“The untold afflictions of the Korean immigrants coming into Manchuria will doubtless never be fully realized, even by those actually witnessing their distress. In the still closeness of a forty below zero climate in the dead of winter, the silent stream of white clad figures creeps over the icy mountain passes, in groups of tens, twenties and fifties, seeking a new world of subsistence, willing to take a chance of life and death in a hand-to-hand struggle with the stubborn soil of Manchuria’s wooded and stony hillsides. Here, by indefatigable efforts, they seek to extract a living by applying the grub axe and hand hoe to the barren mountain sides above the Chinese fields, planting and reaping by hand between the roots the sparse yield that is often insufficient to sustain life.
“Many have died from insufficient food. Not only women and children but young men have been frozen to death. Sickness also claims its toll under these new conditions of exposure. Koreans have been seen standing barefooted on the broken ice of a riverside fording place, rolling up their baggy trousers before wading through the broad stream, two feet deep, of ice cold water, then standing on the opposite side while they hastily readjust their clothing and shoes.
“Women with insufficient clothing, and parts of their bodies exposed, carry little children on their backs, thus creating a mutual warmth in a slight degree, but it is in this way that the little ones’ feet, sticking out from the binding basket, get frozen and afterwards fester till the tiny toes stick together. Old men and women, with bent backs and wrinkled faces, walk the uncomplaining miles until their old limbs refuse to call them further.
“Thus it is by
households they come, old and young, weak and
strong, big and little.... Babies have been born in wayside inns.
“In this way over 75,000 Koreans have entered during the past year, until the number of Koreans now living in both the north and western portions of Manchuria now totals nearly half a million."
[Footnote 2: Report
to the Presbyterian Board of Foreign
I have had occasion in previous chapters to make occasional reference to the work of the missionaries in Korea. It is necessary now to deal with them in detail, for they had become one of the great factors, and from the Japanese point of view one of the great problems, of the country.