In October 2018, the Supreme Court of Korea ruled against Nippon Steel regarding compensation for four victims of forced conscription during the Japanese colonial rule at 100 million won each, a total of 400 million won.
This is 35.8 million yen, and the Japanese government regulated the import of key semiconductor components from Korea in July 2019, starting with an immediate appeal. Accordingly, the Korean people started the ‘NO JAPAN’ campaign, a boycott of Japanese products, and the sales of many Japanese companies that entered the Korean market severely declined.
It emphasized that the possibility for improvement in the relationship between Japan and Korea, which only worsens, lies in the issue of compensation for forced labor. As a result of appealing the judgment against Nippon Steel, some assets of Nippon Steel are in danger of being forcibly sold, but the Japanese government is even considering a second wave of retaliation against this.
While the tension between both countries continues, controversy is rising as Lakai Korea, a Korean fashion company, is dealing directly with the issue of conscription workers. This is because the company posted a product titled ‘Gift only for the Japanese’ on a sales site in Japan, and when you click on the product, it describes the damages of forced labor from Japan in detail.
‘We will present you an opportunity to change your mind.’
Therefore, ‘present’ refers to the giving of an opportunity to change their minds by informing them about the victims of forced labor and making them realize what actually happened. In addition, 815円 sold a catalog containing the atrocities of Japan during the Japanese colonial period to let the Japanese people see and feel the pain caused.
Lakai Korea said that the number of Korean victims who were forcibly mobilized at the time was estimated to be around 1.03 million with 70,000 deaths. They posted the details of the damage through interviews stating that victims were even in their early teens, earned little wages, assaulted, tortured, and suffered from malnutrition. When they tried to run away after 12 hours of heavy labor a day, they were caught and abused, and many were killed, but nobody knows how their remains were handled.
However, the Japanese government has only avoided the issue of compensation for this forced labor, saying that there was no coercion, and have not even apologized in any way. The reason why the Japanese government claims that there was no coercion is because they recruited Koreans through advertisements such as “we will teach you skills” or “we will get you a job”. According to interviews with actual victims, what they did was far from legitimate labor. Even after the end of the contract, they were told not to think about returning home and forced to stay and work.
Lakai Korea reported that Japan is still inflicting irreparable wounds on Korean victims due to historical distortion claiming that there was no damage from forced labor. They asked ‘Would it have been possible to turn away from this true history if it were for you, your family, or your country?’
In addition, they are saying, ‘they will inform others of the endless evil behavior of Japan, who insists on distorted history while ignoring the truth.‘ Lakai Korea caused an extreme boycott of their products in Japan, and experienced receiving torn Taegeukgi and their own damaged products sent to them.
When asked why there are so many insults to be dealt with while simply spreading historical truth and if they were afraid, Lakai Korea said, “Fear is an emotion that Japan should feel when telling lies. We haven’t even started yet.”
Lakai Korea, which announced the Rising Sun Flag disposal project with the slogan “We will be your trash can” to people around the world this year, informed the world about the Rising Sun Flag, which symbolizes Japanese militarism, and the atrocities of Japan. They announced their intention to collect and incinerate all products related to the Rising Sun Flag asking ‘Would you like to use the Rising Sun Flag to justify wrongdoing?’ which caused issues in Japan in August.
The project of this small company, which began by telling true and accurate history, has the power to shake a country and is changing the world’s perception toward Korean companies.
In order to preserve national pride, admitting your faults must be the first step.
Before becoming the only remaining Asian country that distorts history and denies war crimes, if Japan quickly apologizes and pays compensation, Japan and Korea could remain good neighbors.