Go to Japanese Page

Returning to Home after the War

August 15, 1945 was the day Japan finaly lost the war, and to Korean people,
that was the day their country was finaly released from the Japanese
occupation. The most of the Korean survivors in Japan rushed to harbors such
as Shimonoseki or Senzaki to return to Korea.

We would like to introduce the dairy of one of those Koreans, Chue Yon-Sun who
lived in Hikimi, Shimane among many other Koreans, and became
Hibakusha because of the labor draft into a mechanical factory of Chuugoku
Electric Supply in Ohzu, Hiroshima.*

"As the Japan lost the war, we started to be so scared of the rumor that had
been spreaded around our village at that time, saying "Koreans should die".
My mother say "Let's return to Korea right away". Although our neighbors
kindly told us to stay in the village, we could not overcome the fear.
As Father rented a truck, we left the village early in the morning. aheading
Shimonoseki. I hided between the luggages covered by a sheet of cloth during
the trip.
When we arrived Shimonoseki, the harbor was already packed by Korean people
waiting for a ride. We had no idea how soon we could leave.
We waited for three months, and meanwhile, my sister who was only two years
old, died by diphtheria.
Finally in Desember, we could rode in a small boat from Senzaki in Yamaguchi
to got in a bigger ferryboat in the offing. Since the ferryboat could only
carry people, my father decided not to go with us, waiting for an illegal
boat to carry our belongings with him.
As we arrived Pusan, we could change Japanese currency to Koreans up to
10000 yen per person. But we spent our money to buy foods waiting for my
father, and when he arrived, we had no money left.
Later, I heard that most of Koreans who left Japan had heard the same rumor,
"Kreans should die".
I think the Japanese Government intentionally made up such a rumor to kick
us out.

(From "Toward Hiroshima.....A diary of Korean Hibakusha)

Many Korean Hibakusha survived such surfferings to get home after the A-bomb
However, people who were lucky enough to have their own houses, lands, and
familes they could depend on there, were very few. Many of them had to start
their lives from nothing. In addition, the aftereffects of the atomic bombs
were slowly invading their bodies.
At that time in Korea, people thought they had Hansen's disease or some sort
of simmilar infecious disease since the aftereffect of radiation
was not commonly known, whch, in any ways, gave people a good reason for
discrimination against them. And the discrimination did not stop there.
Those of who were born in Japan or went Japan when they were very young,
could not speak the same languadge because of the Japanese education.

Lee Il-Su, who lives in Pusan is one of them.
She was born in Ohtake, Hiroshima on March 4th, 1930 and has become Hibakusha
near Ohsu bridge when she was 14 and returned to Korea on Desember 20, 1945.
However, she still speaks fluent Japanese.
"I had so much trouble learning Korean pronunciation because of my Japanese
accent", she says, "I tried to learn things from fifth grade there. But my
classmates gave me a hard time because I was the only one who was older than
others, and did not speak Korean. I could not bear with that no more than
two weeks. And even now, people still say, "Hey, that guy is from Japan." I
heard that when I was talking in a coffee shop. That made me feel so
mortified. I still regret the time when I was young. That was supporsed be
the best time in my life."

In 1950, Korean War started.
And that gave them a even harder time.
Some faced family separations, other lost their properties.
One of them told us he could not recover from the financial loss for several
Meanwhile, Japan enjoyed the war boom and that became a good step for their
postwar recovery.**

*At that time, it was the nation's policy to draft students and give them
credits for war-related traininigs or labors. And she went Hiroshima as one
of those students led by a teacher of Masuda Women's High School.
(In old day's, Woman's High School is likely a College now)

**However, Japan had never had positive atittude towards nuclear weapons
In 1954, Japanese ship, Fukuryu-maru No.5 was exposed to radiation caused by
H-bomb experiment of United State at the Bikini atolls, and the cheif
engineer of the ship, Aikichi Kubo died by the effect.
That gave raise to big movements of anti-nuclear and Hibakusha support in
Japan followed by the establishments of Medical Law in 1957 and Special
Treatment Plan in 1968 for the domestic victims as a result.

Further information about the problems of South Korean Atomic Bomb Victims.

Association of Citizens for Supporting South
Korean Atomic Bomb Victims.