The Korean film Battleship Island in the Japanese news

Today, I have read an article on the NHK News Web about the Korean film untitled Battleship Island who came out today (July 26th) in Korea.

Read the article

Battleship Island is a way to call Hashima Island, an uninhabited island in the prefecture of Nagasaki where Koreans were used as forced labourers by Mitsubishi from the 1930’s until the end of World War II. The island is now inscribed as a World Unesco Heritage site and photos of the remaining concrete buildings are quite impressive.

To understand the first two paragraphs of the article, we need to know some advanced vocabulary:

  • 炭鉱・たんこう coal mine (which were situated on the island)
  • 徴用・ちょうよう requisition, impressment. The term  徴用工・ちょうようこう is used to describe the Korean forced labourers.
  • ~をめぐって concerning, in regard to

… and some grammar like the causative-passive form: 働かされた・はたらかされた which is the shortened form of 働かせられた and means something like “were made to work”.

  • 軍艦島・ぐんかんじま Battleship Island. (another name of Hashima Island, and title of the Korean film)
  • 長崎市・ながさきし Nagasaki
  • 端島炭鉱・はしまたんこう. The first two characters are Hashima, and the last two mean “coal mine”.
  • 過酷な・かこくな cruel, harsh
  • 坑内・こうない within a mine shaft
  • 閉じ込める・とじこめる to lock up, to shut up
  • 爆殺・ばくさつ killing in a bombing
  • 察知する・さっちする to sense (danger)
  • 脱出・だっしゅつ escape

To summarise the first two paragraphs of the article, the Korean film Battleship Island takes as subject 題材・だいざい the Korean forced labourers 徴用工 who were “made to work” in the Japanese coal mines 炭鉱. At the end of the war 終戦・しゅうせん the Japanese army, in order to hide the existence of these labourers, plans to lock them up 閉じ込める in the mine shaft 坑内 and kill them by explosion 爆殺. Sensing danger 察知, the labourers try to escape 脱出.

The article then says that starring big Korean stars, the film promises 見込み・みこみ to become a blockbuster ヒット作.  Among the spectators of the first day, were a girl in her twenties who said that things that occurred on the island were not all made public yet: 明らかになる・あきらかになる means “to become clear”, “to be made public”. A man in his fifties said that Japan had to make apologies 謝罪・しゃざい.

Koreans who were forced-labourers in Japanese industry at that time or their bereaved families 遺族・いぞく keep taking action against 相手取る・あいてどる Japanese enterprises to ask for compensation 賠償・ばいしょう for the damage 損害・そんがい. The article then concludes that the film will raise a negative 否定的・ひていてき public opinion 世論・よろん about Japan’s past history.

That’s it for the article! The release of Battleship Island seems to be quite an issue in Japan as I saw many articles on the subject. It certainly won’t help appeasing the relationship between Japan and Korea…

If you are interested in the film, which does feature Korean drama’s stars, here are the two trailers: