follow) reflected concern that Japan might denationalize residual Chosenjin, thus creating a large stateless population in Japan. A DS memo to all major GHQ sections, dated 15 August 1949, "rejected calls to denationalize Koreans, calling such a measure 'punitive'" (Simon Nantais, personal communication, 13 July 2008; transcription and source of memo to follow).

GHQ/SCAP seems to have been concerned with two issues: (1) offering "liberated peoples" who remained in Japan a choice of remaining Japanese, in addition to migrating to another nationality, and (2) the danger of creating a population in Japan for which no state could be held accountable (my interpretation).

GHQ/SCAP, dominated as it was by Americans, spoke of "citizenship" as though they were talking about a matter they understood in terms of US domestic law. In point of fact, there was then (and is not today) any "citizenship" as such in Japanese law. There is onliy nationality. And there is no evidence that GHQ/SCAP understood the territorial foundation of Japanese nationality.

In the eyes of GHQ/SCAP, "citizenship" was an abstract concept -- something most Americans had because they were born in the United States. Their "US citizenship" was established by the fact of their birth, and the existence of a birth certificate.

The United States gave no choice in Okinawa

Birth certificates, much less place of birth, do not in and of themselves determine "nationality" in Japan. Nationality results when a person qualified for nationality is entered into a register affiliated with a Japanese polity. "Okinawans" were such because their registers were under the territorial jurisdiction of polities in Okinawa prefecture. They were "Japanese" only as an artifact of Japan's sovereignty over Okinawa. As soon as Okinawa came under US control and jurisdiction, Japan's sovereignty was suspended. The Japanese nationality of Okinawan's was put on hold. They were not denationalized, but at the same time they were not "Japanese" for purposes of Japan's national statistics as reported to the World Health Organization. They were, in other words, US subjects -- not US citizens or even US nationals, but subjects -- of the United States as the governining state.

The US did not give people with Okinawan registers a "choice" in their subjecthood. They were instantly US subjects -- i.e., they were instantly deprived of their Japanese subjecthood -- by unilateral action of the United States. Japanese in Okinawa whose registers were in other prefectures were treated as Japanese -- i.e., as "aliens" in Okinawa.

From the viewpoint of Japanese law, Okinawans became "Japanese" the moment they entered Japan and took up residence in a municipality in a prefecture -- which entailed resident registration. But this gave them legal standing as "Japanese" only in local polities. Their honseki would continue to be in Okinawa, unless they affected a transfer of their honseki to a municipality under Japanese control and jurisdiction.

Such transfers remained possible under Japan's Family Registration Law, which the United States allowed to operate in so far as family registration matters were concerned. The United States itself, however, did not permit any "choice" in the "subjecthood" and de facto "nationality" of Japanese nationals affiliated with Okinawa and other parts of Japan under American trusteeship. The US left the finer points of polity affiliation to Japanese law.

Proof in the pudding

One may say the United States did the same with respect to the disposition of the Japanese nationality of former exterior subjects. Despite GHQ/SCAP's occasional posturing on postwar nationality determinations, it left such matters entirely to Japan. Whatever opinions GHQ/SCAP officials expressed at press conferences -- or in memos and other documents -- GHQ/SCAP did not direct Japan one way or the other regarding the separation of Chosenese and Taiwanese from its nationality when Chosen and Taiwan were separated from Japan in 1952.

In fact, what GHQ/SCAP did -- immediately after the "Empire of Japan" signed the Instruments of Surrender -- was to exclude Taiwan, Korea, Karafuto, and even parts of some prefectures, among other territories, from the definition of "Japan" -- and exclude their affiliated populations from the definition of "Japanese". This exclusion of specific territories and their affiliated populations from the "governmental and administrative" authority and juristiction of Japan remained in effect until 28 April 1952 -- when Japan also lost its legal sovereignty over them -- continued throughout the Occupation.

Internal wrangling within GHQ/SCAP about nationality settlements never became ingredients of the pudding that GHQ/SCAP force fed Occupied Japan. The pudding was mainly flavored by the directives which had ordered Japan to exclude Taiwan, Korea, and other territories and their inhabitants from the victor's definition of "Japan" and "Japanese".

GHQ/SCAP silence on rights as "Japanese"

GHQ/SCAP's pudding -- concocted by Occupation officials, who apparently had not thought through the implications of their recipe -- was also flavored by other encouragements not to treat residuals -- those who declined to be "repatriated" -- as Japanese.

GHQ/SCAP directed Japan to permit women to vote in the first postwar election in April 1946. However, it raised no objection to the exclusion of prefectural inhabitants with registers in Chosen/Korea, Taiwan, and other territories it had excluded from its definition of "Japan". In other words, suffrage was not a right of Japanese nationality -- as legally defined within Japanese law (which would have included all exterior subjects) -- but a right of register affiliation with parts of Japan in which the election was permitted -- namely, "Japan" as defined by GHQ/SCAP directives.

