The Korea Herald


Singer Kim Jang-hoon promotes history of ‘Battleship Island’ in Japan concert

By Yoon Min-sik

Published : May 1, 2017 - 16:39

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Kim Jang-hoon on Monday said he held a history-themed concert in Japan about the forced Korean laborers during World War II on Hashima Island, better known as Gunkanjima or “Battleship Island,” on Sunday.

According to the Korean singer, the concert in Fukuoka, Japan was held in cooperation with the labor union of KB Securities.

“I’ve been meaning to hold a concert in Japan for Koreans in the country and Japanese people who are persecuted by the Japanese far-right, but I wasn’t able to get a permit. Now I’ve found a way,” he wrote in his Facebook page. 

Kim Jang-hoon performs during his concert in Fukuoka, Japan on Sunday. (Kim Jang-hoon’s Facebook page) Kim Jang-hoon performs during his concert in Fukuoka, Japan on Sunday. (Kim Jang-hoon’s Facebook page)

Kim is also an activist promoting Korea’s modern history, especially human rights violations by Japan during World War II. This includes women sexually enslaved by Japan and Koreans forced to work at the industrial sites on Hashima Island.

Japan’s success in registering the island as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2015 was strongly opposed by Korea on grounds that it was a site of human rights violations of the Korean workers that occurred there.

Seoul government withdrew its opposition after Japan acknowledged that a large number of Koreans and others were brought there against their will and were forced to work under harsh conditions. Tokyo also said it was prepared to incorporate measures to remember the victims.

“Although Japan has promoted it as it as the fruit of its industrial revolution, it was actually called a hell island. Numerous Koreans were forcibly brought there in the 1940s, and hundreds died in an inhumane working environment,” said Kim.

Upcoming Korean movie about the island called “Gunhamdo (Battleship Island),” set for release in July, has already sparked a backlash from right-leaning media in Japan. It claimed that the film is attempting to distort history.

Director Ryoo Seung-wan denied such claims, and said it was strictly based on historical fact.

By Yoon Min-sik