“Korea’s Titanic”: The Tragic True Story Of A Doomed Ship Where Thousands Lost Their Lives

It remains a mystery.

Content Warning

This article includes descriptions of graphic content that may disturb some readers.

In light of the recent tragic incident involving OceanGate‘s “Titan” submarine, there has been renewed discussion surrounding the RMS Titanic. But were you aware that another devastating event took place involving a Japanese ship that was carrying thousands of Koreans?

OceanGate’s Titan | OceanGate
The RMS Titanic | The Bettmann Archive

On August 24, 1945, a naval transport vessel called Ukishima Maru left on a voyage to Busan to repatriate Koreans after World War II. The Japanese government estimated that 3,735 passengers were onboard, but witnesses argued that the number was closer to 10,000.

While sailing, a sudden explosion occurred on board, quickly sinking the ship.

Still cut from the documentary “The Ukishima Maru Massacre”

According to Japanese government figures, 524 Koreans and 25 Japanese were killed. However, unofficial sources estimated that the death toll was as high as 6,000.

Still cut from the film “Souls Protest” | Korean Film Studio
Still cut from the film “Souls Protest” | Korean Film Studio

On one hand, the Japanese claimed that the ship unknowingly hit a mine that the Americans had planted in the area during the war. On the other hand, Koreans believed that it was a deliberate massacre instigated by the Japanese.

Still cut from the film “Souls Protest” | Korean Film Studio

Through the years, several films and documentaries such as Souls Protest and The Ukishima Maru Massacre have been made about the topic, exploring the possibility that this was no accident.

Still cut from the film “Souls Protest” | Korean Film Studio

However, even until this day, the true cause of Ukishima Maru’s sinking remains highly controversial. The innocent lives of those who died in the tragedy will never be forgotten.