GHQ/SCAP's extraterritorial logic

GHQ/SCAP -- holding that residuals, by choosing to remain in Japan, had agreed to remain subject to Japanese law -- refused to introduce extraterritorial measures for these exterior subjects. However, GHQ/SCAP's insistence that they be treated as "aliens" for the purposes of immigration and registration -- which permitted their treatment as aliens for purposes of suffrage and a few other matters -- was an exercise of its own extraterritorial authority over Japanese law.

In other words, exterior subjects who remained in "Japan" were objects of GHQ/SCAP's extraterritorial authority, which significantly contributed to their legal "alienation" under "Japanese" law. The 1952 ministerial notification, which denationalized all former exterior subjects, merely completed this alienation.

Stateless White Russians

In fact there were already several hundred stateless aliens in Japan, mainly "White Russians" which had been allowed to settle in the prefectures after the Russian revolution. Some of these emigress/refugees were under surveillance during the 1920s and 1930s as possible Soviet spies, but most appear to have integrated into Japanese society. After the war, many emigrated to other countries. Most of those who remained in Japan eventually naturalized.

This writer (Wetherall) was acquainted with one such man, who was born in Japan to a Japanese woman who had married a stateless White Russian man. He himself had became stateless and later naturalized.

Jacob Shapiro, the father of Hanako, who's nationality confirmation lawsuit was initiated one year before my daughter's case was filed in December 1978, by the same attorneys, was born stateless in Manchuria to White Russian refugees. He was educated bilingually in Japan after his parents migrated to Tokyo. He later naturalized in the United States, via Puerto Rico, but later returned to Japan as a representative of Columbia Pictures.

However, the all courts in Japan have held to the contrary -- to wit, it was within the powers of the Ministry of Justice to interpret the intent of Japan's nationality laws within the context the formal severance of Chosen from Japanese sovereignty effective from the enforcement of the San Francisco Peace Treaty from 28 April 1952.

While I sympathize with all individuals, everywhere, who have been personally inconvenienced by one-size-fits-all nationality and other affiliation and status laws and ordinances, I do not doubt the legal authority of the Ministry of Justice, representing the government of Japan, to do what it did.

After the emergence of two Germany states following World War II, both the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG, West Germany) and the German Democratic Republic (GDR, East Germany) continued to recognize each other's nationals as their own. GDR defined its own nationality in 1967, but in 1990, when GDR was absorbed into FRG, GDR nationals became nationals of a united FRG.


Chang and Hosokawa on Peace Treaty, Constitution, and Nationality Law

One of the more interesting as well as important legal issues in the debate over the legality of Japan's mass denationalization of former exterior subjects concerns the applicability of Japan's Constitution and Nationality Law to nationality changes concomitant with territorical cession.

Hosokawa's article on Japan comes immediately before Chang's article on Korea simply because the all articles are in ABC order of the English name of the country they pertain to. Yet reading what the two authors say about a 5 April 1961 Supreme Court decision -- which found no cause for ruling that Japan's denationalization of all former exterior subjects in 1952 was illegal -- it almost seems as if they were sparring in court -- Hosokawa arguing first, Chang following with a rebuttal.

Hosokawa on 5 April 1961 Supreme Court decision

In reference to the "reasoning" of the Japanese Government concerning the effects of Article 2(a) of the San Francisco Peace Treaty and Japanese municipal law on the status of former exterior subjects, Hosokawa says this -- citing a Ministry of Justice statement and passages from a 5 April 1961 Supreme Court decision which upheld the government's argument in the case of Kanda Asako v. The State, which sought to confirm that Kanda Asako was a Japanese national.

Hosokawa's introduction to, citation of, and commentary on the Supreme Court decision is long (Hosokawa 1990: 231-235). I have transcribed all of Hosokawa's citation (Ibid. 233-234), which he sources to Japanese Annual of International Law (JAIL), Number 8, 1964, page 153 et sequens (Hosokawa 232-235). Hosokawa's citation notes have been embedded in [square brackets]. Other information in [square brackets] as published. Information highlighted in purple is mine. All bold emphasis in any color is mine (Wetherall).

Hosokawa Kiyoshi on Kanda v. State, 1961

On the basis of this reasoning [that Article 2(a) of the San Francisco Peace Treaty and Japan's municipal laws are sufficient grounds for denationalizing all former exterior subjects] the Ministry of Justice [Note 248: Minji Ko No. 438. English translation in 8 JAIL (1964) pp. 173-174)] declared:

'(i) Korea and Taiwan shall cease to be territories of Japan upon the coming into force of the Peace Treaty, and thereby Koreans and Taiwanese [those who have the legal status of Koreans and Taiwanese under the municipal laws of Japan], including those residing in mainland Japan shall lose their Japanese nationality.

