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Battle of Chingshanli

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Title: Battle of Chingshanli  
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Battle of Chingshanli

Battle of Qingshanli
Part of the Korean Independence Movement
Date October 21–28, 1920
Location Qīngshānlǐ, Jílín, China
Result Inconclusive
Imperial Japanese Army Korea Northern military administration office army,
Korea Korea independent army
Commanders and leaders
Tomotake Takashima
Masahiko Azuma
Naoaki Isobayashi
Masuzō Kimura
Kim Jwa-jin
Lee Beom-seok
Hong Beom-do
An Mu
5,000 about 3,000[1][2][3]
Casualties and losses
Japanese record:[4]
11 killed and 24 wounded
Korean record:[5]
812 ~ 1,200 killed and 2,000 wounded, 200 disappeared[dubious ]
130 killed[6] and 90 wounded

The Battle of Qingshanli was fought over six days in October 1920 between the Imperial Japanese Army and Korean armed groups in a densely-wooded region of eastern Manchuria called Qīngshānlǐ (Japanese: 青山里, Seizanri, Korean: 청산리, Cheongsanri). It occurred during the campaign of the Japanese army in Jiandao, during Japanese rule of Korea (1910–1945).


After the March 1st Movement of 1919 by Koreans calling for liberation from Japanese occupation, some Korean activists formed an independence army. The Japanese government asked China to subdue them but got no substantive result.

On October 2, 1920, independence forces raided Hun-ch'un and killed 13 Japanese including the commissioner of the consulate police. In response, Japan decided to send troops to eastern Manchuria. Japan immediately held talks with China, and on October 16 received permission for military action in eastern Jilin from the governor of Jilin.

Status of the battles

The Japanese forces who joined the expedition were that of the 19th Division of the Army, the 28th Brigade of the 19th Division, which was on its way back to Japan, and two units from the 11th and 13th Divisions who had been sent to Vladivostok.

Among them, only the 19th Division of the Army launched an actual military operation and the rest just held a lockdown and a demonstration. The 19th Division was deployed in Hunchun (Isobayashi Detachment), Wangqing (Kimura Detachment) and Yanji-Helong (Azuma Detachment). The Isobayashi and Kimura detachments engaged in no major combat.

From October 21 to 23, the Northern military administration office army (Hangul: 북로군정서군, Hanja: 北路軍政署軍) led by Kim Jwa-jin lured some of Japanese soldiers and attacked them in Baiyunping (白雲坪), Quanshuiping (泉水坪) and Wanlougou (完樓溝). Although the Korean force was small and used guerilla warfare, they were victorious. The Japanese force, who were defeated by the Korean Independent Army, appealed for help to the Azuma Detachment. They were rushed in for the relief of the remnants to fight against the Korean Independence Army.

The Azuma Detachment engaged in combat with the Korean Independence Army from October 23. The Northern military administration office army united Korea independent army led by Hong Beom-do in the struggle against Japanese force. The Korean troops had the Japanese Azuma Detachment at a disadvantage, and the two forces plunged into the final battle in the Yulang town (漁郎村). The Korean army claimed to have killed 1,200 Japanese soldiers, and wounded thousands of others on October 26. As a result, the Japanese retreated from the area of operation.


Hun-ch'un massacre

South Korea views the Hun-ch'un Incident as a deception by Japan, who they believe used it as an excuse to despatch troops.

According to Korean sources, the Japanese army bribed a bandit leader named Ch'ang-chiang-hao and made him attack Hun-ch'un. The Japanese victims were incidentally attacked by bandits who were enticed to the raid by Ch'ang-chiang-hao and were not under his control.

Casualties of the Japanese army

Japanese sources claim 11 dead and 24 wounded, and no officer casualties. These numbers are repeated by the list of the dead of the Yasukuni Shrine. Japanese investigation of weapons of the 19th Division after the expedition claims that the Japanese army consumed little.

The only Japanese soldier Korean sources name was "Regimental Commander Kanō." "The Bloody History of the Korean Independence Movement" states that a secret paper by a Japanese consul reported Regimental Commander Kanō's death, although Japan has not revealed such a report so far. Japan claims the only man corresponding to "Regimental Commander Kanō" was Colonel Nobuteru Kanō, who served as commander of the 27th regiment, and that his name cannot be found in the casualty list, but is said to have led the regiment until 1922. Moreover, two months after the Battle of Qingshanli, the regiment commanded by Colonel Kanō captured one Korean. This event is recorded in a secret telegraph from the Japanese consulate in Qingshanli on November 13, 1920.[7]

On the contrary, South Koreans refer to this battle as the "great victory at Cheongsalli" and consider it a victory of the Independence Army.[8] For the casualties of the Japanese army, Chosun Doknip Undongji Hyulsa by Bak Inseok (1920) states "900-1,600 including Regimental Commander Kanō," Daehan Minguk jeongdangsa compiled by the National Election Commission (1964) "over 1,000," Hanguk jeonjaengsa by the Military History Compilation Committee of the Ministry of National Defense (1967) "3,300 dead and wounded," and Hanguk Minjok Undongsa by Jo Jihun (1975) "3,300 including Regimental Commander Kanō."




  • JACAR Ref.C03022770200, Chōsengun Shireibu (朝鮮軍司令部): Kantō shuppeishi (間島出兵史)
  • Sasaki Harutaka (佐々木春隆): Kankoku dokuritsu undōshi jō no "Seizanri taisen" kō (韓国独立運動史上の「青山里大戦」考), Gunji shigaku (軍事史学), Vol.15 No. 3, pp. 22–34, 1979.
  • Sasaki Harutaka (佐々木春隆): Chōsen sensō zenshi to shite no Kankoku dokuritsu undō no kenkyū (朝鮮戦争前史としての韓国独立運動の研究), 1985.

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