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Koreans Also Died from the Hiroshima and Nagasaki Bombings

"Ten percent of the hundreds of thousands of victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were Korean. Most of them were forced laborers making guns and ammunition in the factories of the Japanese military. Others were landless farmers, mostly from Hapcheon, looking for employment in Japanese cities," says Kang Je Suk.

As secretary general of a group called Peace Project Network, her main aim is to achieve compensation for former forced laborers.

"That the victims of Hiroshima were not only Japanese is widely unknown in Japan and Korea. Japan sees itself as the only nation that was ever attacked with an atomic weapon. But Koreans and other Asians have also been hit," Kang says.

Many Koreans returned to Korea between 1945 and 1950.

"Those people were ignored by the Japanese and by the Korean government. Korean people were not welcoming them either," says Professor Han Hong Koo, a teacher of modern Korean history at Sungkonghoe University in Seoul.

"Some were accused of being pro-Japanese. At least they had been there."

Young people like Shin faced discrimination because their Korean was not so good. Of the 50,000 Korean survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki 43,000 went back to the Korean peninsula.

"There were rumors that the Japanese would kill those who wanted to stay in Japan," says Kim Il Jo. She was born in Kyoto, but had to move to Hiroshima. After being conscripted to work for the military she had married quickly to avoid being transferred to another city. When the bomb fell she was 18 years old.

Read entire article at Japan Focus