English version cited by Chang (Chang 1990: 299)

'(i) Korea and Formosa shall cease to be the territory of Japan upon the coming into force of the Treaty of Peace, and thereby Koreans and Formosans including those residing in the mainland of Japan shall lose their Japanese nationality . . .' [Note 180]

Note 180   Quoted by Yoshio Tameike, 'Nationality of Formosans and Koreans', 2 JAIL (1958) p. 55 at p. 57. Text of the Circular Note in English translation also in 8 JAIL (1964) p. 173.

(ii) Persons of Korean or Taiwanese origin shall continue to retain Japanese nationality, without taking any special proceedings, if they have cause for registration in the family register of mainland Japan by marriage to or adoption by a mainland Japanese, or by other acts constituting cause for change of legal status before the effective date of the Peace Treaty.

(iii) Persons of mainland Japanese orign shall lose Japanese nationality on the coming into force of the Peace Treaty, if they have cause for removal from the family register of mainland Japan by marrige or adoption by a Korean or a Taiwanese, or by other acts constituting cause for change of legal status before the effect of the Peace Treaty.'


Hosokawa fails to clarify that the above three items are the first three of five paragraphs of Article 1, the first of three articles of Civil Affairs A No. 438, Ministry of Justice Civil Affairs Bureau, Director-General Notification, which was promulgated on 19 April 1952 and enforced from 28 April 1958.

Translation problems

Typical of most English representations of Japanese legal material, the above translation does not accurately reflect the phrasing and terminology of the original circular. The terms highlighted in red are among several that mispresent the original text.

See Civil Affairs A No. 438 notification for my structural translation of the entire circular, which also concern Karafuto and Chishima (Article 2), and the Nansei Islands south of the 29th parallel of north latitude, the Ogasawara Islands, the Iou Islands and Minami-torishima (Article 1).

The following terms required special attention here.

Korea and Korean or Koreans should be Chosen (the legal name of the entity inquestion) and Chosenese (affiliates of the entity in question).

mainland Japan and mainland Japanese should be the Interior (Naichi, i.e., the prefectures) and Interiorites (Naichijin, i.e., prefectural affiliates).

There is no foundation for "their" in the expression "their Japanese nationality".

Persons of Korean or Taiwanese origin and Persons of mainland Japanese orign should be respectively Those who were a former Chosenese or a [former] Taiwanese and Those who were a former Interiorite [Naichijin].

The view of the Japanese Government has been upheld by several judgments of the Supreme Court [Note 249: Judgment of 5 April 1961, 15 Minshu 157; judgment of 4 June 1965, 19 Minshu 898. See also judgment of 5 December 1962, 16 Keishu 1661; judgment of 5 April 1963, 60 Saibanshu Minji 437. With regard to some differences in respect of Taiwanese, see infra, sub-Part 10.3.2.].

In its judgment of 5 April 1961 [Note 250: Minshu; full text is reproduced in English translation in 8 JAIL (1964) p. 153] in which the court took up the issue for the first time, the Supreme Court held that:


The lines highlighted in blue in the following passages, as cited by Hosokawa, from an English version of the decision in Japanese Annual of International Law (JAIL), were also cited by Chang from the same source, though with a couple of minor differences.

The JAIL English version has a number of serious translation problems. It is, however, considerably better than the English version translated by the Sir Ernest Satow Chair of Japanese Law (SESCOJL) at University of London, available through the Supreme Court of Japan website.

The following English version, as cited by Hosokawa from the Japanese Annual of International Law (JAIL), has a number of serious translation problems. It is, however, considerably better than the English version translated by the Sir Ernest Satow Chair of Japanese Law (SESCOJL) at University of London, available through the Supreme Court of Japan website.

See Kanda v. State, 1961: Interior woman who married Chosen man lost nationality for both the Japanese text and the two (SESCOJL and JAIL) English versions, and for an analysis of problems in both the Japanese text and in the English versions.

'1. . . .

Indeed, it is clear Article 10 of the Constitution provides that the conditions necessary for being a Japanese national shall be determined by law. However, the Nationality Law, which made this determination, makes no provision for changes in nationality pursuant to transfers of territory. Nevertheless, changes in nationality undoubtedly follow transfers of territory. In international law there is no conclusive principle concerning such transfers; rather the normal practice is to settle the matter expressly or impliedly by treaty in each case. Consequently, it is proper to construe that the Constitution purports to recognize that changes in nationality pursuant to transfers of territory are prescribed by treaty. Therefore, the allegation that Article 10 of the Constitution has been violated is without reason and the Nationality Law does not apply to this case.

. . .

2. The Peace Treaty with Japan provides in Article 2(a) that 'Japan, recognizing the independence of Korea, renounces all right, title and claim to Korea, including the islands of Quelpart, Port Hamilton and Dagelet.' Simply put, it provides that Japan recognizes the independence of Korea and renounces sovereignty over the territory belonging to Korea. Undeniably, this provision renounces sovereignty over the territory belonging to Korea (so-called 'territorial sovereignty') while at the same time also renouncing sovereignty over the people belonging to Korea (so-called 'personal sovereignty'). A State is composed of people, territory and a government as its essential requisites for existence, and if it lacks any one of these it cannot exist as a State. Recognition of the independence of Korea is recognition that Korea possesses the people, territory and government appertaining to it. Accordingly, by the Peace Treaty, Japan has renounced sovereignty over the people belonging to Korea.

