Instructor: Adam Ross

This is a fourteen-week project reveals the history of Hashima Island: the era when Koreans were forced to labor under Japanese. Painted in Acrylic Gouache on wood panel.

Tension grew between South Korea and Japan again when Hashima Island won UNESCO recognition in 2015. Hashima Island is a Japanese island that Koreans were forced to labor under severe and harsh condition during WWII. However, Japanese officials avoided using the phrase forced labor and instead used forced to work, which is a more colloquial Japanese expression.

This subject was featured on Korea’s TV entertainment show, “Infinity Challenge,” on September 12, 2015. The memorial for Koreans who died while working in Hashima Island can be found in Takashima Island, the same place where forced laborers were buried. The memorial can be only reached after finding an entrance which is almost impossible to identify due to an overgrown forest.

Hashima Island Series 1 contains a controversial image: the rising sun flag. “The usage of those flags remains very controversial as they are associated with Japanese imperialism and specifically with the invasion of China and colonial rule in Korea”. Despite the history, the flag remains in use. The sunrise of the Japanese Rising Sun Flag and the sunset of Korean flag represents the situation of Hashima Island at the time.

︎ Association if Illustrators
︎ Design Indaba
︎ The Guardian

Hashima Island Series 111 exhibited at the private view exhibition at the AOI, photo by Dan Weill

© Eun Jung Bahng 2019