Gaikin V. A. Korean “collective farms” in Manchukuo (1932-1945) . // The Russian Peasant Studies. 2022. V.7. №4. P. 33-46.
The article describes the “collective villages” of Korean immigrants in Manchuria. These agricultural enterprises supplied products to the Kwantung Army and Japan. In 1944, 24,000 families of ‘collective’ immigrants lived in Northeast China (10% of Korean immigrants in Manchukuo). They all depended on the Japanese colonial structures which supplied the peasants with essentials and agricultural equipment, taking most of the harvest. The villages of Japanese settlers were of military-strategic importance. They were created on the territories at the border of the USSR as a stronghold of the colonial power and to control Manchuria. Korean colonists did not inspire much confidence in the colonizers, the Korean “collective farms” were to provide food for the Japanese expansion. Japanese officials simulated a virtual transfer of land as a property to Korean tenants. The belief in obtaining land (leased to Koreans) after paying off all loans to the Japanese company motivated the peasants to work productively. In fact, the loans were an instrument of enslaving the peasants. Promises to give them land after the loans were paid off were a phantom ‘carrot’ looming ahead. Loans of the “collective villages” were often used to pay off previous loans. The “collective farmers” got bogged down in debt bondage. The spatial design of such a village was a closed rectangle convenient for observation and control, which ensured the social isolation of villagers. By the late 1930s, collective villagers began to realize that they were victims of the Japanese colonial scam, which led to numerous exits from the “collective farms” (flight of Koreans).
Manchukuo, Korea, collective villages, agriculture, Korean settlers, Japanese colonial policy, anti-Japanese guerrillas.
About the author
Viktor A. Gaikin, Senior Researcher, Institute of History, Archeology and Ethnography of the Peoples of the Far East (Far-Eastern Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences). Pushkinskaya St., 89, Vladivostok, 690001, Russia.