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Byung Mook Chang
Korea-Japanese Army 20th Division

This letter was written by Korean Byung Mook Chang who was forcefully conscripted to serve with the Japanese Army, and was sent to New Guinea. It is address to the government of Papua New Guinea and its people:

Long ago I was forced to join the malicious and cruel-some army of Japan. I was dragged far away from my homeland [of Korea] to Papua New Guinea but happened to survived miraculously. I state here about those miserable moments of battle and would particularly like to accuse the current Japanese government for its inhumane lack of responsibility.

A half century has already passed since the brutal so called 'Pacific War' and the Japanese surrender. Papua New Guinea had to suffer pains of the war and therefore I would firstly like to wish the people of Papua New Guinea its prosperity.

D-Day for the raid on Papua New Guinea was January 1942. I was a soldier in the 20th Division of Korea-Japan United Army. I was forcefully recruited in Seoul and was sent to eastern New Guinea, and for three years was without anything to eat, without any necessary equipment, suffering from malaria and with so many war wounds to travel through the deep jungle. I managed to survive miraculously through this hell. I was the only one who returned home with my full body among my whole squadron. There in eastern New Guinea, five thousand Korean men (including me) were forcefully recruited died in battle without any justice and without any value. They were mercilessly slaughtered and were made to rot.

No sooner than we landed on the shore, then the Japanese lost total control of the air. Ration and supply routes were also cut. The situation grew worse and the Japanese army lost whenever they fought. The desperate Japanese Army with three divisions was finally ordered to launch an attack on the Australian 6th Division and American 32nd Division in Hollanida and Aitape area. Japanese struggled but the battled ended miserably [at Drinimor River] with only 3% of the total Japanese force surviving. This was the final military action of Japan in Eastern New Guinea area. How foolish and insane a war it was.

Remnants of the Japanese army dispersed and fled in hunger and hid themselves in the jungle area called Boiken and tried to stay alive as long as they could. remnants out of hunger those Japanese remnants finally attacked the local villagers stealing yams, potatoes, Yimo [?], Sak-Sak [Sago], papaya, coconuts or whatever they could devour. They robbed all the villages until they turned to total ruins. However in that desperate situation the United Army (Allies) continued to hunt down the remaining Japanese. Remnants lost all hope, some committed suicide and some others grew insane out of hunger, killed fellow soldiers and miserably earned their living off human flesh. These incidents became frequent when the Japanese Army became desperate and went hunting for human flesh. They called white soldiers a 'white pig', black soldiers and villagers 'black pig'. They turned into cannibal beasts.

I witnessed those moment and even went far enough to almost eating flesh myself. I saw smoke rising from a hut in the jungle near the village called Yangora. Without any thought I entered the hut and when I did, three Japanese soldiers were cooking and devouring dark meat out of a local made clay [pot]. They told me it was boar meat, and I should try it. I sat by them and when I was just about to bite it, I saw the bleeding headless flesh, probably a local village woman thrown into the woods. I jumped and ran away immediately. They were finally slaying the innocent local people and were filling their dirty stomachs with human flesh. How can a man possible eat another? I was shocked and horrified by the inhuman cruelty of the Japanese.

The moment I saw the headless woman, I forgot all my hunger and felt nausea and wanted to vomit instead. I ran away madly but upon hearing a gunshot, I looked back and they were furiously eating flesh of their like. After sometime, rumor said that they all killed themselves. Because of these inhuman misdeeds, after the war, it is said that the number of Japanese war crimes from Eastern New Guinea area outnumbered the total number of the whole Japanese war criminals.

Another ridiculous incident also occurred. One day in the morning, Japanese tried to buy a young village leader named Louis, giving him an official badge and sword of a Japanese Army Lieutenant, and made two other local men armed with rifles to guard him. These men were then sent to the nearby villages and were made to help Japanese steal food and other goods. But many people knew that the Japanese were on the edge of a cliff [about to loose the war], so they choose to run away to the United [Allied] side.

As the life of the whole Japanese Army was at the brink of extinction, they lost all their human nature and turned into a group of slayers and thieves. They ruined all the villages by burning, killing, stealing and even eating native innocent people. My fellow Koreans survivors and I witnessed clearly every moment of it.

After the war, Japanese War Criminals and the highest military personnel in the East New Guinea area, including their commander General Hatazo Adachi committed suicide during the trial by the United Military Law Office (Allies). This was all to conceal his inhuman cannibal activities and also to save his subordinate officers. His confession written just before his death proves this fact. In his written confession [he states] "I am solely responsible for the cannibal act that happened during the service."

Of course I know that your Papua New Guinea government have a sole right to claim for full compensation for the savages Japanese Army and its brutal sins and I am also aware that I'm in no position to interfere with such matters but I strongly believe that the Japanese government must offer satisfactory compensation for all their past wrong doings.

For I have become disabled and my body is full of wounds because of vicious Japan. I have for the past half century tried to meet Japanese policy makers for the right compensation and an apology, but all I ever get from those immoral Japanese are a bunch of stupid answers. I hope that they are at least treating you politely but what I am really worried about is the fact that your nation has been under the protection of the UN and that has eventually made you forget about your right to claim for compensation for savages crimes done by the Japanese Army.

[Now that a half century has passed] The current Japanese government is trying to cover up and conceal their misdeeds by offering some of your nation's people with cheap skills and used cars. They are also offering travelers from the victim area cheap watches, radios and food. They are trying to blind your eyes and at the same time pursuing to find the bones of their dead and are planning to build a monument all without felling any shame. But I urge you to never be blindfolded by their cunning ideas, but at once claim for the immediate prosecution of the related figures of their misdeeds, and for full compensation, and show truthful attitude of apology and reeducate their people about their dirty past history. This is the one and only right way that we all can coexist in real peace.

Finally, the thing that we [Korean soldiers] will never ever forget is the amenities and endless help that the local people of your nation offered us when we were running away from the evil hands of the Japanese. We deeply thank them on our knees and in our tears. We gravely apologize and beg mercy for all the wrong doings on your people that we were forced and made to do. In addition we gratefully wish an endless blessing on your new country, Papua New Guinea, and finally hope all your people happiness in the new millennium.

Yours truly,

Click For EnlargementByung Mook Chang
Born June 2, 1922
Seoul, Republic of Korea

Korean Memorial was built in Kovoy
Dedicated in 2002 to Koreans serving in the Japanese Army in New Guinea

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