Battle of Qingshanli

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 the Japanese rule of Korea (1910–1945).

Battle of Qingshanli
Part of the Korean Independence Movement
DateOctober 21–26, 1920
Qīngshānlǐ, Jílín, China
Result Both sides claim their victory

Empire of Japan Japan


  • Northern Military Administration Office Army
  • Korean Independence Army
Commanders and leaders
Tomotake Takashima
Masahiko Azuma
Naoaki Isobayashi
Masuzō Kimura
Kim Jwa-jin
Lee Beom-seok
Hong Beom-do
An Mu
30,000 About 3,000[1][2][3]
Casualties and losses

Japanese record:[4]
11 killed
24 wounded

Korean record:[5]
812~1,200 killed
3,300 wounded
200 disappeared[dubious ]
60 killed[6]
90 wounded


After the March 1st Movement of 1919 by Koreans calling for liberation from Japanese occupation, some Korean activists formed an independence army in Manchuria. The Japanese government asked China to subdue them but got no substantive result.[7][8][9]

On October 2, 1920, the Independence Army 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.[10][11][12]

Status of the battles according to Korean sourcesEdit

The Japanese forces who joined the expedition were 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 Choson Army of Japan, part of the Imperial Japanese Army garrisoned in Korea, launched an actual military operation and the rest contained a lockdown and a demonstration. The 19th Division was deployed to 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 (Korean북로군정서군; 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 on October 23. The Northern military administration office army united the 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 fought 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, though the number of casualties during the battle is still debated on. As a result of the battle, Korean forces retreated from the area and the Japanese army kept pursuing them.

In response to these claims, Kim Hak-Cheor (also known as Song Jin-woo), who participated in many battles as a member of the armed group for the independence of Korea, argued that the number of Japanese casualties was exaggerated by a factor of 300 or more. According to him, when Korean independence forces encountered the Japanese army, they lost 9 out of 10 times, and even if they won, they could only kill 2 or 3 Japanese soldiers.[13][14]


Hunchun massacreEdit

South Korea views the Hunchun incident as a deception by Japan, who they believe used it as an excuse to dispatch troops.[citation needed]

Casualties of the Japanese armyEdit

Japanese sources claim 11 dead and 24 wounded, and no officer casualties.[4] These numbers are repeated by the list of the fallen soldiers 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 telegram from the Japanese consulate in Qingshanli on November 13, 1920.[15]

On the contrary, South Koreans refer to this battle as the "great victory at Cheongsalli" and consider it a victory of the Independence Army.[16] 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."

According to Kim Hak-Cheor, who participated in many battles as a member of the armed group for the independence of Korea, the number of Japanese casualties that Koreans claimed was exaggerated more than 300 times.[13][14]



  1. ^ 박은봉, 《한국사 100 장면》 (가람기획, 1993) 312
  2. ^ 윤병석, 《간도역사의 연구》(국학자료원, 2006) 111
  3. ^ 이이화, 《이이화 선생님이 들려주는 이야기 한국사 2》 (파란하늘, 2008) 143
  4. ^ a b 陸軍第十九師團司令部 「間島事件鮮支人死傷者調」 大正十年二月二十五日
  5. ^ Memorial working club for Kim Jwa-jin
  6. ^ 심상룡, 《간도는 우리 영토다》 (출판사 의성당, 2004)340
  7. ^ "특별기고 - 3.1운동 100주년, 임시정부 수립 100주년 맞아 우리 민족의 혼을 찾아서".
  8. ^ "[임정100년과 독립운동가] 독립운동에 목숨 바친 형제 '최석순·최석준'".
  9. ^ "[임정100년과 독립운동가] 독립운동가 아내 이애라가 있었다".
  10. ^ "[잊혀진 의인들] 刺殺·강간에 梟首까지…무차별 만행에 스러진 무명의 희생자".
  11. ^ "독립군에 대패한 일본군, 훈춘사건 빌미로 만주 침략".
  12. ^ "국치 이래 독립군이 이룬 가장 빛나는 청산리대첩".
  13. ^ a b 조선의용대 최후의 분대장 김학철 옹과의 병상 인터뷰. People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy. September 1, 2001.
  14. ^ a b 韓国で反日映画続々公開も当事者自ら「神話に近い」と認める. Zakzak. July 31, 2019
  15. ^ みすず書房 現代史資料28 P412 11月13日延吉県大平溝竜浦洞付近に於いて加納騎兵連隊の手に捕らえたる金剛(本名宋在吉号武山)は、従来国民会警護部長として横暴を逞ふしたる有力な不逞鮮人なり (Kongo(chosun name is 宋在吉) who was caught by cavalry regiment of Kanō on November 13, 1920 is a famous despotic Chosun.)
  16. ^ 청산리 전투는 한국 무장독립운동 사상 가장 빛나는 전과를 올린 대첩(大捷)으로 독립전사에 기록되어 있다. - Battle of Cheonhsnani - Naver encyclopedia


  • 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.
  • Zdenka Klöslová Czech Arms for Korean Independence Fighters. Archiv orientální - Quarterly Journal of African and Asian Studies. Vol. LXXI (2003), no. 1, p. 55–64. ISSN 0044-8699