- JunCture : 超域的日本文化研究 (ISSN:18844766)
- vol.6, pp.56-69, 2015-03-27
After the Great Kanto Earthquake of September 1923, the massacre of Korean residents was carried out by common Japanese influenced by groundless rumors and practices of discrimination. It is estimated that thousands of Koreans were killed, but the correct number is still unidentified. In carrying out this massacre, Japanese residents devised methods to distinguish Korean people from the Japanese. Various methods have been recorded, such as to make people repeat the names of Japanese Emperors or sing the Japanese national anthem. In this article, I will focus on one method: to make someone pronounce “15 yen 50 sen (jyuugoen gojissen)” in Japanese. This method was said to show a pronunciation difference between Korean and Japanese languages, and that if someone was Korean, she/he would pronounce the phrase as “chuukoen kochussen”. This method may have been invented by daily contacts between Japanese and Korean people before the earthquake. After the earthquake, this method spread with the diffusion of the groundless rumors throughout the Kanto district. This “15 yen 50 sen” method was documented with the memories of the Korean massacre afterwards by historians and writers. Nowadays, we hear ignominious calls such as “Kill the Korean”. In such situations, it is important to inspect the process of how such methods to distinguish people were created, and how they spread.