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The Shedlight Gazette

In this project, I focused on decolonizing a historical tragedy and visualizing a related dataset. It is common that historical tragedies, such as wars, sexual slavery during wars, massacres, etc. only left the number at the end, like the number of victims. And these numbers tend to get forgotten easily and do not contain enough context. Therefore, I researched the 'Kanto Massacre' which happened in 1923 when Korea was under Japanese colonial rule, and created a visualization as a final result.


About the project: The Shedlight Gazette


The visualization to shed a light on Kanto Massacre consists of numerous newspaper articles about the Kanto Massacre written by two different newspapers within a period from September 1923 to September 1924.

《The Dong-a Daily》, which was a daily newspaper in colonial Korea, and 《The New Korea》, which was released weekly in the USA by Koreans who are living in the USA were compared in this visualization. It is prominent that the number of total articles about the Kanto Massacre in each newspaper shows a big difference. During the same period 《The Dong-a Daily》 published only seven articles while 《The New Korea》 published twenty articles. Besides, the way how they deal with this topic is also quite different. We can assume that due to the censorship by the Japanese government against the colonial Korean newspaper, 《The Dong-a Daily》 was not able to reveal or write detail the truth about this tragedy. However, although 《The New Korea》 published the newspaper weekly far away from colonial Korea at that time, they were able to write about the Massacre in detail in various formats.


Historical Background

August 29th, 1910

Japanese colonial rule of Korea began

March 1st, 1919

'March 1st movement' was raised in Korea.
'March 1st Movement' was a nationwide nonviolent demonstration that was raised in the Korean peninsula against colonization by Japan. Mizuno Rentaro and Akaike Atsushi from the 'Police Administration Bureau' suppressed the movement by force. The movement made Korean strengthen their solidarity and keep a persistent spirit of standing up to Japanese rule. After the movement, Korea established the 'Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea' for the first time in China. And Japan started new_'Culture Rule'_ policy in Korea.

- The aftermath of the ‘March 1st Movement’
Japan approved Korea to publish national newspapers as a part of the new 'Culture Rule'.

September 1st, 1923

The great Kanto earthquake
The earthquake which had a magnitude of 7.9 destroyed the Kanto area in Japan. Although the earthquake last between four to ten minutes, the damage was serious. More than ten thousand people died and following fire cases and Tsunami, the Kanto region was annihilated. The public suffered not only physically but also mentally, they started to distrust the Japanese government.

September 2nd, 1923

The beginning of the massacre against Koreans in japan.
To calm the ferocious public, 'The Home Ministry' issued a message to police stations around the capital encouraging the spread of rumors and violence against Korean who are living in Japan: 'Korean is poisoning the well', 'Korean is setting on fire to plunder Japanese', 'So if anyone sees Korean murder them immediately.'. The reason why they declared martial law was the Home Ministry was afraid of the solidarity and resistance of Korean like 'The March 1st Movement.'

Beginning on September 2nd Japanese citizens organized themselves into vigilante bands and accosted strangers on the street. A week of mass murder against Koreans who were living in Japan was committed by the Japanese military, police, and vigilantes right after the great Kanto earthquake on Sep 1, 1923.

Because Japan has been trying to hide this fact, the exact number of victims of the massacre is still unclear. But it is estimated at least 6,600 to as many as 20,000 Korean based on a few data.


Research Questions

  • How media described the Massacre?

  • How can I visualize the intensity of the press censorship to compare?


Collecting Data And Method

For collecting the data related to the 'Kanto Massacre', I used Korean History Database 한국사 데이터 베이스.

  • Search Keywords: Kantō, Massacre, Kantō Earthquake
  • Publishing period: From 1st Sep 1923 to 1924

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While my research, I collected articles about the 'Kanto Massacre' from two different newspapers.

《The Dong-a Daily》

  • Launched in 1920

  • Published in Korea

  • Daily newspaper

  • Mostly written in Chinese characters

  • 7 articles related to the 'Kanto Massacre' from Sep 1923 to 1924

《The New Korea》

  • Launched in 1909

  • Published in the USA

  • Weekly newspaper

  • Mostly written in Hangul (Korean alphabet)

  • 20 articles related to the 'Kanto Massacre' from Sep 1923 to 1924

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Screen Shot 2022-09-30 at 1.47.37 PM.pngScreen Shot 2022-09-30 at 1.47.37 PM.png



The cover of the newspaper provides historical background to understand the tragedy and an overview of the visualization. From the second page, you can follow the timeline from Sep 1923 to 1924 and compare how these two different newspapers in different circumstances dealt with the same topic.


I used a format of a newspaper for styling the visualization. The reason why is, first, the dataset itself consists of numerous newspaper articles. Second, I would like to emphasize the role and responsibility of the media. So I created an imaginary newspaper called 'The Shedlight Gazette' and edited it as a special edition about 'The Kanto Massacre'. The power of the media is enormous. To not abuse the power, the media must be trustworthy and report with an objective perspective. Unfortunately, as you see in the visualization, there were many cases in which the media was not able to raise their voice due to circumstances. However, I recognized that regardless of suppression, somebody always tried to shed a light on the truth. I hope 'The Shedlight Gazette' also plays a role to shed a light on the 'Kanto Massacre'.



I was born and grew up in Korea most of my life, but I never really heard about the 'Kanto Massacre' in detail. I had learned at school that it happened during colonial Korean time, but we had never looked it up. Recently, I watched a TV show by chance, and one episode of the show explained the Massacre in every detail. That time was the middle of the semester and I was not hesitant to decide to research the Massacre as my semester project. While I was researching this topic, I was shocked. How could I not know about this before? Why didn't WE learn about this? And this kind of Massacre is happening all over the world (even now!). I would like to keep my eyes on those historical tragedies and remember them with a different perspective than before.

Ein Projekt von



Art des Projekts

Studienarbeit im Masterstudium


foto: Prof. Dr. Marian Dörk foto: Lamin Manneh

Zugehöriger Workspace

Decolonizing Data Visualization – Visualizing Postcolonies


Sommersemester 2022