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Investigating the Ukishima-maru Incident in Occupied Japan: Survivor Testimonies and Related Documents

October 1, 2021
Volume 19 | Issue 19 | Number 2
Article ID 5638

 

Abstract: This article reproduces documents related to an aborted SCAP war crime investigation into the Ukishima-maru incident conducted during the Allied occupation of Japan. The incident involved the sinking of a repatriation vessel (the Ukishima-maru) on 24 August 1945 after it apparently struck a mine in Maizuru Bay, causing hundreds if not thousands of deaths among the Korean forced laborers aboard the vessel. The documents include the testimonies of Korean survivors (submitted in Japanese and translated into English by SCAP officers) which supported the claim that the incident was planned by the Japanese authorities. Though the investigation was eventually terminated by SCAP which dismissed the testimonies as “hearsay account[s]”, the documents are a useful window into the tense situation faced by Koreans in Japan during the immediate postwar years and cast light on the nature and quality of SCAP efforts to pursue justice in its investigation.

Keywords: repatriation, postwar Japan, SCAP, Koreans in Japan, Maizuru, Aomori, forced labour, Ukishima-maru

 

The Ukishima-maru Incident and War Crime Investigation

At approximately 5:20 p.m. on 24 August 1945 a transportation vessel requisitioned for military use named the Ukishima-maru sank in the vicinity of Shimosabaka in Maizuru Bay, Kyoto prefecture, having apparently struck a mine. The immediate explosion and subsequent sinking of the vessel produced an official death toll of 549—of which 524 were Korean labourers and their families, and 25 were Japanese military personnel. This incident has become known as the “Ukishima-maru incident” (Ukishima-maru jiken) after the vessel that sank. Though it long remained a largely forgotten episode, it has recently become the subject of films and documentaries—the interest perhaps prompted by a renewed public and diplomatic controversy surrounding coerced Korean wartime labour and comfort women.

 



Figure 1: A repatriation vessel passes the wreck of the Ukishima-maru

 

The Ukishima-maru

The Ukishima-maru initially departed from Ōminato naval base in a remote corner of Aomori prefecture in the late evening of 22 August 1945, and, bound for Pusan (Korea), it aimed to repatriate thousands of Koreans. These Koreans were mostly conscripted labourers who had been mobilized and forced to work on military infrastructure projects as Japan rushed to fortify the Shimokita peninsula in anticipation of an Allied invasion. The official figures quoted for those on board the Ukishima-maru upon departure are 3,735 Korean passengers and 250 Japanese personnel (Shinada 2008, 29; Shimokita no Shōgen wo Hakkan suru Kai 1992, 30-33). Official numbers, though hotly contested by the survivors’ accounts below, suggest that the vast majority of those on board were able to survive the incident either by swimming to shore or through the rescue efforts of the residents of a nearby fishing village. The survivors were either hospitalized or temporarily housed in military facilities in Maizuru. Around 900 were sent on to Senzaki (Yamaguchi Prefecture) in September where they boarded other repatriation ships bound for Pusan and spread news of the incident in Korea. Though no immediate repercussions of the incident were felt in Japan, in Korea rumours of a Japanese conspiracy spread by repatriated survivors worsened the situation for Japanese settlers who were still in Korea awaiting repatriation (Choi 2021, 11; Kim 1984, 257). In this way, the Ukishima-maru incident demonstrates the mutual effect of efforts to repatriate Japanese and Koreans, even though it occurred prior to the commencement of official repatriation programmes which saw approximately 1.2 million (mostly Koreans) deported from and 6.1 million Japanese returned to Japan between 1945 and 1958 (Watt 2009, 71).

The remaining survivors of the incident stayed in Japan, as did an estimated 600,000 Koreans (Caprio and Yu 2009, 28), at least for the time being, perhaps fearful of making another attempt at repatriation. Among those who remained in Japan were the three individuals whose testimonies (reproduced below this brief introductory text) were submitted as part of a war crimes charge alleging the “deliberate sinking by Japanese officials of a vessel [the Ukishima-maru] containing several thousand Koreans.” The charge was lodged at the Hirosaki branch of the Supreme Command of the Allied Powers (SCAP) in early December 1945 by Son Il of the Aomori Regional Office of the Korean Association. Though Son Il himself was not a survivor of incident he had been informed of it by a handful of survivors who returned to Aomori Prefecture in the weeks and months following the incident. The SCAP officers who received Son Il’s charge encouraged him to gather evidence in order to support his claims. Son Il returned later in the month and submitted three testimonies in Japanese. These were promptly translated into English and forwarded to the Investigation Division of the Legal Section (hereafter ‘LS’) of SCAP GHQ which found them to be “hearsay account[s]” that “contain no concrete evidence of a war crime.” The charge was swiftly dismissed on 19 January 1946 without trial and finally closed in July 1948 (GHQ/SCAP Records, LS-39038) and the remains of the vessel were targeted for scrap and salvage in February 1950 (Records of General Headquarters Far East Command; Assistant Chief of Staff, G-4564). This dismissal appears to have gone unchallenged and was perhaps unannounced, and the incident was largely forgotten in Japan. This was true even in Shimokita and Maizuru, the sites where the ship departed and sank. It was not until local school teachers in both locations began to take an interest in commemoration that the incident became more widely known (for details on the historical memory of the incident see: Bull and Ivings 2020).

When LS was set up in October 1945 one of its main roles was to gather evidence pertaining to war crimes (Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, General Headquarters 1952, 43). The Potsdam Proclamation had stated: “stern justice shall be meted out to all war criminals, including those who have visited cruelties upon our prisoners” (United States Department of State 1946, 55). Three categories of war crimes – class A, B and C – existed. Class A crimes concerned “the planning and execution of aggressive war in the Asia-Pacific region” for which 28 of Japan’s wartime political and military leaders were put on trial (Totani 2008, 1). Class B crimes referred to “conventional war crimes” such as the mistreatment of civilians and prisoners of war. Class C crimes were for “crimes against humanity” (Takemae 2002, 251). B/C war crimes trials conducted in Japan were held in Yokohama from 1945 to 1949. As evident from the Potsdam Proclamation, and in the official record of SCAP’s work, LS was primarily concerned with pursuing war crimes against Allied prisoners of war. During the first year of the Occupation war crimes investigations “were made under circumstances of extreme complexity and difficulties” (Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, General Headquarters 1952, 50). Nevertheless, by December 1945 SCAP investigations had led to accusations against 600 people (United States Department of State 1946, 27).

Despite the challenges LS faced early in the Occupation, SCAP’s official record gives a sense of the thoroughness of investigations into cases involving Allied prisoners of war. POW camp investigations involved on-site visits, interrogations of “witnesses and suspects” as well as former prisoners, the intercepting and checking of mail, and requests for various kinds of information from the Japanese government (Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, General Headquarters 1952, 55). LS also started a specific line of investigation into ships used to transport POWs. For example, the investigation into the Nitta-maru case which involved 400 American POWs, lasted for over a year and collected over 100 testimonies. Another case saw investigators go to the Philippines where they “reconstructed the incident” before travelling for “additional research on Shikoku and Formosa, and in Shanghai, Nanking, Okinawa and Tokyo” (Ibid., 56-57). Investigation into the fate of downed aircrew was also comprehensive: “Every reported rumor or fact received from various sources was investigated” and “Interrogation teams covered tens of thousands of miles using all means of transportation, to visit remote areas and distant islands” (Ibid., 59). Even allowing for the boosterism of an official history, SCAP clearly had experience pursing difficult investigations involving the Allies.

