• Japan's Meiji Industrial Revolution
  • Sites of Distorted Facts and Concealed Truth

Japan's Meiji Industrial Revolution

Sites of Distorted Facts and Concealed Truth

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Moon Gap-jin | Mobilized to a coal mine on the island of Sakhalin in 1941, then reassigned to Takashima in 1944

Moon Gap-jin was born in Dalseong-gun County, Gyeongsangbuk-do Province in 1918. After growing up in Daegu and marrying at the age of 25, he accepted a recruitment which took him to Sakhalin. Besides the fact that he would be going to Karafuto (Sakhalin), he did not know that he would be going to a coal mine, nor what the contract deadline or wages would be. Upon arriving in Sakhalin, he regretted having gone: it turned out that the job was digging coal in a pit and possibly life threatening at any time. He worked two shifts, both day and night. Those who lucked out worked in picking out the coal outside the mine, while the rest were given the dangerous task of directly digging it out from inside the pit. The company instructed him to call his family over, and his wife joined him in Sakhalin. The monthly distribution of food to the family was a quantity that only lasted for 25 days. In the spring of 1944, he was conscripted and assigned to Hashima. There, the working and food conditions were even worse than in Sakhalin. Fortunately, his wife left Sakhalin and came to Hashima and they did not end up separated. Hearing the stories about the Battle of Okinawa and plans to defend the Japanese mainland, he remembered the fear among the people at Hashima that almost drove them insane that they would be caught and killed by the US military on an island they were unable to escape from.

- A Tough Farewell: Fact-finding Oral Records on Double Conscription on Sakhalin (original Korean title: 지독한 이별, 사할린 이중징용 진상조사 구술기록), Fact-finding Committee on Damages from Forced Mobilization under Japanese Occupation, 2007, pp. 349~393



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