By Takashi Fujitani
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Additional resources for Race for Empire: Koreans as Japanese and Japanese as Americans during World War II
Yet even if we acknowledge this intention, it is difficult to deny the unintended or unavoidable consequences of officially expounding on the sameness of metropolitan Japanese and Koreans. 44 Though Japan’s Household Registration Law would be used after the war to exclude former colonial subjects living in Japan from voting and holding public office, in the colonial period the law did not prohibit Koreans residing in metropolitan Japan from participating in elections. Prewar and wartime election laws and regulations provided only that among other qualifications, voters and candidates for public office had to be “male subjects of the empire” (teikoku shinmin taru danshi) who had resided in the same voting district in metropolitan Japan for a set period of time.
Of course, not all Koreans living in Japan acquired the right to vote. The requirement that one had to be a resident in the same voting district for one year made it difficult for Koreans—who often introduction · 23 migrated as laborers in construction and mining—to qualify. Also, the minimum age requirement, twenty-five, disqualified a large segment of the population. 3 percent of the Korean population in Japan was eligible to vote in the 1928 election, as compared to 20 percent of the metropolitan Japanese.
The memorial’s point is unambiguous: Japanese Americans, both in battle and on the home front, remained loyal to the United States despite infringements on their civil rights and forced relocation to internment camps. An epigraph attributed to President Truman honors Nisei soldiers by proclaiming: “You fought not only the enemy but you fought prejudice—and you have won. S. and Japanese ethnic and colonial soldiers so differently, this book aims to show that during the Second World War their positions, as well as the respective regimes that called them national subjects and then mobilized them into service, were surprisingly similar.
Race for Empire: Koreans as Japanese and Japanese as Americans during World War II by Takashi Fujitani