This fact means that the people belonging to Korea have been divested of Japanese nationality. The people belonging to a country are the people who possess the nationality of that country and who are subject to the sovereignty of that country . . . [C]onversely, the persons who possess the nationality of a country are subject to its sovereignty. Thus, renunciation by Japan of sovereignty over the people belonging to Korea constitutes the divestment of these people of their Japanese nationality.

3. 'People belonging to Korea' is properly construed to mean persons who had legal status as Koreans under Japanese domestic law after the union of Japan and Korea. Persons who had legal status as Koreans were those who were subject to the application of the Chosen [Korean] Family Registration Order and those who were recorded in a Chosen Family Register. Prior to the union of Japan and Korea, a Civil Registration Law had existed in Korea and persons possessing Korean nationality were those who were recorded in the Civil Register. After the union, the Chosen Family Registration Order was enforced in place of the Civil Registration Law, and those persons who had been entered in the Civil Register came to be recorded in the Chosen Family Register. Quite differently proper Japanese were subject to the application of the Family Registration Law and were entered in the Family Register. In order clearly to distinguish it from the Chosen Family Register, there are those who call it the 'homeland Family Register'. In this way, not only did Koreans and Japanese clearly differ in family registration, but at the same time, they also differed in respect to the laws applicable to them.

A Japanese, who entered the house of a Korean by marriage or adoption, was entered in the Chosen Family Register and [struck] from the homeland Family Register in accordance with the provision in Article 3 paragraph 1 of the Common Affairs Law that '[a] person, who pursuant to the laws and orders of one area enters a family in that area, leaves a family in another area.' Such a person was treated by law as a Korean; laws and orders concerning Koreans were applied to him while laws and orders concerning Japanese were not applied. Viewed from the standpoint of the law alone, he was completely the same as a Korean -- he was none other than a Korean.

. . .

The upshot of these [considerations] is that persons who had legal status as Koreans were clearly differentiated under Japanese domestic law from persons who had legal status as Japanese. This distinction was consistently maintained following the union of Japan and Korea and remained unchanged during the occupation period. Under these legal circumstances the Peace Treaty was concluded and Japan recognized the independence of Korea, renounced sovereignty over the people belonging to Korea and divested them of their Japanese nationality. Viewed in this manner, it is proper to regard the persons deprived of Japanese nationality as those individuals who had held legal status under Japanese law as Koreans.'

It should also be noted here that the Potsdam Declaration Acceptance Law [Note 251: Law No. 126 of 1952, see supra, no. 142. (Note 142 omitted)], which was promulgated on the day that the Peace Treaty came into force, provided that those who lost Japanese nationality on the date that the Peace Treaty became effective were permitted to reside in Japan without obtaining the status of resident under the Immigration Act [Note 252: See supra, sub-Part 9.2.1. (supra note omitted)]. The underlying assumption of this Law was, of course, that Koreans residing in Japan would, in fact, lose Japanese nationality automatically on that date. The above views of the Japanese Government and the Supreme Court were supported by the overwhelming majority of scholars [Note 253: (note, omitted here, lists references to opinions of several Japanese scholars writing in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s].

For Japanese text and my translation of and commentary on Law No. 126 of 1952, see 1952 Foreign Ministry Potsdam Declaration Law under article entitled Nationality settlements: The alienation and control of Taiwanese and Chosenese.

Chang on 5 April 1961 Supreme Court decision

Chang cites two short passages from the 5 April 1961 decision of the Supreme Court of Japan in the case of Kanda v. State. Chang's citation notes have been embedded in [square brackets]. Other information in [square brackets] as published. Information highlighted in purple is mine. All bold emphasis in any color mine (Wetherall).

Chang Hyo Sang on Kanda v. State, 1961


Both of the passages cited below by Chang, from an English version of the decision in Japanese Annual of International Law (JAIL), were more fully cited by Hosokawa from the same source, though with a couple of minor differences.

The JAIL English version has a number of serious translation problems. It is, however, considerably better than the English version translated by the Sir Ernest Satow Chair of Japanese Law (SESCOJL) at University of London, available through the Supreme Court of Japan website.

See Kanda v. State, 1961: Interior woman who married Chosen man lost nationality for both the Japanese text and the two (SESCOJL and JAIL) English versions, and for an analysis of problems in both the Japanese text and in the English versions.

