The Japanese imperialists, after their military occupation of Korea (1905-1945), buckled down to obliterating the folk music of the Korean nation with long traditions with an eye to dispiriting them and turning them into “subjects of the Japanese empire”.
They were mainly aimed at the progressive Korean songs and singers, their direct propagator.
They left no stone unturned to prevent the Korean singers from singing the songs reflecting their national spirit.
A typical example was that they prohibited the Koreans from singing Balsam and other songs representative of their national feelings.
The reason was that those songs inspired them with patriotism and anti-Japanese sentiments, that is, the songs detrimental to their colonial rule.
They also issued an order forbidding Arirang, a popular song of the Korean people. They checked the dissemination of any songs that were offensive to their feelings, and mercilessly oppressed singers spreading them among the masses.
They arrested a popular singer who was renowned for her good singing Lost Home Village, a folk song of the northwestern provinces of Korea, and tortured her in cold blood before killing her in the jail.
Meanwhile, they made desperate efforts to spread reactionary songs paralyzing the sound minds and spirit of the Korean people and infusing degeneracy, hedonism, nihilism, pessimism, corruption and principle of non-resistance among them.
They forced the Koreans to sing their folk songs only under their permission and in Japanese and, in case of disobedience to the rule, ruthlessly arrested and imprisoned them.
From the latter half of the 1930s, they put all the Korean songs into Japanese before recording them with a view to restraining the Korean people from singing their songs reflecting the idea and feelings of their nation.
Japan can never evade the responsibility for its past crime to stamp out the folk music of the Korean nation.