Fleeing from the Kantō Massacre and Its Psychological Aftermath

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S/N Korean Humanities Vol.6 No.1 pp.125-144 ISSN : 2384-0668(Print)
ISSN : 2384-0692(Online)

Chong Yongsu
Korea University of Japan

Received January 3, 2020; Revised version received February 24, 2020; Accepted February 28, 2020


This paper examines the survivors’ and bereaved families' experiences of the Kantō Massacre in September 1923 and seeks to draw a connection between said experiences and their movements after the tragedy, focusing on the fear planted in the ethnic Koreans as psychological damage caused by the massacre. This fear manifested itself in various physical behaviors such as fleeing, hiding, or pretending to be Japanese, which defined the lives of the traumatized ethnic Koreans long after the massacre. Although the facts of the massacre had been disseminated throughout the Korean community by students and workers, what was significant in the memory of the massacre was the repeated issue of rumors about and persecution of Koreans in Japan even after the Great Kantō Earthquake. The situation worsened after Japan’s final defeat in the war and led to the rise of fears among the ethnic Koreans of being massacred, which led to the resurgence of ethnic Koreans fleeing as they had during and immediately following the Kantō Earthquake.

Key Words : Kantō Massacre, ethnic Koreans in Japan, flight, fear, trauma

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