In a judgment delivered on 5 April 1961 [Note 191: Japan Supreme Court, in Asako Kanda v, 15 Saiko Saibansho Minji Hanreishu [Supreme Court Civil Reports] 657, translated in 8 JAIL (1964) p. 153 et seq.], held that:

. . . The Peace Treaty with Japan provides in Article 2(a) that . . . [s]imply said, it provides that Japan recognizes the independence of Korea and renounces sovereignty over the territory belonging to Korea. Undeniably, this provision renounces sovereignty over the territory belonging to Korea (so-called "territorial sovereignty") while at the same time also renouncing sovereignty over the people belonging to Korea (so-called "personal sovereignty").' [Note 192: Ibid., p. 157.]

With regard to the effect of territorial changes on nationality, the Supreme Court ruled:

'. . . [T]he Nationality Law . . . makes no provision for changes in nationality pursuant to alterations in territory. Nevertheless, there is no room to [sic doubt that a change in nationality is provided by an alteration in territory. In international law there is no conclusive principle concerning such changes: rather the normal practice is to settle the matter expressly or imipliedly by treaty in each case. Consequenty, it is proper to construe that [Art. 10 of] the Constitution purports to recognize that changes in nationality pursuant to alterations in territory are prescribed by treaty . . .' [Note 193: Ibid., p. 156.]

The Japanese Constitution referred to was already effective at the date of issue of the Circular Notice, and it is provided in Article 10 of the Constitution that the conditions for being a Japanese national shall be determined by law. In the light of this, the denationalization measures taken by way of a mere administrative circular notice of the Ministry of Justice is certainly contrary to the very provision of the Japanese Constitution. Only those regulations or decrees which do not violate the provisions of the law or of the Constitution are valid.

In the above decision of 5 April 1961, the Japanese Supreme Court construed the constitutional clause to the effect that the provision of Article 10 of the Constitution allows the changes of nationality consequent to territorial changes to be prescribed by treaties, and that, '[t]herefore, the allegation that Article 10 of the Constitution has been violated is without reason and the Nationality Law does not apply to this case.' [Note 194: Ibid.]

It is submitted that quite the opposite is true. The decision did not take into account the absence of any express provision in the treaty with regard to the nationality of Korean residents in Japan. Therefore, the contention that the Circular Notice, being issued to implement Article 2(a) of the Peace Treaty, does not vioalte Article 10 of the Constitution is not tenable.

To be continued.

The [1947] Japanese Constitution referred to was already effective at the date of issue of the [1952] Circular Notice, and it is provided in Article 10 of that Constitution that the conditions for being a Japanese national shall be determined by law. In the light of this, the denationalization measures taken by way of a mere administrative circular notice of the Ministry of Justice is certainly contrary to the very provision of the Japanese Constitution. Only those regulations or decrees which do not violate the provisions of the law or of the Constitution are valid.

In the above decision of 5 April 1961, the Japanese Supreme Court construed the constitution clause to the effec that the provision of Article 10 of the Constitution allows the changes of nationality consequent to territorial changes to be prescribed by treaties, and that, '[t]herefore, the allegation that Article 10 of the Constitution has been violated is without reason and the Nationality Law does not apply to the case.

It is submitted that quite the opposite is true. The decision did not take into account the absence of any express provision in the treaty with regard to the nationality of Korean residents in Japan. Therefore, the contention that the Circular Notice, being issued to implement Article 2(a) of the Peace Treaty, does not violate Article 10 of the Constitution is not tenable.

The decision of the Supreme Court did not elaborate on the question as to whether the renunciation of territorial sovereighty and the ensuing renunciation of personal sovereignty brings about ipso facto change, or loss, of nationality. It was simply held to mean exactly that loss.

To be continued.


Korea and Chosen publications

By the time Korea was joined to Japan as Chosen, Japan had already replicated a fraternal (rather than identical) twin of its prefectural bureaucracy on the peninsula. Unlike Taiwan, where Japan had to start from practically scratch, Japan had been deeply involved in Korea's governmental affairs for many years.

By 1910, thousands of Japanese officials were on the peninsula, busily carrying out the Residency-General's mission of improving public security and safety, and otherwise imposing Japanese-style law and order on the peninsula, in the name of defending the Empire of Korea miltarily and representing the country in its foreign affairs. Japanese officials were aided by legions of Koreans who, if not necessarily happy about Japan's presence in their country, were willing to assist RGK.

Not a few Koreans even aided and abetted Japan's annexation of Korea, and welcomed and assisted the transformation of the Residency-General of Korea (RGK) into the Government-General of Chosen (GGC). In its transformation, RGK passed all its administrative genes on to GGC, which also inherited RGK's organizational momentum.

GGC had merely to get used to the idea that the Empire of Korea was now Chosen -- not a foreign protectorate of Japan, but an integral part of Japan. For the most part, it was merely a matter for changing words on official documents.

GGC also had to get used to the idea that -- subjects of the Empire of Korea were now subjects of the Empire of Japan -- Japanese, albeit of Chosenese regionality. This, too, was merely a matter of new terminology -- as under Japan's protectorship and diplomatic proxy, Koreans were already quasi-subjects of Japan. They were not, in any case, "aliens" in the view of RGK census takers.

