Christmas as a prisoner of war.

The Chungkai Camp was operated by the Japanese during World War Two, and prisoners – including soldiers from Britain and the Commonwealth – were made to work on the Burma–Thailand Railway.

This “Christmas card” is in the collection of London’s Imperial War Museum, and was created in either 1943 or 1944. It depicts Father Christmas in a loincloth, carrying a sack of presents through a bamboo fence.

It was very dangerous to make images while a prisoner in the camp. One prisoner, Jack Chalker, reported his sketches of camp life being discovered by a Korean guard. Chalker was beaten for days as punishment.

the-chungkai-camp-was-operated-by-the-japanese-during-world-war-two-this-christmas-card-is-in-the-collection-of-londons-imperial-war-museum-and-was-created-in-either-1943-or-1944

Christmas Propaganda

As the Korean War entered its second year, and the second Christmas of the conflict came close, the Chinese government produced Christmas-themed propaganda leaflets to be spread amongst United Nations forces.

This leaflet is from 1951. It would be another year and a half before the war ended.

Whatever the colour, race or creed,

All plain folks are brothers indeed.

Both you and we want life and peace,

If you go home, the war will cease.

Demand Peace!

Stop the War!

X

china_christmas_card_korean_warleaflet-christmas-card-from-the-chinese-peoples-army-u-s-air-force-photo-1951

On this day: the assassination of Durham Stevens

DurhamWhiteStevensAmerican diplomat Durham Stevens was attacked by Korean independence activists Jang In-hwan and Jeon Myeong-un on the 23rd of March, 1908. He died two days later. 1903 Photograp.

Durham Stevens in 1903 X

American diplomat Durham Stevens was attacked by Korean independence activists Jang In-hwan and Jeon Myeong-un on the 23rd of March, 1908. He died two days later.

A picture of Jang In-hwan, assassin of Durham Stevens, taken while the subject was living in the United States. 1907A picture of Jeon Myeong-un, assassin of Durham Stevens, taken while the subject was living in the United States. 1907.

Jang In-hwan and Jeon Myeong-un, both photographed in 1907.

Both Korean men had moved to the United States, and the attack took place at the Fairmont San Francisco.

Stevens, who had been employed by Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, had spoken out in favour of Japanese influence in Korea, and Japan’s annexation of the Korean peninsula.

1907 view of the Fairmont Hotel from Powell Street San Francisco

The Fairmont San Francisco in 1907 X

Japan’s annexation and occupation of Korea was complete two years after Stevens’ death.

Stevens is remembered by Koreans as a traitor to their sovereignty, though at the time of his assassination many spoke out in his favour.