Read in the context of SCAP’s official history, the content of the Investigation Division’s file on the Ukishima-maru incident suggests, at best, a patchy effort on the part of Occupation officials to pursue the case. The file makes clear that SCAP did not seek to gather its own testimonies nor, apparently, did LS officers visit the site where the ship sank. The evidence for a ‘war crime’ may have been lacking but the official history suggests that more thorough investigations were conducted in cases involving American victims begun on the basis of similarly scant information. As such, the documents reproduced below are indicative of SCAP’s priorities in seeking justice, with the claims of newly liberated Koreans clearly low on the agenda. Though SCAP’s Hirosaki branch accepted the charge, they effectively gave the Korean Association only one opportunity to collect evidence. Furthermore, the burden of proof appears to have rested solely on the Korean side. It was perhaps naïve, at best, on the part of SCAP to assume that the Koreans could provide anything other than survivor accounts. Documentation such as passenger lists and the orders to dispatch the vessel etc. could have been produced by the Japanese military authorities, and no apparent effort was made to clarify the details of the incident with the Japanese government. Wilson et al. (2017, 4) have argued that in effect SCAP pursued “substantive” rather than “procedural” justice. That is to say it focused on outcomes and adopted a “pragmatic approach to procedural matters,” so as to ensure that “the right crime has been investigated, the right person prosecuted, the right verdict reached, and the right sentence handed down” in accordance with moral and political considerations at a given time. Such considerations included SCAP’s then ongoing pursuit of war crimes charges against Koreans serving the Japanese military for acts committed towards Allied POWs (Totani, 2008, 13). The lack of effort on the part of SCAP to investigate the case thus represented a kind of double standard in its pursuit of justice in which there was a clear, if unsaid, distinction between justice for crimes against the allies and crimes against the victims of Japanese colonial rule.

 

The Survivor Testimonies as Historical Sources

We originally came across the testimonies reproduced below when researching an article that previously appeared in this journal in which we examined the historical memory of the Ukishima-maru incident in the postwar period (Bull and Ivings 2020). The testimonies appeared as a duplicate form of the file GHQ/SCAP RECORDS, LS-39038 (a microfiche held at the National Diet Library, Tokyo) and are stored in Maizuru City East Library where they are catalogued under the title “Allied Forces Documents on the Ukishima-maru Incident” (占領軍浮島丸事件関係文書). The original file is held at the National Archives at College Park, Maryland, USA (National Archives 2021a). The ‘scope and content’ description of the series that contains the file unit states that it “consists of reports, photographs, memorandums, witness statements, and other records relating to war crimes committed by Japanese individuals in the Far East during World War II” (National Archives Catalog 2021b).

Despite the rapid dismissal of the case and its supporting evidence, the authors find the testimonies to be of significant historical value. As historical sources they provide a lens into the tense situation at the end of the war between “defeated” Japanese and “liberated” Koreans (Choi 2021, 28-29), as well as the difficulty in pursuing justice during the Allied occupation. More obviously, as first-hand testimonies of the Ukishima-maru incident they speak to (rather than answer) several unanswered questions about the incident. These include doubts about the number of passengers on board—the testimonies suggest between 6,500 and 8,000 were on board rather than the official figure of 3,985—and thus the actual death toll, as well as why it was that the repatriation voyage was hastily organized prior to the implementation of an official repatriation programme, and why it called at Maizuru rather than proceed directly to Pusan (Kim 1984). The testimonies also indicate suspicious behaviour on the part of the Japanese crew and question the idea that the Ukishima-maru’s sinking was an accident.

Nevertheless, while raising doubts, the testimonies fall far short of proving any conspiracy on the part of the Japanese government or military. The survivors of the incident had little more to go on than what they saw with their eyes and heard with their ears. The numbers they give thus must be approached with caution as it is unlikely that any of them actually counted the numbers on board. Had there been a conspiracy it was very much a botched one given that there were numerous Japanese victims and so many Korean survivors. Indeed, decades later it emerged that the Japanese government conducted its own investigation in 1950 and was able to compile verified passenger lists as well as lists of those who died, which contradict the estimates given in the survivor testimonies (the list of the deceased was reproduced in Ukishima-maru Junansha Tsuitō Jikkō Iinkai 1989). Though this report was long suppressed, its contents were used by the Japanese government at the time to prepare for compensation payments and unpaid wages. Ultimately, only the bereaved families of the 25 Japanese crew members who lost their lives in the incident received compensation while the Korean victims became ineligible for compensation when Koreans lost their Japanese nationality as the San Francisco Peace Treaty came into effect in 1952. Court cases in the 1990s and early 2000s filed by survivors and bereaved family to obtain compensation from the Japanese state ultimately failed as the incident was deemed an accident (Underwood 2006, 21).

Given the existence of detailed passenger lists, the testimonies reproduced below are unlikely to be correct in their assessment of the number of Koreans on board and the idea that it was planned. The testimonies do, however, give insight into the degree of mistrust and tension that existed between conscripted Korean labourers and their Japanese overseers. These tensions of course boiled over on occasion both during the war, such as in the infamous Hanaoka incident involving the suppression of a riot by Chinese forced labourers in June-July 1945 (Minear and Seraphim, 2015), and in the months after it as SCAP initially “decided to induce Korean coal miners in Japan to remain at work” despite their desire to return to Korea and the fact that many were still unpaid (Augustine 2017, 56-7). It is conceivable that in the wake of the Hanaoka incident there was a fear on the part of the Japanese Naval command at the Ōminato base that the large number of conscripted Korean labourers in Shimokita would riot and that this was behind the idea to accelerate their repatriation. The testimonies make clear that the Koreans who boarded the Ukishima-maru were suspicious of the crew’s intentions and that there was a lack of effective communication between the two groups. They also show that Koreans had heard of rumours of atrocities committed elsewhere against Korean forced labourers—the texts mention Hokkaido and the Kuril Islands (the latter mistranslated as Sakhalin).

Rather frustratingly for historians interested in wartime labour issues, the testimonies contain no reference to labour conscription or conditions. Nor, indeed, is there any information about why so many Koreans labourers were present in a remote corner of Aomori prefecture. Though one would assume that such details would have made for a more compelling case, the survivors did not include such information. Nevertheless, the harsh realities of labour conscription are well documented (Chōsenjin Kyōsei Renkō Shinsō Chōsadan 1992), including information about conditions at the construction sites and military installations in Aomori prefecture where the survivors would have worked (Shimokita no Shōgen wo Hakkan suru Kai 1992), and SCAP was well aware of them (Augustine 2017, 57).

The testimonies are not the only kind of document contained in the file. Also present (and reproduced below) are: 1) a memo with the subject line “Report of War Crimes” from the 75th Military Government Team (MGT) HQ located in Aomori prefecture; 2) the initial report (in two parts) submitted by Son Il to the MGT; 3 a second report prepared by an investigator at the request of Son Il; and 4) a report by the Investigation Division of LS stating that the case was closed. These documents, considered alongside the three survivor testimonies, suggest an alternative approach to interpreting the material from that used by SCAP GHQ. The MGT and LS officers dismissed the charge according to their understanding of the kind of evidence appropriate for submission in war crimes trials held during the Occupation. As a historical source, however, testimony can also be examined for “the way that people understood and felt about their lives” (Pendas 2020, 257). This is another question which can be asked of the survivor testimonies in conjunction with the other documents.