In other words, all the Chosen Government-General had to do was shift the administrative gears it had inherited from the Korea Residency-General -- from the treatment of Korea as a state which had entrusted part of its sovereignty to Japan -- to the treatment of Chosen as part of Japan's sovereign territory. For GGC's drivers -- the officials posted from the Interior, as well as the Chosenese who shared their cause -- it was like pulling onto a freeway from a highway. They would no longer have to slow for intersections or stop at lights.

The change in terminology seen in the transition from RGK to CCG publications clearly reflects the letter and spirit of the change from Korea to Chosen.


Korea Residency-General statistics

The Residency-General of Korea was established to facilitate the 1905 treaty in which Korea delegated the conduct of its foreign affairs to Japan. Korea had become a protectorate of Japan the previous year.

Either condition, but especially loss of diplomatic independence, is cause for a state to lose its full legal compentency in the eyes of other states. However, even before the Empire of Korea became a protectorate of Japan, it was not an entirely competent state, as it had inherited the extraterritorial treaties its Yi dynasty predecessor had signed with a number of other countries, including Japan.

The following annual reports contain what the Residency-General of Korea wanted to publicize about its operations in Korea. Here I will focus on the terminology related to population.

Korea administrative annual reports (1906-1909)

[ Kankoku shisei nenpō ]

Three volumes with this or an equivalent title cover the four years 1906-1909. Scans of all three volumes are available from the National Diet Library Digital Archive Portal (PORTA) (国立国会図書館デジタルアーカイブポータル).

The volumes are B5 in size and each has from a few to several hundred pages. The publishers and places of publication suggest the growth of Japan's governmental infrastructure in Korea.

The first two volumes were published by RGK before the 1910 annexation. The first was printed in Tokyo, the second by the RGK's Printing Bureau in Yongsan. The third was published by GGC after the annexation and was printed by it's Printing Bureau, presumably the Yongsan facility.

The following particulars are based on cover pages and colophons. [Brackets] reflect reconstructed particulars. When considering the printing and publishing dates, keep in mind that the treaty in which the Empire of Korea ceded itself to the Empire of Japan was signed on 22 August 1910 and came into force on 29 August, the date the ceded entity was formally changed from "Korea" (韓国) to "Chosen" (朝鮮).

Volume 1

[ 第一次 ] [ 韓国施政年報 ] [ 明治三十九年 / 明治四十年 ]
[ 1st Korea administrative annual report, 1906-1907 ]

Printed 23 December 1908 (Meiji 42-12-23)
Published 25 December 1908 (Meiji 42-12-25)
[Published by] Resident-General Secretariate (統監官房)
Printed by Takashima Kōz&#ddd; (高島幸三) at Takashima printing [moveable plate (letterpress) place] (高島活版所) in Kyobashi-ku of Tokyo city (東京市京橋区)

Apparently the cover of NDL's copy of Volume 1 did not survive, as its scans begin with an the introduction cum egend (凡例). The note observes that the volume covers matters from the start of the Korea Residency-General (韓国統監府) in 1896 (Meiji 39) to the end of 1897 (Meiji 40).

The legend includes a list of the most recent Japanese imperial reign years (Meiji 37-39) and equivalents in Korean imperial reign years (Kwangmu 8-10, 光武, J Kōbu) and western calendar years (1904-1906). The Kwangmu reign year was adopted on 16 August 1897, shortly before the formal name of the country changed in October the same year to "Empire of Korea" (大韓帝国), thus ending the Yi dynasty.

Resident imperial subjects

Chapter 16 of Volume 1 concerns facilities for "resident imperial people [affiliates]" (居留帝国民). The topic of the first sentence is "imperial subjects in Korea" (在韓帝国臣民). The sentence states that such people "dramatically" increased after the Sino-Japanese War, and again "greatly" increased before and after the Russo-Japanese War (page 389).

This chapter ends the main part of the volume. Volumes 2 and 3 also conclude with updates about facilities for imperial subjects -- meaning Japanese. Korea has not yet become the Japanese territory of Chosen. Koreans are not yet Japanese imperial subjects of Chosenese territoriality.

Volume 2

第二次 韓国施政年報 明治四十一年 / 統監府
[ 2nd Korea administrative annual report, 1908
/ Residency-General ]

Printed 12 April 1910 (Meiji 43-4-12)
Published 15 April 1910 (Meiji 43-4-15)
[Published by] Residency-General (統監府)
[Printed in] Ryūsan (龍山 K Yongsan)
Printed by Printing bureau (印刷局)


Yongsan (龍山 J Ryūsan) -- meaning "dragon mountain" -- was a very strategic hill on the northern bank of the Han river (漢江) in Hansŏng (漢城 J Kanjō), the Sinified name Seoul. During the Imo (Jingo) Incident (壬午事変) of 1882, the hill was occupied by Chinese troops. In 1904, during the Russo-Japanese War, Japan garrisoned some of its troops there, and in time expanded the area into a large military base.

