to listen to an audio file of this interview (67 minutes)
This is a complete and accurate transcript of the tape of the oral history interview of Rev. Bruce Hunt (CN 104, T5) in Rev. Hunt's home in Abingdon, PA. No spoken words have been omitted, except for any non-English phrases which could not be understood by the transcribers. Foreign terms which are not commonly understood appear in italics. In very few cases words were too unclear to be distinguished. If the transcriber was not completely sure of having gotten what the speaker said, "[?]" was inserted after the word or phrase in question. If the speech was inaudible or indistinguishable, "[unclear]" was inserted. Grunts and verbal hesitations such as "ah" or "um" were usually omitted. Readers should remember that this is a transcript of spoken English, which follows a different rhythm and rule than written English.
... Three dots indicate an interruption or break in the train of thought within the sentence on the part of the speaker.
.... Four dots indicate what the transcriber believes to be the end of an incomplete sentence.
( ) Words in parentheses are asides made by the speaker.
[ ] Words in brackets are comments by the transcriber.
This transcript was made by Robert Shuster and Ruth Estelle in September 2002.
Collection 104, T5. Interview of Rev. Bruce Hunt by Robert Shuster, Oct0ber 16, 1982.
SHUSTER: Okay, I think...yeah. This is a continuation of the interview with Rev. Bruce Hunt on October 16, 1982, in his home in Abington, Pennsylvania. We've been having a little trouble with the tape recorder, but as you can see now, we're picking it up all right. Rev. Hunt, for the last time...[laughs]...as...
HUNT: All right, don't worry.
SHUSTER: ...as you were just making some comments about the relationship between the Chinese and the Koreans in Manchuria.
HUNT: Well, as far as I could see, of course, I didn't arrive in Manchuria until after the Japanese were in there, but as far as I could see and hear, in the pre-Japanese days, the relationship between the Chinese and Koreans was not bad. The Koreans were leaving Korea (those that did leave Korea) and entering Manchuria to get away from Japanese control and they were interested in their independence and their freedom from Japan. And the Chinese were...seem to be...were sympathetic with that. Then the Koreans, when they came into Manchuria for a living, often they were farmers and they would get the land, or secure the land that the Chinese weren't using very much; the swampland or the lowland that had water on it. The Chinese farmers mostly were dryland farmers, field crops. And the Koreans were used to both fairly warm country and cold country and they'd learn to grow rice in very severely cold country like Manchuria. And so they could take that lowland and grow rice on it. Of course, the Chinese of that part of China weren't doing, and they...the Chinese were happy to have the rice which the Koreans raised. The Chinese like rice in their food and so the Koreans were, what seemed to me, welcomed. When the Japanese came, then the Japanese began to use the Koreans for policemen, gave them a better salary than in Korea. And usually under the top men, the lower jobs of the police, and often the kind of the dirty work, they'd give to the Korean policemen. And, also they took a lot of the better land when they occupied Manchuria and gave it to Japanese farmers and tried to win them to coming into Manchuria, because many of the Japanese farmers were ex-soldiers and by giving them better land they could attract them to Manchuria and then they would give other land to Korean farmers and push Chinese off. They'd push Chinese off the land to give to Japanese farmers and Korean farmers and so that attracted Koreans to come to Manchuria. And naturally, the Chinese, when they're driven off...pushed off their land, had their land given to the Japanese and Koreans, didn't especially like what was happening. And it didn't make the relations too good between the Koreans and the Chinese at that point.
SHUSTER: What...what was a typical service in that Korean church like? Did it differ in significant ways from one in a Western church? Or were they similar?
