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EAST ASIAN LANGUAGES AND CULTURES - "The 1923 Earthquake and Korean Massacre in Japan"

Event Type
Film Screening
Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures
Lucy Ellis Lounge, 1080 Foreign Languages Building
Nov 1, 2013   3:00 - 6:00 pm  
Free and open to the public.
Professor Robert Tierney or Jinhee Lee
E-Mail or
Originating Calendar
School of Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics Calendar

This event includes a screening and roundtable discussion on films about the 1923 Kanto earthquake--and ensuing massacre--of Koreans that took place in the Japanese capital.  Documentary films to be shown include "Hidden Scars: The Massacre of Koreans from the Arakawa River Bank to Shitamachi in Tokyo, 1923" and "The Disposed-Of Koreans: The Great Kanto Earthquake and Camp Narashino".  A roundtable discussion will feature: Poshek Fu, Professor of History, U of I; Jinhee Lee, Associate Professor of History, Eastern Illinois University; Robert Tierney, Associate Professor of Japanese Literature, U of I; and Roderick Wilson, Assistant Professor of Japanese History, U of I.  The 7.9 earthquake struck the Kanto Plain on the Japanese main island of Honshu at just before noon on Saturday, Sept. 1, 1923. Varied accounts indicate the duration of the earthquake was between 4 and 10 minutes. This was the deadliest earthquake in Japanese history, and at the time was the most powerful earthquake ever recorded in the region. This earthquake devastated Tokyo, the port city of Yokohama, and the surrounding prefectures of Chiba, Kanagawa, and Shizuoka, and caused widespread damage throughout the Kanto region. Because the earthquake struck at lunchtime when many people were cooking meals over fire, many people died as a result of the many large fires that broke out. The Home Ministry declared martial law, and ordered all sectional police chiefs to make maintenance of order and security a top priority. A false rumor spread was that Koreans were taking advantage of the disaster, committing arson and robbery, and were in possession of bombs. Anti-Korean sentiment was heightened by fear of the Korean independence movement, partisans of which were responsible for assassinations of top Japanese officials and other terrorist activity. In the confusion after the quake, mass murder of Koreans by mobs occurred in urban Tokyo and Yokohama, fueled by rumors of rebellion and sabotage. The government reported 231 Koreans were killed by mobs in Tokyo and Yokohama in the first week of September. Independent reports said the number killed was far higher, ranging from 6,000 to 10,000

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