Son Il’s report comes in two parts. The first describes the situation of Koreans in Aomori in December 1945 while the second contains his detailed report about the sinking of the Ukishima-maru. Submitted in his role as the chairman of the Aomori Regional Office of the Korean Association, Son Il’s report conveys the mistrust that existed between Koreans and Japanese. The memo by the MGT officer preceding the report suggests the suspicion that met Koreans and which Son Il had to deal with. Such suspicion by SCAP GHQ may not have been solely the result of individual prejudice but could have also been partly caused by the need for translation often through locally-employed Japanese. For Son Il’s report and that of his investigator, the original Japanese has been rendered into a rougher form in the English translation. What might have been the effect on an already sceptical American official when he read that “only 200 persons out of … 7500, 8000 persons” survived? The Japanese transcript states there were 2,000 survivors. The roughness of the English into which Son Il’s report is rendered does, however, also provide an important reminder that the survivor testimonies were at first spoken, probably in Korean, before being recorded in written form in Japanese by the Korean Association and then translated into English by SCAP’s local staff. It is not clear whether these staff were SCAP officers of Japanese origin or persons employed from the local area as the names of the translators are not indicated on the document. The Allied Translator and Interpreter Service (ATIS) certainly included many capable Japanese Americans who were well qualified to handle such translations having honed their skills during the war (Takemae 2002, 18-19). But the demand for their services was immense in the first year of the occupation and ATIS “was hard pressed to fill the many demands for linguistic talent” (McNaughton 2006, 427). With the preparation of the Tokyo Trial in full swing, it is hard to imagine that the better qualified translators would have been posted to remote Aomori Prefecture nor perhaps be willing to expend much effort on pursuing the case lodged by Son Il. Even for the Tokyo Trial, translations were often problematic. John Dower noted that “English interpretations tended to be more cryptic than the original statements” (1999, 467). Either way, transcribing the oral testimony means that considerable nuance has been lost from what the survivors recounted and by not naming the translator, any personal responsibility for the task was greatly reduced. The tendency of SCAP to take a “jaundiced attitude” towards Koreans, combined with the haste of LS investigations, suggests that many American personnel would not have been especially empathetic towards language issues (Carruthers 2016, 182). As Choi has shown, the new-found confidence of Koreans in Japan as a liberated people and their defiance of Japanese authority irked many Japanese and with the “active involvement of Koreans in Japanese leftist movements” SCAP came to share Japanese suspicions towards Koreans (Choi 2021, 19). Given this situation many of those involved in investigating the case may have been (perhaps subconsciously) inclined towards its dismissal from the outset.

Below find the relevant sources reproduced including both original and translated documents. We have transcribed the documents as faithfully to the originals as possible and have neither corrected nor marked any of the mistakes in spelling, grammar, or punctuation, etc. This, we hope, helps maintain the spirit of the documents and record-keeping under the Allied Occupation and a sense of the quality of its staff’s translations. A handful of limited occasions in which the Japanese handwriting was illegible appear as question marks in parenthesis. 

 

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

75TH MILITARY GOVERNMENT

HEADQUATERS AND HEADQUATERS COMPANY

APO 81

1 January 1946

SUBJECT: Report of War Crimes.

TO: Commanding General. IX Corps APO 309.

(Attention: Military Government Section)

  1. The enclosed documents, brought to this headquarters by Mr. Son Il, chairman of the Aomori Region Office, Korean Association In Japan, purport to describe a wholesale killing of Korean civilians on 24 August 1945.
  2. The first enclosure was brought to this office by Mr. Son Il, on 8 December 1945. He was instructed to return two days later for questioning after the document had been translated. Upon translation, it was found that the document was an entirely hearsay account; consultation with the CIC at Aomori revealed that CIC had no information on the event. When Mr. Son Il returned for questioning, it was found that the name of his “pal” (from whom he heard the account embodied in the first enclosure) is unknown. At the time of this second interview, Mr. Son Il submitted a second report of the incident (second enclosure); this account, differing in detail from the original story, is stated by Mr. Son Il to be the report of a Korean investigator assigned to the case by him.
  3. At this interview, an attempt was made to impress upon Mr. Son Il the importance of, and meaning of, evidence which would support the claims made by him and his investigator. He was instructed to bring to this office signed and witnessed statements from survivors of the vent described. The signed and witnessed statements from survivors of the event described. The third, fourth, and fifth inclosures are the statements submitted by survivors, and brought to this headquarters by Mr. Son Il. These statements contain no concrete evidence of a war crime; the charges are apparently conjecture, for the most part. Nevertheless, inasmuch as the accusations have been made by the Korean Association in Aomori, the documents are forwarded herewith for your information and appropriate action.

Arthur G Coulson

Lt. Col., CMP,

Commanding.

Incl.

  1. Report submitted by Mr. Son Il, w/3 copies of translation.
  2. Report submitted by Mr. Son Il, w/3 copies of translation.
  3. Statement of survivor, Rikisan, w/3 copies of translation.
  4. Statement of survivor, Risoho, w/3 copies of translation.
  5. Statement of survivor, Kohoshun, w/3 copies of translation.

 

 

Commanding General Sir,

Report

  1. Sanbongi police station has compelled the Koreans the Koreans who were hanging out here, to sell their furnitures at lowest price in telling them that they might return home immediately at the end of the war. (For example, at 10 Yen which now coasts now for 100 Yen). Some of them went home without having anything at all with them, compelled by cops and some Koreans who got married with Japanese women, was compelled to divorce without asking the reason of it. They were expeled down to Shimonoseki and waited to get the chance to return to their home, but railroad authority did not plan systematically about the schedule of their returning, therefore, they had to wait it for two months, wasting their dough to the last one. One persons who have not got it, or wasted, wandered somewhere.

Therefore, our association headquarters is collecting proof now, at same time, picking well-qualified witnesses up now, so later on, we want to send a report about it. And to your side, if the fact cleared, we want you to punish them right.

7th, 12, 45

一九四五年十二月七日 委員長 孫一

進駐軍 司令官殿 在日本朝鮮人連盟青森県本部

(民衆新聞支局)

青森県弘前市大字富田町四九

調査報告

  • 青森県上北郡三本木警察署テハ終戦ト同時ニ三本木在住一般朝鮮人ヲ直グ帰国サセルカラト強制的ニ家財道具ヲ最低價格ニテ投賣サセ(例ヘバ時價百円ノ物ヲ十円位)或者ハ警察省局ノ餘リノ強圧ノ為家財道具ヲ其ノ儘投ゲ捨テ又ハ日本女性ト結婚シタ者ハ理由如何ヲ不問、強制的離婚サセ下関マテ追出シ追出サレタ彼等ハ下関マテ行ッテ帰国ヲ待ッタガ輸送計劃ニアラザル故二カ月モ餘リ滞留金銭ハ一銭モ無ク消費ルンベントナッテ各地エ各々分散シタ事実アリ目下当連盟本部ニテ明確證拠ヲ調査スルト同時ニ必要ナル證人ヲ選択中ニシテ後日改メテ報告スル事ヲ約束スル

事実明確ナ場合ニハ厳重処罰ヲ要求スルモノナリ

以上

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Commanding General Sir,

Ominato navy authority has sent sailors, civilians attached to the army, enlisted workers, laborers and general laborers including their families which amounted 7500 or 8000 persons to Maizuru navy port (Kyoto) by the 7500 ton or 8000 carrier, under the name of getting hem back home country. But at 4 days after she started, she got to the navy port mentioned above, and at the distance of 500 metres from the shore, immediately, she sank by the reason of touching with mine (This is a report from Japanese Government), so, only 200 persons out of above mentioned 7500, 8000 persons could get their lives, and others were all dead.

Meeting with my pal, one of the survivors, I could hear the story directly from him, so I want to tell you about it by remembering it.

  1. At starting, the captain was so melancholy, in solicitude, well in short, being filled with grief that he would tell one of his pals that he would die at the middle of the pacific ocean after he had sent all Koreans to their home country, anyhow he should die. And this is the reason why the carrier had delayed in starting. Maybe, there is room for repairing a dinning room and toilet too, but for the most part is up to refusing the order delivered by Ominato navy office. It was clear to him that he would run a risk of killing himself, so didn’t want to get a captain.
  2. Later on the carrier sailed there, and got to Higashi maizuru after 4 day’s sailing. Soon after she anchored there, one motor boat came alongside, and some principal man (bosses) went down to the boat, and left her. Simultaneously, sudden explosion occurred. (Before it occurred, the people was compelled to go down stair)

My pal knew how to swim, and got much experiences as a sailors, so he took off his coat and gatre, threw himself into the sea.

10 minutes passed. Only one little motor boat came up to her and rescued only three persons.