The Japanese facilities were taken over by the US Army in 1945 when it occupied the southern half of the peninsula after World War II. Yongsan is still the site of a large and controversial US military base, which is scheduled for relocation by 2013.

On 17 November 1905, Japan and Korea signed the treaty that allowed Japan to represent Korea's diplomatic interests. Imperial Ordinance No. 240, promulgated on 23 November 1905, ordered -- pursuant to this treaty -- the establishment of a Residency-General in Keijō and "agencies for managing matters" (理事庁) in Keijō and a number of other Korean cities. The Residency-General and agency system (統監府及理事庁官制) was established by the promulgation on 21 December 1905 of Imperial Oridinance No. 267.

There had obviously been a lot of planning for the transition from the Residency-General to the Government-General before the annexation. GGC Decree No. 7, promulgated on and enforced from 30 September 1910, officially changed the name of the "Seoul" from Kanjō-fu (漢城府) to Keijō-fu (京城府).

Note on "-fu"

Note that "-fu" (府) is used in various ways. It means, essentially, an official warehouse of somekind. By extension came to mean a seat or headquarters or office of government. By further extension it also came to mean an urban administrative entity, varying in size from a "city" to a "prefecture".

In the names of Residency-General and Government-General "-fu" meant a seat of government. In the names of municipal entities in Korea and Chosen, "-fu" (府) meant an especially large city that was the seat of a district. In the Interior (prefectures) of Japan, "-fu" used for "urban prefectures" (Tokyo-fu, Kyoto-fu, Osaka-fu).

The most common term for "government" is "seifu" (政府) meaning ""administrative seat". For many years, the most general administrative organ of the Japanese government was called "Sōrifu" (総理府) meaning "general management [control] office [headquarters]". And the Tokugawa government was commonly referred to as the "bakufu" (幕府) -- commonly translated "tent government" in English, though the "tent" (幕 baku) consisted of bunting that was hung, curtain-like from pole to pole, around a field headquarters.

Volume 3

第三次 [韓国] 施政年報 明治四十二年 / 朝鮮総督府
[ 3rd Korea administrative annual report, 1909
/ Chosen Government General ]

Printed 17 March 1911 (Meiji 44-3-17)
Published 20 March 1911 (Meiji 44-13-20)
[Published by] Chosen Government-General (朝鮮総督府)
[Printed in Chosen]
Printed by Chosen Government-General Printing Bureau (朝鮮総督府印刷局)

Korea's population

Part 5 of Chapter 1 concerns "human mouths" or "population" (人口 jinō). Statistics are prefaced by an overview of "Korea's population register affairs [administration]" (韓国の民籍事務 Kankoku no minseki jimu).

The preface observes that the Population Register Law (民籍法 Minsekihō) was promulgated by Law No. 8 of March 1909 (Meiji 42-3). The law became the foundation for "population registration surveys" (民籍調査). Kenpei (憲兵) and Keisatsukan (警察官) would carry out "[local] site surveys of population registers" (民籍の実地調査) (pages 19-20).

A small table headed "Korea doors-mouths [households-heads]" or "Korea's population" (韓国戸口) shows numbers of households, and male, female, and total populations, by province and for all of Korea. In the text, there is talk of the "people" (人民 jinmin) and changes of their "status" (身分 mibun) in a register.

The datum for Korea's population is 10 May 1910 (Meiji 43-5-10). There were then a total of 12,934,282 people in the country (pages 20-21).

Korea's population is called the "Native Population" in tables published in The Third Annual Report on Reforms and Progress in Korea (1909-10) (Compiled by the Government General of Chosen, Seoul, December 1910, pages 15 and 177).

For more about the the 10 May 1910 census, and earlier attempts to estimate Korea's population, see the "Census" link on Affiliation and status in Korea: 1909 Population Register Law and enforcement regulations.

For an example of how examples of how statistics were reported by the Residency-General of Korea (RGK) and the Government-General of Chosen (GGC) before and after the annexation, see the "Korea and Chosen publications" section of Chosen: The legal integration of Korea.

"Japanese and alien" populations

Another table is headed "Resident Japanese and Alien mouths [heads]" (在住日本人及外国人口), which shows "numbers of mouths [heads] of Japanese and aliens in Korea" (韓国ニ於ケル日本人及外国人ノ口数).

The datum for the "Japanese and alien" populations is as of the last day of December 1909 (Meiji 42). There were then 156,574 such people, of whom 146,147 Japanese (79,947 men, 66,200 women) and 9,568 Chinese (9,163 men, 405 women). Many other nationalities of aliens are represented by much small numbers. The top five are US (493), Britain (159), France (96 ), Germany (45), and Russia (18).

The Japanese population appears to be sexually fairly well balanced. However, a note states that "Japanese military personnel stationed in Korea are not included in the numbers of Japanese" (pages 22-23).