HUNT: Well, they aren't quite so formal, is one thing. And, I don't know, there's...when they come in, there's...they generally come in and pray. There's not much conversation. Some churches I go to in this country, there's a good deal of conversation in the hall and visiting around. But they generally come in and individuals bow in prayer and then they almost always like to start singing some songs until the church...the service starts. Someone will start up a hymn and then everybody will sing along with them. And so they'll use the time before a service for either individuals who come in and pray or just different ones singing. They may have someone go out in front and lead the group in singing or people will just start singing and then others follow along with them. When the service starts, it's similar to an American service. They'll...they'll generally not...I don't think they start with the doxology like many services that I'm used to in this country. But they'll have a hymn and then...well, excuse me. These days they call it a time of silent prayer, when the piano or the organist, or organ plays. I wonder how much the music interferes with your silent prayer, but...that is a common practice. And....
SHUSTER: You say "these days." Is that what they used to do in the '30s?
HUNT: They didn't used to have organs and pianos and things like that. Now they have some very skillful pianists and very skillful organists. But that.... They almost have...always have a period of silent prayer. And then, now too, they're getting a little more formal in all their services. The pastor will read some portion from the Scripture. Even in America, I think there's a call to worship and a little more formality in the service and they're following some of these formal practices. And then hymn, prayer, Apostle's Creed, and so on. But otherwise, it's very much like an American service, I think. Different churches in America have different practices as to when they take up their offering or...or how they take up the offering and things like that. They're very similar to American churches and they're learning American ways and so they follow many of our practices.
SHUSTER: What about church music?
HUNT: Pardon me?
SHUSTER: What about church music?
HUNT: Well, they have excellent choirs. The Koreans seem to love to sing. I don't know whether it's something like the Swiss. They get out in the mountains and yodel. And Koreans have mountains and so the boys can get up on the hills and let out their voices. Whether that's one of the helps or not, but they have really taken to our western hymns. Of course, they're just translated, but they're western tunes, generally. And they...they...love to sing. They sing....not only used to be enthusiastically, but now in the Christian schools in the choirs they learn to sing the parts and they have some excellent choirs and they seem to love to sing and they have fine solos and all of these things. The Korean music is...the church music is great.
SHUSTER: Now is that...you mentioned they translated many of the western hymns into Korean. What about indigenous-type Korean music? Is that adapted too?
HUNT: They're very few. There are some hymns, though I know some western guy. There's a missionary I know very well, a very godly man. But he used the tune Annie Laurie, but he put words to it. And a very beautiful hymn that the Koreans love to sing. It's a tune that to us might sound strange in church. But out there they don't know that it's an American love song. And that's the problem with using Korean music. Often the Korean music has its Korean meanings, either love songs or ribald songs, and saloon songs and so on. And so they haven't used many Koreans tunes, that I know of. There are one or two. There's one Japanese tune that they use a great deal now, and yet considering that the Koreans and Japanese over their political reasons weren't that close, it's wonderful to see the church using a Japanese tune a great deal. And then there's one Korean tune that I haven't heard sung in public services, but sometimes when a group gather together, either as a solo or someone is asked to get up and do a little number, why they have several Korean tunes that they will...they've made up some words to them and put Christian words to them, but old Korean words. One I think is rather cute. The triumphal entry. And it's an old drinking song, but you...you can kind of feel the crowd almost. They are triumphant about Jesus coming into the temple and so on. And that I kind of like to sing. It gives you a real swing. Or like, I don't know that I can sing it all that well. But, the way I've heard it sung is very good. They...they...[pauses] Jesus' triumphal entry, with the drinking [laughs]...as a drinking song, but you get a little bit of the lilt.
SHUSTER: Well, of course it's...the Salvation Army often used to do that; set hymns to drinking tunes.
SHUSTER: What about musical instruments used in church?
HUNT: Well, now almost every church has either a little organ or a piano and they haven't yet got....and some of them will use a cornet or something. But they haven't yet....some of them are beginning to follow the American ways, using guitars or something. It's interesting how small the world is. What's done here is done out there.
SHUSTER: Was that true in the 30s, too, when you were in Manchuria?
HUNT: No. No, then, if they could afford it, they got an organ or a piano.
SHUSTER: What...you mentioned a little bit earlier about the split that occurred among the churches in Manchuria over worshiping the [Japanese ] emperor and the shrine.
