What military role did Koreans play within the Japanese armed forces?

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Sid Guttridge
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Joined: 12 Jun 2008 11:19

What military role did Koreans play within the Japanese armed forces?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 07 Jun 2017 12:22

Apparently, ".....370,000 Koreans were used as soldiers and civilian employees in the military....." by the Japanese.

I know Koreans were used to guard POWs, but what other military activity did they undertake?

Did the Japanese have any Korean military units, or were Koreans dispersed as auxiliaries through the wider Japanese forces?

The Japanese began to train nationalists from the south-east Asian colonies of European powers as officers during the war, but did they also train Korean officers, or was this too much of a threat to their own colonization of Korea?

Where did the Koreans serve and were any in combat?

If so, how did they perform?

Were any Koreans used by the Japanese Navy and Air Force, or were they restricted to the Army?

Many thanks,

An inquisitive Sid.

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Dr Eisvogel
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Location: Croatia

Re: What military role did Koreans play within the Japanese armed forces?

Post by Dr Eisvogel » 07 Jun 2017 22:03

Sid Guttridge wrote:Apparently, ".....370,000 Koreans were used as soldiers and civilian employees in the military....." by the Japanese.

I know Koreans were used to guard POWs, but what other military activity did they undertake?

Did the Japanese have any Korean military units, or were Koreans dispersed as auxiliaries through the wider Japanese forces?

The Japanese began to train nationalists from the south-east Asian colonies of European powers as officers during the war, but did they also train Korean officers, or was this too much of a threat to their own colonization of Korea?

Where did the Koreans serve and were any in combat?

If so, how did they perform?

Were any Koreans used by the Japanese Navy and Air Force, or were they restricted to the Army?

Many thanks,

An inquisitive Sid.
Dear Mr. Guuttridge,

in the dissertation defended by Lt. Gen. Chintae So: "Tethered Falcon: The South Korean Air Force 1946-1956" in 1996, there is a prosopography of Korean members of Japanese Air Force who were the founders of ROKAF from page 25 onward.

There was a group of nine graduates of Japanese Military Academies. Their ranks were lieutenants and captains. One was bombardier, three mechanics and six pilots with experience in WWII.

The Koreans who were founders of ROKAF, and who served as Japanese pilots:

Park Bom-Jip = Class No. 52 (year 1937)

Kim Chung-Yul = Class No. 54

Kim Chang-Kyu = Class No. 55

Park Won-Suk = Class No. 56

Shin Sang-Chul = Class No. 56

Chang Chi-Ryang = Class No. 60

Check the footnote 19.

Also there were some 40 Korean pilots with the NCO ranks in Japanese Air Force from Japanese Aviation Boy Cadet Programme, who joined ROKAF along with 70 mechanics from the same programme.

Best regards,
Eisvogel

bertamingo
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Re: What military role did Koreans play within the Japanese armed forces?

Post by bertamingo » 08 Jun 2017 02:20

In addition to above, there were ethnic Korean units serving in both China and the Pacific. In China, the Koreans were mainly used as policemen, armed with batons etc. In the Pacific, the Koreans were mainly used as unarmed contruction troops initially, but inevitably got involved in direct combat in the island sieges of the second half of the war.

One of IJA's Korean soldiers was captured by the Soviets during the border skirmish in Inner Mongolia, then pressed into the Red Army, caught by the invading Germans and pressed into Wehrmacht, then finally got captured again on the beach of Normandy by the GIs, quite a story. :D

Orwell1984
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Re: What military role did Koreans play within the Japanese armed forces?

Post by Orwell1984 » 08 Jun 2017 02:31

Two publications to consider are the following:
Korean Gakuhei: My Life in the Japanese Army
https://www.amazon.com/Korean-Gakuhei-L ... B001F0RPOS

and
Fighting for the Enemy
Koreans in Japan's War, 1937-1945
http://www.washington.edu/uwpress/searc ... ALFIG.html

the best overall study in English

Also see
https://www.pacificwrecks.com/people/ve ... chang.html
https://www.pacificwrecks.com/provinces/png_kovoy.html

Sid Guttridge
Member
Posts: 6546
Joined: 12 Jun 2008 11:19

Re: What military role did Koreans play within the Japanese armed forces?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 08 Jun 2017 09:54

Hi Guys,

Many thanks for your quick and informed responses.

It gives me much to follow up, and I will.

Thanks again,

Sid.

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