Afterward, they were brought to the navy hospital but they could get a good (child’s handful rice two times) and prohibited to go out. Always, guard kept in touch with them.

My pal planed to escape with two persons, they did it under the cover of night and could get down to Kyoto. One of them was getting 500 yen in his pocket, wasting these doughs with them, with much difficulty, they could get to Ominato in Aomori prefecture. Ten days passed since this affair happened. It happened to me that I could get more correct intelligence about Ominato affair.

I can tell this much to you that this affair was not reported to the people. When the carrier sank, the captain killed himself.

Some of my pal told me that the carrier, we were on board, was in safety place, and judging by the spot where the carrier sank, is only ten minutes swimming. It is a very strange to put a mine so close to the shore. There stood two red flags close to the spot. An larger ship than that, could pass freely close to her. One man of war had her canon against our ship when sinking.

He could not tell whether she sank by touching with a mine or by shooting. This is a fact just opened.

At present, our association headquarters have handed down a protest against Japanese Government, as a result. Japanese Government asked us to carry in secret. As for Japanese Government, they only wanted to show 350 dead men and for them. Government was going to send 450,000 yen as a solatium. But our association headquarters only got a list of dead men, and refused to get a solatium, I am told.

Figuring about this fact, this is a last brutal conspiracy which represents real brutality planed systematically by the authorities of the Japanese government.

We want to collect more well-qualified proof and witnesses for it.

We heard the same kinds of affairs happened in Hokkaido and Sakhalin by a conspiracy which was planed by Japanese army and navy, but for them I can’t tell you precisely because of not having correct proof of them.

Chief of Committee

Son Kasu

Aomori Region Office

Korean Association in Japan

十九四五年十二月七日 委員長 孫一

進駐軍 司令官 殿 在日本朝鮮人連盟青森県本部

(民衆新聞支局)

青森県弘前市大字富田町四九 電話一七一

調書報告

一、青森県下北郡大湊海軍当局トシテハ一九四五年八月十五日終戦スルト同時ニ海軍、軍属、徴用工、募集、集団人夫及一般労務者及ビ家族等合計七千五百人又ハ八千人ヲ一九四五年八月廿二、三日頃(日付不明)大湊海軍輸送船ニテ(七千五百屯又ハ八千屯)(船舶名不明)優先帰国サセルトノ実名ノ本ニ乗船サセ大湊出航後四日目ニ京都府東舞鶴軍港ニ入港陸地ヲ隔ル事僅カ五百メートル安全地帯ニ於テ日本側ノ曰ク機雷ニ觸レタル理由ニテ瞬時ニシテ沈没上記七千五百及至八千人ノ内二千位シカ生存セズ後ハ全部犠牲トナレリ

一、同時生存者ノ一人トシテ余ノ知人ト合ヒ同時直接聞イタ事ハ(其ノ時ノ事情ヲ)以下記憶ヲ追ッテ記録スル

一、大湊出向当時船長ハ悲愴ナ面持チヲ涙ヲ落シナガラ或ル船長ノ知人ニ語ッテ曰クドウセ死ヌナラ朝鮮ヲ立派ニ帰国サセ自分(船長)ハ帰途太平洋ノ(マン中)ニ行ッテ死ストノ事出航ニ先キ立チ出航予定日時ノ遅延シタ原因ハ食堂、便所等ノ設備ノ為ニモ一里ハ有ルガ海軍部ヨリノ命令ヲ船長ガ拒絶シタ事ニモ原因ガアル其レハ死ニ着クノヲ知リズツ船長トナルノヲ恐レンイヤデアッタカラデアル

一、其ノ後船ハ出航シ四日目ニ東舞鶴軍港ニ入港碇泊スルト同時ニ一隻ノ小型機船ガ走リ依リ(軍港ノキシカラ)主要人物ノ四、五人ガ急イテ下船当小型ポートガ稍々船体ヨリ離レタ時突然一大轟沈ト音ガシタ、其ノ直前碇泊スル時(イカリ)ヲ置クノニ(ジヤマ)ニナルカラ甲板上ノ人間ヲ全部強制的ニ船室ニ入レテカラノ事テス、余ノ知人ハ水泳ノ達人ニシテ船員ノ経験モアルノヲ其ノ瞬間脚ニ巻イタ(ケートル)ヲ(ハズシ)赤裸ニナッテ船上ヨリ海中ニ飛ビ込ミ約十分位シテ(オヨイテ)陸地ニタトリツキ小型船一隻ヲ見付ケ(ロウ)ヲ漕ギ沈没船ノ場所ニ行キ三人救助シテ陸地ニ漕ギツケタリ、其ノ後東舞鶴軍港海軍工廠ニ一時収容サレタルモ衣類ノ支給モ無ク食事ハ一日小児ノ(コブシ)大ノ(ニギリ飯)二個ズツ輿エ外出ヲ絶大禁止厳重ナ監視ヲナシタリ、余ノ知人ハ三人共謀シテ夜陰ニ乗ジ地獄ヲ脱出徒歩ニテ京都マテ(タトリ着キ)三人中一人ガ四五百円ノ金銭ガ有ッタノテボロボロノ衣服ナガラ身ヲ包ミ生ヲ求メテ出処元港ノ青森県大湊マテ来マシタ、其ノ後十日程シテ余ハ其ノ本人ニ合イ以上ノ如キ事実ヲ明確に分リマシタ、大湊事件ハ当時新聞機関ヲ通ジテ発表サレテアリマセン船ガ沈没同時船長ハ割腹シタトノ話シテス、其ノ時ノ東舞鶴軍港ノ状況ハ余ノ知人ハ左ノ如ク話シマシタ自分等ノ乗ッタ船ハ完全ニ安全水域ニ碇泊シタ事、機雷ヲ港内ニ埋沈スルニ殆ンド陸地ト泳イテ十分シカ時間ガカカラナイ處ニ有ル筈ガナイ又曰ク危険ヲ知セル意味カハ知ラナイガ水中ニ二本ノ赤イ旗ヲ立テ有ル事、沈没シタ船ヨリ倍位ノ大型船ガ何等支障ナク沈没シタ船ノ直グバヲ悠々ト出航シテイタ事殊ニ東舞鶴軍港ニ碇泊シテ居タ軍艦一隻ガ沈没シタ船ニ向イテ大砲ヲ発射スル体制ニ砲口ヲ向ケテ有ッタ事知人ハ又云フ機雷ノ為カ、或ハ軍艦ヨリ発射シタ為沈没シタカ兎ニ角ク三四回度偉大ナ純重ナ音響ト共ニ船体ハ三回程上下振動シタトノコトテス最近当聯盟総本部(東京中央)ニテ日本政府ニ厳重抗議シタ結果犠牲者ハ約三百五十名位トノ名簿ト死亡者ニ対スル慰籍料四十五万円オ提供当事件解決方オ内密ニ哀願シタルモ同聯盟テハ死亡名簿ノミ接収金銭ハ其ノ儘返還シタトノ通知ガアリマス

一、思フニ日本政府当事者ハ当時計劃的ニ最後ノ暴悪ナ野獣性ヲ発揮シ天人共ニ許シ得ザル天罰ヲ侵シタルモ尚改心ノ情ナシ上記ノ件ニ関シ余ハ事情ノ許ス限リ徹底的ニ探貞シ確実ナル證拠ト実際ノ證人ヲ探シ改メテ報告スルテアロウ、日本各陸海軍部又ハ北海道、千島等ノ同胞諸君モ上記ト同一ノ事故ガ幾十件及ブ事(?)聞イテ居ルガ残念ナガラ確證(?)先分ナルガ故ナリ

以上

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

H.Q. Aomori Region Office

Korean Association in Japan

Dec 12 1945

To Commander of Occupation Troop

From Kotai Sei?

