Forced Mobilization

Contribute to national reconciliation, peace, and human rights development.

Non-military Laborer Mobilization


Workers at various industrial sites who were mobilized organizationally, collectively, violently

The laborers were workers at various industrial sites who were mobilized organizationally, collectively, violently, and deliberately pursuant to the ‘Full National Mobilization Act’ promulgated in Apr. 1938. They were pressed into service on the Korean Peninsula, Japan and China (Manchuria, China, Hainan Island) as well as South Sakhalin, Southeast Asia and the Pacific (South Seas Mandate) to work in military supply factories, military construction and civil engineering sites, coal and metal mines, port transportation facilities, and collective farms. Forced labor for coal mining was most common with the greatest number working on the Korean Peninsula and Japan. Women were also a part of the mobilized laborers as ‘women drafted for military sexual slavery’.

There were three avenues for mobilizing laborers: quota recruitment (allocated recruitment), government placement, and a national draft, all of which were executed by governmental authority. For laborer mobilization, Japanese companies submitted the number of required workers to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, which allocated laborers and authorized hiring. The companies with authorization filed for a permit for recruitment to the Joseon General Government, which adjusted the requested number of laborers and collaborated with company personnel to recruit laborers in designated areas and collectively transport them on a ship.

Status of Laborer Mobilization
(Unit: person)
Status of Laborer Mobilization: Total, National Draft, Allocated Recruitment, Government Placement
Total National Draft Allocated Recruitment, Government Placement
Japan Korean Peninsula South Japan Korean Peninsula South Sakhalin South Sea Islands Manchuria
7,534,429 222,082 303,824 135 798,043 6,184,643 16,113 5,931 3,658

[Source: 『Committee Activity Report』, the Committee for the Victims of the Forced Mobilization during Resistance to Japan and the Casualties from the Overseas Forced Mobilization, 2016, Page 128.]