Saturday, December 10, 2005

August 24, 1942 archives: Straight to the armpit

Kilsoo K. Haan, U.S. representative of both the admittedly revolutionary Korean National Front Federation and the Sino-Korean Peoples' League, is Korea's most vocal Washington spokesman. He is short and 42; he wears rimless spectacles and is given to loud, figured ties. He is often heard, seldom heeded. But last week Kilsoo Haan came into his own.

Papers throughout the U.S. featured his "secret report" that a young Korean patriot had shot and slightly wounded Japanese Premier Hideki Tojo on June 17. The would-be assassin's second shot went wild, but seriously wounded onetime Premier Koki Hirota. As Tojo was carried to the hospital with a wound "under the left armpit," the patriot, whose name was Park Soowon, was shot full of holes by Japanese police, who in the process brought down the Japanese ace, Major Yuzo Fujita, and two Japanese photographers. Tokyo police succeeded in rounding up go-odd members of a Korean terrorist group that has been operating in Yokohama, Tokyo and Osaka, but, said Kilsoo Haan, "their number is legion, and they will continue to operate."

Although his scoop had yet to be confirmed, Kilsoo Haan was serenely confident that it would be. As evidence of its plausibility, he drew up a list of Korean acts of terrorism. The list was more notable for length than for accuracy. Most impressive of the checkable acts was the 1932 bombing of a reviewing stand in Shanghai after a parade in honor of Japan's Emperor: General Yoshinori Shirakawa lost his life, Minister to China Mamoru Shigemitsu his leg and Admiral Kichisaburo Nomura his right eye. Author of that bombing was one In Hokichi. As for most other Korean terrorists, their aim was no better than Park Soowon's.

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