The Chinese population is predominantely male. The American, British, and German populations have nearly as many females as males. The French population is largely male, there are more Australian and Canadian women than men.

The Third Annual Report on Reforms and Progress in Korea (1909-10) reports the same figures as "The number of Japanese and Japanese residing in Korea at the end of December 1909". The breakdown is by "Nationalities" and "Number of Population" by male, female, and total (3rd Report, page 16, see above for particulars).


Chosen Government-General statistics


Chosen Government-General statistical annual reports (1910-1924)

[ Chōsen Sōtokufu tōkei nenpō ]

The first 15 annual reports compiled in the name of the Chosen Government-General are available from the National Diet Library Digital Archive Portal (PORTA) (国立国会図書館デジタルアーカイブポータル). All volumes were published by the Chosen Governor-General Secretariat, General affairs bureau, Printing office (朝鮮総督官房総務局印刷所)

The reports, covering the period 1910 (Meiji 43) to 1924 (Taisho 13), consist of 53 volumes. Reports for each of the first ten years, 1910-1919, are contained in single volumes. Reports for each the next two years, 1920-1921, are contained in 8 volumes (編). Reports for each of the last three years, 1922-1924, are also contained 8 numbered volumes, but Volume 3 has two parts (其ノ1、其ノ2).

The volumes are B5 in size. The 1910 volume ran over 900 pages. The thickness of the volumes, and the need for additional pages, led to breaking up the annual report into several smaller volumes.

The reports were typically published two years after their datum year. The 1910 (Meiji 43) statistics were published in December 1912 (Taisho 1-12). The 1924 (Taisho 13) volumes were published in 1926 (Taisho 15).

Chosen demographic statistics

The "door mouth" (戸口 kokō) or "population" breakdown is by "region" (地方 chihō) within Chosen, and by affiliation of "family register" (戸籍 koseki) of the household or individual. The affiliation categories are as follows.

内地人 Naichijin > Interiorites
朝鮮人 Chōsenjin > Chosenese
外国人 Gaikokujin > Aliens
 合計 Gōkei > Total

To be continued.

1924 passport and foreign travel statistics

The 1924 volumes were published by the "Chosen printing company" (朝鮮印刷株式会社) in the Keijo (京城府 Keijō-fu) [Seoul], the seat of the Chosen Government-General as well as the capital city of the province of Keiki-dō (京畿道).

The data in the "door mouth" (戸口) section in Volume 1 of the 8 [9] volumes covering 1924 show cross tabulations for numerous cohorts. At the end of a long list of demographic and vitat statistics come the following two tables of data.

Table 39 外國旅劵下付數
[ Number of passports issued [for travel to] foreign countries ]

Table 40 海外渡航者種類別
[ People voyaging [travelling] overseas by type ]

Both tables show annual data from 1911 (Meiji 44) through 1924 (Taisho 13). For each year, the number of passports issued is broken down by the Chosen province in which the passport was issued, and the number of people who travelled abroad from Chosen is broken down into 12 purposes of travel.

The 1924 data for both tables are further broken down by place of destination -- Russia (露西亜), China (支那), Various states of Europe (欧州各国), United States of [North] America (北米合衆国), Hawaii (布哇), Hongkong (香港), Singapore (新嘉城), Others, Total.

The number of passports issued and the number of travellers are similar but not identical. A note explains that some passports were issued for multiple destinations and some bore multiple names.

The vast majority of passports were issued in Kankyō-hokudō (咸鏡北道 Hamgyŏng-bukdo), the northernmost region of the peninsula, bordering Russia and (then) Manchuria -- until 1924. Between 1911 and 1923, no fewer than 2,000 and once nearly 6,000 passports had been issued in the region, compared with only a few to several hundred for all other regions combined.

In 1911 (Meiji 44), 2,636 passports were issued -- 2,216 in Kankyō-hokudō. 2,882 Japanese travelled abroad from Chosen -- 313 Interiorites and 2,569 Chosenese.

In 1916 (Meiji 6), passport issue peaked at 6,835 -- 5,982 from Kankyō-hokudō. Total travellers also peaked at 6,984 -- 286 Interiorites and 6,698 Chosenese.

By 1923 the numbers of passports issued and travellers had fallen to the 1911 level.

In 1924, only 210 passports were issued -- of which only 5 were issued in Kankyō-hokudō. Only 293 people travelled abroad -- 105 Interiorites and 188 Chosenese. Of the 10 passports for Russia, only 2 were issued in Kankyō-hokudō. Of the 10 travelers to Russia, 8 were Interiorites and 2 were Chosenese.

Data for years prior to 1924 show that the vast majority of the passports holders travelled to Russia from Kankyō-hokudō, followed by Kannan-hokudō immediately to the south along the Japan [East] Sea. A note states that travellers to Russia are going mostly to the Russian province of Primorski (露領沿海州地方).