Member of Investigation

Address 49 Oaza Tomita Machi

Hirosaki City, Aomori Prefecture

  1. Report of Investigation concerning the affair of the accident of Korean transportation steamer “Ukishima Maru, carrying on board many Korean returning home from Ominato left Ominato Naval Yard on the 23rd August 1945 (Report No. 2)
  2. Name of steamer

Ukishima Maru (7,500 tons auxiliary cruiser speed about 28 knots)

  1. Number of personnels on board approximately 6,500 (exact number is now under investigation)

 

Date and Time of Departure and the Condition until Sinking

Time of Departure is about 2300 August 23rd 1945 (exact time is now under investigation) shortly before the departure from Ominato Naval Yard all crew had taken out their own personal possession from the ship and sent back their own home from Ominato station and return to the ship.

All crew presented an objection to the Captain, shouting that we oppose absolutely the voyage through the dangerous area. Moreover, they said excitedly that they can not sacrifice their own lives for the sake of Korean especially, at the time, to-day after the termination of the war. The captain, therefore, informed the matter to Ominato Naval Installation Department (shisetubu) Chief of Engineering Staff Officer came on board and he has called all crew in one place. Chief of Staff said that you all must comply with this duty with an idea of death. Under such extremely order, the ship departed Ominato Naval Yard.

After departed Aomori Bay, in the strait between Sadoga-shima (Sado Island), they have dumped out all life-buoys and other articles which were usually equipped in the ship. The voyage continued, henceforth, and deviated her course to Maizuru Bay at the point off east Maizuru, Kyoto prefecture, and entered the port. Just before entering the port, the ship stopped a little while and signalled by handflag-signal and entered into the harbour slowly.

All passengers were beaten by a strange forboding feeling as the ship should be forwarded directly to Fusan, according to the promise at the time of departure.

The steamer, entered into the harbour, East Maizuru Naval Yard and when she reaches the point about 150 meters from the shore, there has been taken place an explosion with a great sound. Personnel who were in the bottom of ship have tried to cling up by three hanging ropes, surprising sea water and oil pouring in from engine room, however, the ropes were cut and the passengers dropped down into the bottom and drowned.

Moreover, the personnels who were on board madly jumped into the sea in order to avoid themselves from the whirlpool occurs at the time of sinking ship and the sea converted into a place of carnage. Men, women, old, sickmen, infants who can not swim were saved by life-boats while they were staying highest part of the ship sinking.

The time of explosion is about 1610 August 24th 1945. All rescuer were carried to the boarding house for recruited labours belong to East Maizuru Naval Installation office and confined. Sentry with bayonet guarding surroundings and prohibited to go out even one step outside. They have absolutely restricted the freedom.

Personnels who were confined in the boarding house, were not allowed also to go out even one step, to meet with personnels who came to know whether the Kin is rescued or not and how he is living and appealed to Japanese officer to see him but refused. Regarding sacrificed personnels, we do not know how they have been treated. This proves that they have revealed their cruel devilish nature.

All victims’ personal goods loaded on the ship, were picked up freely by the people living near by and have been desposed as they like, and the Japanese authorities permitted tacitly.

Numbers of dead and wounded caused by sinking of S/S “UKISHIMA MARU” are upon our investigations, as below mentioned.

NOTE:

DEAD 1,350 approximately

WOUNDED 200 approximately

HURTED 600 approximately

(ACCURATE NUMBERS WILL FOLLOW AFTERWARD ON INVESTIGATION)

-END-

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

一九四五年十二月十二日

進駐軍 司令官 殿 調査員 黄泰正

住所 青森県弘前市大字富田町四九

一九四五年八月二十三日大湊軍港ヨリ帰国サレタル朝鮮人輸送船

浮島丸遭難事件調査報告書(第二號)

一、船名 浮島丸(七千五百頓仮装巡洋艦速力二十八節程度)

一、乗船員人員 六千五百名程度(確定人員調査中)

出発日時及ビ沈没マデノ状況

一九四五年八月二十三日二十三時頃出航(確定時間調査中)

大湊軍港ヨリ出航直前ニ於テ乗組員各自ノ手持品一切ハ本船ヨリ下サセ大湊駅ヨリ自宅ヘ発送後本船ニ戻リ乗組員一同ハ船長ニ対シ危険区域ノ航海ハ絶対反対ヲ絶叫シ尚朝鮮人ノ為終戦後ノ今日我等ノ生命ヲ犠牲ニスル事ハ出来得ヌト激奮セリ船長ハ止ム無ク大湊海軍施設部ヘ其旨ヲ報告シ施設部ヘ其旨ヲ報告シ施設部ヨリ機関参謀長船内ヘ出張シ全船員招集ノ上参謀長曰ク諸君ハ任務遂行ノ為清ク死ンデ来イト爆弾的ナ命令ノ基ニ本船ハ大湊軍港ヲ出航セリ出航後青森湾ヲ出テ佐渡ヶ島マデノ海陜ニテ黒暗ノ夜中ニ船内ヘ常備シ有リタル一切ノ救命袋及ビ其他ノ品々ヲ同船乗組員ハ海中ヘ投棄セリ其後運航ハ継続シ京都府東舞鶴沖ニテ針路ヲ転ジ舞鶴湾ニ向ヒ入港セリ入港直前一旦停船シ手旗信号ニデ相圖ノ上スローデ入港シタリ便乗者一同ハ大湊軍港ヨリ出航当時釜山マデ直行セシムト約束シタルニモ拘ズ不思議ナ予感ニウタレタリ本船ハ東舞鶴軍港ノ内港ニ入港シ陸地ヲ隔ダル約百五十米ノ海上ニ於テ大音響ト共ニ三回ニ渉リ爆発セリ船底船室ニ居リタル人ハ爆音ト同時ニ機関部ヨリ流レル油及ビ海水ニ驚キ綱梯子三本ヘ我先ニト甲板ヘ上ルベクスガリツイタ為ハ切断サレ船底船室ノ便乗員ハ溺死シタリ尚甲板ノ上ニ居リタル人達ハ沈没刹那ノ渦巻ヲ恐レ無我夢中ニテ海中ヘ飛込ミ重リ死ノ修羅場ト化セリ泳ノ出来ヌ男女老人病人小供等ハ九死ニ一生ヲ得沈没シヅゝアル同船ノ最高部ニ登リ救助船ニ依ッテ救助サレタリ爆発時刻ハ一九四五年八月二十四日十六時十分頃ナリ救助者ハ一切東舞鶴海軍施設部徴用工員宿舎ニ監禁シ銃剣付ノ番兵ヲ以ッテ周囲ヲ取囲ミ一歩ノ外出ヲモ許サズ自由ヲ束縛セリ宿舎ニ監禁サレタル者ハ肉親ノ生死安否ヲ知ルベク日本人係官ニ哀願スルモ外出ハ一歩モ許サズ犠牲者ハ如何ニ始末シタルカ不明ナリ此處ニ於テ惨酷鬼畜ノ本性ヲ暴露セリ尚本船ニ積載シタル遭難者ノ一切ノ所持品ハ附近住民ガ勝手ニ引上自由ニ處分シタルモ日本官憲ニ於テハ一切黙認セリ当浮島丸沈没ニ基因セル死亡者及ビ重軽傷者調査ノ結果左ノ如シ

 

 

以上

死亡者 一千三百五十名内外(後日明確ニ調査ス)

重傷者 二百名内外( ″ )

軽傷者 六百名内外( ″ )

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Sho. No. 110

Aomori-ken Hombu

22 December 1945

Headquarters of Aomori-Korean League in Japan (Shūmin Newspaper Branch Bureau)

(Address: 49 Tomita-cho Oaza Hirosaki City, Aomori Prefecture)

To: Commanding General of Occupational Forces

Subject: Report of investigation in connection with S.S. Ukishima Maru Incident (3rd).

Survivor: Risōho Born April 1st Taishō 10th yr. Age 25

Registered address: (Cannot translate into English)

Present address: Mutsu-Yokohama, Kami-kita-gun, Aomori Pref.

