In April 1592, Japan launched an assault on Pusan of Korea by mobilizing a huge armed force, absurdly claiming that Korea was barring the way to the Ming dynasty of China. This sparked a war between Korea and Japan, known as the Imjin Patriotic War.
It was a heinous war of aggression, a state-sponsored war of massacre and a predatory war unprecedented in history. The premeditated aggression was the outcome of the insular nation’s greed for territory and policy of overseas invasion.
Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the ringleader of the then Japanese regime, drove his stooges to a war of aggression, putting up a murderous slogan “Kill all the Koreans!”
The Japanese marauders massacred Koreans wherever they set foot in Korea. In 1593, a unit of the Japanese aggressor army, unable to stand a ferocious attack from the Korean army, fled to a Korean fort and slaughtered the innocent inhabitants en masse, giving vent to their anger.
Here is a historical record about it: “There were only one or two of every 100 inhabitants who survived in the fort, and they looked just like a miserable, starving ghost. There were corpses of humans and horses here and there, and the stench was so nauseating that survivors had to cover their noses with hands walking in the street. There were piles of dead bodies in and around the fort, and both the government offices and private houses turned empty. What was left were heaps of ashes and broken pieces of roof tiles.”
In his seven-point proclamation, Toyotomi Hideyoshi issued an order to behead all foreigners, young and old, men and women, and send their heads to Japan as he wanted to make their grave. Later, he gave another savage order, which read: “Cut off the noses of the Koreans instead of heads as a man has two ears but one nose. I will allow the soldiers to capture Koreans alive only when each of them has cut off one doe (Korean unit of measurement equivalent to some 0.476 gallons) of Koreans’ noses.”
The Imjin Patriotic War is also called a war of abduction, a war of ceramics and a war of printing types because the Japanese aggressors kidnapped large numbers of technicians and looted cultural assets from Korea in the period.
The Japanese invaders set fire to the Kyongbok Palace (the royal palace of the feudal Joson dynasty) and the ancestral temple of the royal family, and unearthed the tombs of Songjong, the 9th King, and Jungjong, the 11th King of the feudal Joson dynasty, to plunder burial accessories there and burn the coffins. They also stole Korean treasures like art works and bells.
According to History of Japan, a book written by a Portuguese, even Japanese boatmen, carriers and low-class Japanese, to say nothing of the then brass hats of the Japanese aggressor forces, were hell-bent on making money by plundering cultural assets in Korea.
The situation was so deplorable that even a Japanese scholar confessed that Hideyoshi’s was a war for plundering the Korean cultural treasure and taking them to Japan.
The criminal acts committed by the Japanese aggressors during the Imjin Patriotic War were the outcome of the bloody brutality and robber-like qualities peculiar to Japan.
Even after their defeat in the war, the Japanese committed acts of aggression and plunder against Korea without letup. In the first half of the 20th century, they occupied Korea by force of arms and pursued a barbarous policy of exterminating the Korean nation. They also forced sufferings and deaths on a huge number of Koreans as cannon fodder for their war of aggression and as labour and sex slaves, and plundered Korea of an immeasurable amount of cultural assets and natural resources.
Far from reflecting on all sorts of criminal acts they committed in the past, Japan is trying to repeat its crime-ridden history, embellishing its history invested with aggression. Such shamelessness and impudence add fuel to the burning hatred of the entire Korean nation against Japan.