In sifting through some earlier KCNA reports from Pyongyang, I came across this somewhat fascinating defense of Korean womanhood by the North Korean press, a story which also functions as a means of denouncing Japan and telling the Megumi lobby to, as George H.W. Bush once told a protester, “sit down and shut up.” This goes way beyond the standard appeals to the colonial period to pose North Korea as a victim of Japanese depredations:
Japan’s Abduction of Koreans during Imjin Patriotic War Revealed
Pyongyang, June 18 (KCNA) — The Korean people will never forget the abduction crimes committed by Japan through history but certainly force it to pay for them, says Rodong Sinmun Thursday in a signed article.
The Japanese reactionaries are frantically kicking up anti-DPRK racket under the pretext of “abduction issue”, but, in fact, they are neither entitled to talk about it nor in a position to do so, the article notes, and goes on:
It is the DPRK which is entitled to call Japan to account for the abduction of Koreans. As far as the abduction issue is concerned, Japan is an assailant whereas the DPRK a victim.
The 1592-1598 Imjin Patriotic War evidently proved that Japan is the worst abductor in history.
The Japanese Samurais who intruded into Korea under the command of Hideyoshi Toyotomi, head of a team for invasion of Korea, at that time, indiscriminately killed innocent Koreans and forcibly walked away or kidnapped a great number of people and took them to Japan. They forced those Koreans to do such hard labor as delivery of loads, building of forts, road pavement, digging waterway and reclamation of barren land, brutally beating them with clubs after tying up their necks with ropes and putting fetters around their ankles.
After the end of the war ceramic culture called “Satsumayaki”, “Aritayaki”, “Imariyaki”, “Karatsuyaki”, etc. developed in areas of southwestern Japan. They all were products of hard labor done by Korean ceramic workers who were kidnapped and forcibly taken to Japan.
The Samurais kidnapped not only ceramic workers but also Confucian scholars, monks, doctors, painters, architects and many technical personnel in the field of type-casting, printing, embroidery and textile to force them into slave labor in Japan.
They even sold off those Koreans to other countries.
The most hideous atrocity perpetrated by the Samurais of Japan during the war was that they kidnapped a large number of Korean women and forced them into sexual slavery.
The tomb of Korean women in Takamatsu, Shigoku, at present bespeaks well their miserable situation and fate and indicts before the world the Japanese Samurais for their barbarity and moral vulgarity.
In closing, let me whole-heartedly recommend the book by Jing Tsu, Failure, Nationalism, and Literature (Stanford, 2003) for applicable sentences like “The embrace of failure belies not a mentality of submission but a strategy of negotiation” (p. 21) and “At the core of nationalism lies a perpetually incitable sense of injury” (p. 24).
Peter Hays Gries has made bank on his superbly-timed (and superbly-written) 2005 book China’s New Nationalism, yet, gazing over for similar literature on North Korea, it seems we have a hole in the literature. As for essential books that do not yet exist, North Korea’s Wounded Nationalism, anyone?
Perhaps turning back to expansive Koguryo heals all wounds.