The above survivor’s verbal statement to the League is as follows:

  1. Name of Steamer: Unknown
  2. Number of passengers: Approx. 8,000. Date and time of sailing and conditions to the time of foundering.

I boarded the ship at approximately 1300 on the 22nd of August 1945. I left the port at 0100 on the 23rd. Just before the ship weighed anchor, I noticed that all of the crew’s baggage was taken off the ship. At a point of about 5 or 6 hours out at sea, all of the ship’s life boats and other life-saving equipment were tossed overboard. My compartment (hold) was the one nearest the bow. Before we entered East Maizuru Bay, the ship came to a halt. When I climbed up on deck, a crew hand ordered me below, but unheedingly, I walked to the bow and surveyed the view ahead. Just then there explosion from amidships which tore the ship in two, sinking it with the mid-parts going down first. Being unable to swim, I clambered for the higher members of the craft. Approximately half-hour later a life boat came up and rescued me. I was quartered in the enlisted laborer’s lodging house of the East Maizuru Naval Installation Department. I escaped, however, after 2 days. During my stay there, we were under strict guard by armed sentries, but we, four of us, motivated by fear and hunger escaped by scaling a board fence. Considering all what I’ve seen and heard, I believe the total casualties (dead and injured) exceed 6,000 persons. When I was put up at the laborer’s lodging house, I had only the clothes which I had on when I was taken off the stricken ship. We were given two rations per day, one ration consisting only of one rice ball the size of a small child’s fist and even that was not always enough to be distributed to every-one. After reviewing and considering all angles of thought concerning this incident, I assert without hesitation that it was a prearranged and planned affair.

Survivor: Risōhō

Writer: Rikyūken

Registered address: (Cannot be translated phonetically)

Witness: Kōtaisan

Registered address: Nishimachi, Fusan-fu, Keinan

Witness: Son Ichi

Registered address: (Cannot be translated phonetically)

Witness: Ikaisui

Registered address: Tōyō-ri, Kōgen-men, Tokahara-gun, Inan

一九四五年十二月二十二日

進駐軍 司令官 殿

浮島丸遭難事件調査報告之件(第三次)

遭難者 李 相鳳

大正十年四月四日生二十五才

本籍地 全北沃溝郡臨皮面邑内里

現住所 青森県上北郡陸奥横浜村

右遭難者当連盟ニ於ケル口述左ノ如シ

一、船名 不明

一、乗船人員 八千人内外(概算)

出航日時及沈没迄ノ状況

一九四五年八月二十二日十三時頃乗船二十三日一時頃出航本船ガ大湊ヲ出航直前船員等荷物ハ全部積卸シタ後出航シテ五六時間モシタ地点ニテ本船内ニ常備シテ有ッタ救命具其他ノ総ユル品物ヲ海中ヘ投ゲルノヲ私ハ目撃シマシタ私ノ居ッタ所ハ本船ノ一番先ノ船室テ有リマシタガ東舞鶴湾ニ入ル時一旦停船シマシタ其時私ハ船室ヨリ甲板ヘ出テ来タ處船員達ガ来テ甲板上ノ便乗者ヲ船室ヘ入ル様命令シマシタ私ハ船室ヘ入ラズ船ノ一番先ノ方ヘ歩イテ行ッテ前方ヲナガメテ居リマシタ其時船ノ真中ノ方カラ爆発シテ二ツニ折レ真中ガ先ニ沈ンデ行キマシタ私ハ泳ゲナイ為船ノ沈ムニシタガッテ高イ方ヘ登ッテ居リマシタ約三十分バカリシテ救助船ニ依ッテ助リ東舞鶴海軍施設部徴用工員宿舎ニ監禁サレ二日目ニ逃亡シマシタ宿舎ニ監禁サレタ時ハ銃剣付ノ番兵ヲ以ッテ厳重ニ番シテ居ルノテ飢ト恐怖心ニ襲ハレ四人共謀ノ上板壁ヲ乗越ヘ逃亡シマシタ私ガ見聞シタノヲ綜合スルト死傷者約六千名以上ト思ッテ居リマス私ハ本船ガ沈没シタ同時ト同ジ様ニパンツ一枚テ徴用工員宿舎ニ監禁サレ一日二食一食分小児拳程ノ握飯一個ヅゝテ此レモ場合ニ依リモラエナイ人モ有リマシタ私ハ当事件ノ発生シタ総ユル点ヲ綜合シテ考ヘマスト絶対計劃的テアルト断言シマス

右遭難者 李相鳳

代筆者 李京憲

本籍地 咸北慶源郡安農面承良洞七一

立会者 黄泰山

本籍地 慶南釜山府西町

立会者 孫一

本籍地 江原道高域郡杵城面校洞里

立会者 尹海水

本籍地 咸南高原郡高原面東陽里

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Sho 111

Aomori-ken Hombu

22 December 1945

Headquarters of Aomori-Korean League in Japan (Shumin Newspaper Branch Bureau)

(Address: 49 Tomita-cho Oaza Hirosaki City, Aomori Prefecture)

To: Commanding General of Occupational Forces

Subject: Report of investigation in connection with S.S. Ukishima Maru Incident (3rd).

Survivor: Rikisan Born Dec 14, Taisho 11th Age: 24 years

Registered address: Seidōri Sankaimen, Minamihara-gun, Zenhoku

Present address: Mutsu-Yokohama, Kamikita-gun, Aomori Pref.

The above survivor’s verbal statement to the League is as follows:

  1. Name of Steamer: Unknown
  2. Number of passengers: Approx. 8,000. Date and time of sailing and conditions to the time of foundering.

I boarded the ship at approximately 1300 hours on the 22nd of August 1945. At the time of sailing, all the crew’s baggage was unloaded. Off Aomori bay, all the life boats and other goods were jettisoned overboard. Seeing the goods being discarded, we, the passengers, requested the clothing be given us, but were told that military uniforms could not be given to civilian people. At about 1600 hours on the 24th, we entered East Maizuru Bay where we halted, about half-hour later, proceeded slowly again at about a walking speed. We (our ship) signalled with flags as we proceeded to port and I noticed a red flag at the point toward which we were going. As we neared the dock, a small motor boat emerged from the pier and came to meet us and sailed passed red flag. Whether deliberately or accidently, I don’t know, but we hit the red flag and as we did so, the ship exploded with tremendous blast, causing very heavy casualties. I was picked up by a salvage boat and brought to the enlisted labourer’s lodging house of the East Maizuru Naval Installation Department. I was unable to venture out of the building on account of the vigil by armed guards, but made my escape on the night of Aug 26th by scaling a board fence with three others. Our rations while there was only a small rice ball twice daily, but due to the shortage of this allotment, there were many among us who were unable to get even one per day. We were issued no clothing whatever, having only what were wearing when we were blown into the sea. Having no idea how long we were to be detained, we made our escape out of desperation, and now living at my present address. I think there were about 8,000 Korean passengers at the time of departure, that is, there were about 6,500 pre-engaged (enrolled) personnel, while about 1,500 additional (unreserved) were put abroad before sailing. At the time of sailing from Ōminato Harbor, some Japanese officers had refused to board the ship with us, delaying our departure about two days. I’ve heard that the reason for their refusal was that our ship was to be sunk en-route and were not willing to be sacrificed.

After reviewing and considering all angles of thought concerning this incident, I assert without hesitation that it was a deliberate and planned out affair.

