International Journal of Korean History (Feb 2017)

The Tokyo Trial and the Question of Colonial Responsibility: Korean Reactions to Allied Justice in Occupied Japan

  • Young-hwan Chong

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 22, no. 1
pp. 77 – 105


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This article examines how the zainichi Korean media and organizations responded to the Tokyo Trial and its pursuit of war responsibility. Their critiques of the Tokyo Trial often presented a critical insight from the perspective of anti-colonialism. Zainichi Koreans correctly questioned the absence of colonial responsibility in the pursuit of justice and war responsibility in the trial. In this sense, the problems and limits of the Tokyo Trial that scholars started to “discover” in the 1970s had already been discussed by some zainichi Koreans in the late 1940s. By delving into previously under-explored historical sources, particularly the numerous newspapers published by zainichi Korean groups during the occupation period, this article demonstrates how zainichi Korean critics understood the limits of the Tokyo Trial beyond the binary of “victors' justice” and “the judgment of civilization.”