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◈ 윤치호일기 (1906년) ◈

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1. 1월 7일

7th. (7th of 12th Moon, Ulsa Year). Sunday.
A spell of most beautiful weather from the 1st of the New Year. Between 46 degree and 50 degrees at 4 p.m. In a letter to Mr. Stevens I said: "Allow me to call your attention to one or two of the most prolific sources of injustice on the part of the Japanese and of distrust and hatred which this injustice engenders and nurses in the heart of the Korean.
1. Buying or lending money on forged or stolen deeds. Everyone knows that the title deeds in Korea are very unsatisfactory and unbusinese-like documents. Most of them have no official certification of any kind, and can easily be forged. But among the Koreans comparatively little trouble arises from the defective form and wording of deeds, as every Korean is interested in the maintenance of their sacredness. But to the Japanese these primitive documents offer an irresistable temptation to get rich at a bound. A Korean rogue or thief goes to a Japanese with a forged or a stolen deed of a rice field or of a homestead. The Japanese troubles himself neither as to the genuineness or spuriousness of the deed, nor as to the question whether or not the man has any right to dispose of the property. In many an instance, the Japanese, with full knowledge of the fact that the man has no right or that the deed is false, buys the property dirt cheap or lends money on the deed at an usurious interest. The real owner there and then is robbed of his property, because the Japanese will grab it, legal or illegal, on the strength of the deed, forged or stolen. There is no appeal from this kind of brigandism of the Japanese.
2. A prodigal son or a black sheep in a family of brothers and cousins runs into debt to a Japanese. The Korean gives a promissory note. The date matures, but no payment. The Japanese goes to the father or the relatives of the debtor and collects the debt by the argument of force when the force of argument fails.
3. A Japanese buys a small piece of land in the midst of cultivated fields. He then proceeds to stake in everything in sight. When the owners question his right of doing so, the Korea's protector cooly says, "Don't sell the fields staked in to anybody else." "Why don't buy them?" ask the frightened farmers. "Because," says the Japanese oppressor, "I have no money just now, but by and by I shall." In the sweet by and by, the savior of Korea does scare or screw the farmers into selling away the fields at any price the Japanese choose to give or not to give. Is it any wonder that the Korean would rather see cholera or blackpest invade his village than a Japanese? Until something is done to stop those acts of rank injustice, it is sheer nonsense and an unmitigated lie to talk about the great blessings of the Japanese domination in Korea.
To remedy the evil of buying real property on false or stolen deeds, the authorities of both the governments should enact laws or issue orders to the effect that when a real estate, be it land or a homestead is offered for sale or mortgage the intended buyer or mortgagee shall first secure the official statement of the magistrate of the district or of the town, certifying the genuineness of the deed and the legal right of the seller or the mortgager; and that no deeds without such a certification shall be valid. As to the other forms of robbery, such as collecting a debt from the relatives of the debtor, and the staking-in of other people's fields, no remedy is possible except the strict enforcement of justice against the wrong doers.
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