Survivor: Kōhōshun

Writer: Rikyōken

Registered address: (Cannot be translated phonetically)

Witness: Kōtaisan

Registered address: Nishimachi, Fusan-fu, Keinan

Witness: Son Ichi

Registered address: Tōyō-ri, Kōgen-men, Tokahara-gun, Inan

 

 

一九四五年十二月二十二日

進駐軍 司令官 殿

浮島丸遭難事件調査報告之件(第三次)

遭難者 李 基賛

大正十一年十二月十四日生二十四才

本籍地 全北南原郡三海面西道里

現住所 青森県上北郡陸奥横浜村

右遭難者当連盟ニ於ケル口述左ノ如シ

一、船名 不明

一、乗船人員 八千人内外(概算)

出航日時及沈没迄ノ状況

一九四五年八月二十二日十三時頃乗船仝二十三日一時頃出航ス大湊軍港ヲ出航当時船員ノ荷物ハ全部積卸シタ後出航シ青森沖ヲ出テ船内ニ常備シアル救命具及ビ総ユル物資ヲ海中ヘ投ゲルノヲ居合セノ人ガ船員ニ御願ヒシテ衣類ヲ分ケテモラフベク頼ミマシタガ軍人ノ物品ハ一般人ニ分ケルコトハ出来ヌト断ワラレマシタ其他色々ナ物品モ海中ヘ投ゲルノヲ目撃シマシタ本船ハ二十四日十六時頃東舞鶴港湾ヘ入港一旦停船約三十分シテ再ビ緩速(人間ガ歩ク程度)ニテ進行シ手旗信号ヲ以テ信号シナガラ船ハ内港ニ向ッテ進航スル時其ノ方向ニ赤イ旗ヲ立テデアル所ガアリマシタ其時内港桟橋ヨリ小型発動船一隻ガ本船ニ向ッテ進行何カ暗示テモイルガ如ク前記赤旗ノ傍ヲ通リ去ルト同時ニ本船ハ前記赤旗ノ上ヲ故意カ偶然カ乗越ス瞬間大爆音ト共ニ爆発シマシタ其現場ハ形容シ難イ惨状ヲ一瞬ニシテ程シ死傷者多数ヲ出シマシタ其後救助船ニ助リ東舞鶴海軍施設部徴用工員宿舎ニ監禁サレ銃剣付テ番ヲスル為外出ハ許サレズ止ムエズ仝八月二十六日夜三人共謀ノ上板壁ヲ乗越ヘテ現在地ニ逃ゲテ来マシタ右宿舎ニ於ケル待遇ハ一日二食小型握飯二個ヅゝ與ルモ飯不足ノ為一日中一食モ食エナイ人モ沢山居リマシタ衣服ハ全然ナク海中ニ投ゲタリレタ時ノ儘パンツ一枚テシカモ何時迄監禁サレルカ極度ノ恐怖ニ襲ハレ死ヲ決シテ逃ゲ出シ今日ニ至リマシタ朝鮮人便乗者八千人トハ乗船ノ際乗船申込者六千五百名ノ外申込無シテ乗船シタ者約一千五百名ヲ含ム概算ナリ尚大湊出港当時日本人士官ハ互ニ乗船ヲ断リ為ニ出航ハ予定ヨリ二日間遅延シタリ理由ハ同船ハ途中沈没サセル故自分達ハ犠牲ニナルノガ嫌ナル故ト聞ク私人当事件ノ発生シタ総ユル点ヲ綜合シテ考ヘマスト絶対計劃的テアルト思フ事断言シマス

右遭難者 李基賛

代筆者 李京憲

本籍地 咸北慶源郡安農面承良洞七一

立会者 黄泰山

本籍地 慶南釜山府西町

立会者 孫一

本籍地 江原道高域郡杵城面校洞里

立会者 尹海水

本籍地 咸南高原郡高原面東陽里

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Sho 112

Aomori-ken Hombu

22 December 1945

Headquarters of Aomori-Korean League in Japan (Shūmin Newspaper Branch Bureau)

Address: 49 Tomita-cho Oaza Hirosaki City, Aomori Pref.

To: Commanding General of Occupational Troops

Subject: Report of investigation in connection with S.S. Ukishima Maru Incident (3rd).

Survivor: Kōhōshun Born July 5, Taisho 10th Age: 25

Registered address: No. 89 Shōshichō, jinsen-fu, keikidō

Present address: Mutsu Yokohama, Kamikita-gun, Aomori Pref.

The above survivor’s verbal statement to the League is as follows:

  1. Name of Steamer: Unknown
  2. Number of passengers: 8,000 approximately. Date and time of sailing and conditions to the time of foundering.

I boarded the ship at approximately 1300 hours on the 22nd of August 1945. I left port at 0100 hours on the 23rd. All the events that occurred during the voyage are not clear. At about 1630 on the 24th, the ship exploded with a tremendous detonation and I was tossed about 10 meters out into the sea. While I was swimming, I was miraculously rescued by a salvage boat and was brought ashore where I lost consciousness. When I regained consciousness, I was being borne toward water again by a group of soldiers who believing me dead, were discussing their intentions to throw my body into the sea. Perceiving, then, my consciousness, they sent me to a hospital. During my succeeding ten days at the hospital, medical attention given me, was limited to the mere treatment of a few minor cuts and scratches. I was given no real treatment such as drugs or inoculations. I made no real improvement, therefore, during my time at the hospital. At the end of 10 days, I was compelled to be transferred to the enlisted laborers lodging house under the pretense of shipment back home, and was supplied with one suit of old working clothes by the military authorities. Having received no proper medical treatment, therefore, I am in no condition to endure the trip home. I am still living at my present dwelling place and am suffering under the handicap of being unable to work for a living. I had received a ¥100 from the authorities when I returned to my present place.

I suppose the number of casualties in this incident is 6,000 persons more or less, according to reports I have heard. After reviewing and considering all angles of thought concerning this incident, I assert without hesitation, that it was a deliberate and planned affair.

Survivor: Kōhōshun

Writer: Rikyōken

Registered address: (Cannot translate)

Witness: Kōtaisan

Registered address: Nishimachi, Fusan-fu, Keinan

Witness: Son Ichi

Registered address: (Cannot be phonetically translated)

Witness: Ikaisui

Registered address: Toyo-ri, Kogen-men, Takahara-gun, Inan

 

一九四五年十二月二十二日

進駐軍 司令官 殿

浮島丸遭難事件調査報告之件(第三次)

遭難者 崔 鳳春

大正十年七月五日生二十五才

本籍地 京畿道仁川府松視町八九番地

現住所 青森県上北郡陸奥横浜村

右遭難者当連盟ニ於ケル口述左ノ如シ

一、船名 不明

一、乗船人員 八千人内外(概算)

出航日時及沈没迄ノ状況

一九四五年八月二十二日十三時頃乗船二十三日一時頃出航ス途中ノ出来事ハ一切不明テ有リマシタ二十四日十六時半頃突然大音響ト共ニ爆発シ其瞬間私ノ身体ハ十米バカリ吹き飛バサレ海中ヘ投ゲタサレマシタ私ハ奇蹟ニモ海中ニテ泳イテ居ル時救命ポートニ救助サレ陸地ニ揚ゲラレ其後ハ意識不明テシタ私ハ陸地ヘ揚ゲテカラ運バレル途中人々ノ騒ブ声テ漸ク意識ヲ取戻シマシタ其時兵隊達ハ私ヲ此レハ死ンダカラ海ヘ投棄シヨウト話合ヒナガラタンカニ乗セタ儘海ヘ運ンテイルノニ気付キ本能的ニ救ヲ求メタ結果幸ニシテ病院ヘ運搬サレ十日間治療ヲ受ケルモ話バカリノ治療デ顔面ノ形バカリノ小傷ダケノ手当ヲシ薬モ注射ノ一本モ施サナカッタ十日間同ジ状態ヲ続ケ同病院ヨリ帰国ヲ理由ニ徴用工員宿舎ニ強制収容サレ軍部ヨリ作業服(古着)一着ノ支給ヲ受ケマシタ当時治療ガ不完全ノ為帰国出来ズ現住地ニ戻リ今日ニ至ルモ未ダ当時ノ衝撃テ身ハ完治セズ現今ノ生活ハ無一文テ困難ヲ極メテ居リマス現住地ニ戻ル時手当金百円ヲ支給サレマシタ自分ガ見聞シタ處ニ依ルト死傷者約六千人内外ト思ヒマス私ハ当時ノ総ユル状況ヲ総合シテ考ヘル時本事件ハ絶対計劃的タト思フ事ヲ断言シマス

右遭難者 崔鳳春

代筆者 李京憲

本籍地 咸北慶源郡安農面承良洞七一

立会者 黄泰山

本籍地 慶南釜山府西町

立会者 孫一

本籍地 江原道高域郡杵城面校洞里

立会者 尹海水

本籍地 咸南高原郡高原面東陽里

---

19 Jan 46

MEMO

SUBJECT: SHIP SINKING

TO: CHIEF INVESTIGATION DIVISION

 

  1. AFTER REVIEW OF BASIC COMMUNICATION AND INCLOSURES, EVIDENCE OF A WAR CRIME IS WEAK AND APPEARS TO BE BASED ON CONJECTURE.
  2. RECOMMEND NO ACTION BE TAKEN BY THIS OFFICE.

