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The participation in the Korean War of Japanese Laborers and their repatriation in the US military Bases in Japan

Yang Yong-Jo 1

1국방부군사편찬연구소

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This study is about the participation and activity in the Korean War of Japanese Laborers in the US military Bases in Japan and repatriation after the war. When the US ground troops were decided to join, some of the Japanese laborers who had been employed at the US military bases moved to Korea with the US troops. Most of them volunteered for themselves went to the South Korea following the US troops by recommendation of the US troops' officials. These were not officially organized by the US forces but went to Korea for personal reasons. Strictly speaking, their move to the South Korea was illegal. These fact is confirmed in the public statement by General MacArthur that is impossible legally for the Japanese to join the United Nations' forces. Their motivations were analyzed as volunteering to supported US troops's, to earn money, to get a chance to go to America, or to vaguely get better opportunities. The number of laborers working at Japanese US military bases identified in the materials up to is 76. In each unit, 20 members in 24th division, 6 members in 25th division, 7 members in 1th cavalry division, 11 members in another units, and 10 members in unidentified unit were counted. However, it is assumed that there were many missing persons or deaths that were not included because they were often blocked or surrendered to the rear depending on the situation. Since the US troops did not record the loss report or obligation to the Japanese laborer at that time, no date has been confirmed so far. They carried out the combat service support under the strict control of the US military in the rear of the Korean front, as practiced at the US military bases in the Japan, and helped the US military in the role of helping, cooking, washing, technical support, driving, and interpreting. However, if the troops were in crisis or threatened by their own personal identifies, it is confirmed that they has also participated in the battle action with a pre-paid rifle. A Japanese laborer had been awarded Purple Hart Medal by the US government for the first time in seven months, killing at least 20 enemies on the front line and wounding. Their first existence was in December 1950 when the United Nations troops was at stake. In December 1950, the United Nations Command ordered that it should be reported immediately if there were Japanese Laborers in the United Nations ground troops. The measure of the United Nations command was based on the assumption that if the existence of Japanese Laborers was known to the Communist side, the United States would be stuck with international politics. The process of returning Japanese Laborers to Japan was also throughly managed by each Command or Unit. As a result, they returned to Japan in February 1951.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.