Japan’s Plundering of Korean Bells

From olden times, the Korean ancestors hanged a larger number of elegant and excellent bells in different parts of the country by steadily developing the metal casting technology.

Japan, which set overseas aggression as its major policy, made frequent inroads into Korea from the period of Koryo dynasty (918-1392) and plundered many Korean bells.

The Japanese re-inscribed letters on over ten bells which had plundered from Korea. Over half of them carried the inscription of the years between 1367 and 1381. This shows that their plundering of Korean bells got rampant in the closing years of Koryo dynasty.

They became more hell-bent on plundering Korean bells during the Imjin Patriotic War (1592-1598).

They launched a large-scale armed invasion against Korea. While indulging in killing Koreans and setting fires wherever they went, they looted at random Korean bells in the Buddhist temples and put them on the temples in their country.

As a result, bells invested with the resourcefulness and talents of the Korean nation were left a little.

The Japanese themselves did not conceal the fact that they had more Korean bells in their country than in Korea.

Sekino Tadashi, a Japanese government-patronized historian, said that as a good many temple bells of Koryo dynasty had been passed on in Japan, they could study the forms of copper bells in the days of Koryo, thus admitting that Japan had plundered a large number of Korean bells in different ages.

Fujita Ryosaku, a part-time worker at the historical site survey department of the Japanese government-general during the military occupation of Korea, wrote in his article “Koryo Culture” that all the temple bells regarded as the national treasures of Japan were those made in the period of Koryo and that fewer were found in Korea, and thus proved that Sekino Tadashis’s record was a hard fact.

The Japanese ruling circles designated many Korean bells as their “national treasures” and are now insisting that they are of their own make.

All these facts clearly prove that they made desperate efforts to obliterate the cultural traditions of the Korean nation, while laying bare their history of deep-rooted aggression and plundering of Kore

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