 

(signature)

CAPT CMP

 

---

30 July 1946

Report of Investigation Division, Legal Section, GHQ, SCAP.

Inv. Div. No. 130

CRD No.

Report by: Frank J. Fons, Jr.

 

Title: Ukishima-Maru

Synopsis of facts:

 

-c-

Reference: Allied Papers Case Folder #130

DETAILS:

At Tokyo:

This case deals with the alleged sinking of the Korean steamship S.S. Ukishima-maru in the East Maizuru Naval Yard with approximately 6500 Korean Nationals aboard.

All information gained to date has been hearsay and no facts that are conclusive have been brought to light, The Prosecution Division made a review of the evidence and recommended that the case be closed on the grounds of insufficient evidence.

The Investigation Division concurs in the recommendation of the Prosecution Division and considers this case closed.

C L O S E D

 

 

 

Acknowledgments: The authors would like express their gratitude to Fugetsu Shoya for his assistance transcribing the Japanese documents. Jonathan Bull’s research was supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Numbers JP 18K12493, JP 17H00924 and JP 19H04346; Steven Ivings’ research was partly supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Numbers JP 21H00557.

 

Works Cited:

Augustine, Matthew R.. 2017. “The Limits of Decolonization: American Occupiers and the “Korean Problem” in Japan, 1945-1948”. International Journal of Korean History (22/1): 43-73.

Bull, Jonathan. and Ivings, Steven. 2020. “Korean Repatriation and Historical Memory in Postwar Japan: Remembering the Ukishima-maru Incident at Maizuru and Shimokita”. The Asia-Pacific Journal Japan Focus 18 (21/5): 1-21.

Caprio, Mark, and Yu, Jia, 2009. “Occupation of Korea and Japan and the Origins of the Korean Diaspora in Japan”. In Sonia Ryang and John Lie. (eds.) Diaspora without Homeland: Being Korean in Japan. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Carruthers, Susan L.. 2016. The Good Occupation: American Soldiers and the Hazards of Peace. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press.

Choi, Deokhyo. 2021. “The Empire Strikes Back from Within: Colonial Liberation and the Korean Minority Question at the Birth of Postwar Japan, 1945–47”. The American Historical Review, 199: 1-30.

Chōsenjin Kyōsei Renkō Shinsō Chōsadan. 1974. Chōsenjin Kyōsei Renkō Shinsō Chōsa no Kiroku [Records of the Investigation into Korean Forced Labor] 6 volumes. Tōkyō: Kashiwa Shobō.

Dower, John. 1999. Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Aftermath of World War II. London: Penguin Books.

GHQ/SCAP Records, LS-39038 [Copy held in Maizuru City East Library]

Kim, Chanjong. 1984. Ukishima-maru Pusankō e mukawazu [Ukishima-maru: without heading to Pusan port]. Tōkyō: Kōdansha.

McNaughton, James C. 2006. Nisei Linguists: Japanese Americans in the Military Intelligence Service During World War II. Washington D. C.: United States Department of Defense.

Minear, Richard. and Seraphim, Franziska. 2015. “Hanaoka Monogatari: The Massacre of Chinese Forced Laborers, Summer 1945”. The Asia-Pacific Journal Japan Focus 13 (26/1): 1-46.

National Archives Catalog. 2021a. “Investigation Division Reports (No. 130) [Ukishima-maru Incident]”. [Accessed 6 Sept. 2021].

National Archives Catalog. 2021b. “Investigation Reports, 1945 – 1949”. [Accessed 6 Sept. 2021].

Pendas, Devin O. 2020. “Testimony”. In Miriam Dobson and Benjamin Ziemann. (eds.) Reading Primary Sources: The Interpretation of Texts from Nineteenth and Twentieth Century History (2nd ed.). Abingdon: Routledge.

Records of General Headquarters Far East Command; Assistant Chief of Staff, G-4564: Repairs and Alterations, Binder No. 3, 16 Oct 1949 - 31 Aug 1950. National Diet Library Online. [Accessed 12 Sept. 2021]

Shimokita no Shōgen wo Hakkan Suru Kai. 1992. Aigo no Umi – Ukishima-maru Jiken Shimokita kara no Shōgen [Crying Sea – Testimonies from Shimokita on the Ukishima-maru Incident]. Mutsu: Shimokita no Shōgen wo Hakkan Suru Kai.

Shinada, Shigeru. 2008. Bakuchin Ukishima-maru Rekishi no Fūka to Tatakau [Ukishima-maru Sank on Explosion: Fighting the Forgetting of History]. Tōkyō : Kōbunken.

Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, General Headquarters. 1952. History of the Nonmilitary Activities of the Occupation of Japan, 1945-1951: Trials of Class “B” and Class “C” War Criminals. Reprinted in: Nihon senryō GHQ seishi: B/C kyū senpan saiban, Dai 5 kan. (Tōkyō : Nihon Tosho Sentaa, 1990).

Takemae, Eiji (trans. R Ricketts and S. Swann). 2002. The Allied Occupation of Japan. New York: Continuum.

Totani, Yuma. 2008. The Tokyo War Crimes Trial: The Pursuit of Justice in the Wake of World War II. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Asia Center.

Ukishima-maru Junansha Tsuitō Jikkō Iinkai. 1989. Ukishima-maru Jiken no Kiroku [A Record of the Ukishima-maru Incident] Kyōto: Kamogawa Shuppan.

Underwood, William. 2006. “Names, Bones and Unpaid Wages (1): Reparations for Korean Forced Labor in Japan”. The Asia-Pacific Journal Japan Focus 4 (9): 1-25.

United States Department of State. 1946. Occupation of Japan’ Policy and Progress. Washington DC: Superintendent of Documents, US Government Printing Office.

Watt, Lori. 2009. When Empire Comes Home: Repatriation and Reintegration in Postwar Japan. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center.

Wilson, Sandra et al. 2017. Japanese War Criminals: The Politics of Justice After the Second World War. New York: Columbia University Press.

 

Related articles in The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus:

Korean Repatriation and Historical Memory in Postwar Japan: Remembering the Ukishima-maru Incident at Maizuru and Shimokita by Jonathan Bull and Steven Ivings

Exodus to North Korea Revisited: Japan, North Korea, and the ICRC in the “Repatriation” of Ethnic Koreans from Japan by Tessa Morris-Suzuki

Invisible Immigrants: Undocumented Migration and Border Controls in Early Postwar Japan by Tessa Morris-Suzuki

 

 

Jonathan Bull is a Lecturer at the Research Faculty of Media and Communication, Hokkaido University. His research focuses on the social and cultural history of the end of the Japanese empire and has been published in Japan Forum and Journal of Contemporary History.

Steven Ivings is an Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Economics, Kyoto University. His research mainly addresses aspects of the socioeconomic history of the Japanese empire and has been published in Japan Forum, The Canadian Journal of History, Labor History and Transcultural Studies.