SHUSTER: What was the background of that dispute?
HUNT: Well, as far as I know, I...we were part of the split ourselves. That is, we disagreed with what was done at the [Presbyterian] General Assembly and there were some of the Korean ministers that felt the same way about it. And the...we...we stood with them and so in a way were...we did, though, I feel, I didn't even take the lead in that in one way. The Koreans began to wonder when we began to meet separately. I suppose that individually I took my stand. I told presbytery I couldn't be responsible as moderator of the session to be...to get the church under government control. And...
SHUSTER: And by getting under government control you mean reporting when you were traveling....
HUNT: Reporting and everything. You'd have to get it recognized and...
SHUSTER: And asking permission.
HUNT: ...and the permission and everything else. And so then there were some Christian in that with me, including evangelists. We didn't have any ministers working with me at that time up in north Manchuria, only lay-preachers that were paid by the Koreans. But they felt the same as I did. And then the question came, there were some ministers in Korea who were trying to take a stand and had to leave their pulpits. That is, because they wouldn't go to the shrine or they weren't get a permit. And so some of them....
SHUSTER: What did going to the shrine involve?
HUNT: Pardon me?
SHUSTER: What did going to the shrine involve?
HUNT: Well, the shrine was a shrine...they called it the jinja. It meant the Japanese word, jinja, for spirit-house. But they believed that their emperor is descended from the sun, from the sun goddess. And they...he is...so they would worship him. And their patriotism centered in worshiping the emperor. That is, at least, we salute the flag or do something like that. They would bow to him if he were there or bow towards his palace or bow towards a little shrine where there would be a tablet to him and to the soldiers who died for the country. But the national source, the...you see, the Ama-Terasu Omikami, was the sun goddess and they would worship her. I don't know how seriously they thought of it, but it was just something the whole country did. Like we pledge allegiance to my flag...to the flag, kind of idea. And they were all taught in school. Kids, school kids had to do it at school. Before you started work, government officials had to bow before they started work. And they'd have a little shrine in the office; they'd have a shrine in the school yard. And later they got to making them put shrines in their homes and the Christians had to...they tried to make the Christians put shrines in their homes and they were supposed to start the day with a bow to the...this shrine that worshiped the emperor or at least was a symbol of the emperor. And Christians felt that this...we worship only God and it was wrong to do this. I don't think there was any question in most Christian's mind, but they later tried to rationalize this by saying it was the same as saluting the flag, "There's nothing to it, and that it's just patriotism." And to allow themselves to not go to prison and not be persecuted by the government for it, why, they...later the General Assembly and many schools, they would go and bow at the shrine first. But the order when you bow at the shrine, seik-kaetae [?], which means the supreme bow. And the kids would have to bow from the waist down, towards this little shrine in the school yard or the shrine in the office or something like that. And Christians felt that it was...that is, some Christians, like myself, felt that this was worshiping another god. I don't think that even non-Christians take their religion always so seriously, but it's...to me it was a wrong thing. And there was quite a debate among the missionaries. Some missionaries defended it. As I saw it, the more liberal missionaries, and the conservative missionaries didn't. But that was the thing.
SHUSTER: Would you say that the majority of Christians went along with the shrinism, or not?
HUNT: Part of the problem was that it, a lot of them didn't want to be too Japanese. But was it because they didn't want the Japanese or because they were Christians? It's a little bit a problem there. But the church eventually voted that it was all right to go to the shrine.
SHUSTER: I see.
HUNT: And...I don't know if I told you this tale, but when it was voted at the General Assembly, I went to...I was sent to the General Assembly as a commissioner from the Mukden presbytery. And the missionaries...well, all the Christians before that General Assembly met, already the police had inquired and found out who were to be the commissioners at the General Assembly. They know who they were from all over the country; who were going to the General Assembly. And they would call them in at the local police station where, of course, the Japanese were controlling your food rations and everything else. And they would say, "What are you going to do about this thing?" And if the man said, "I'm against it," "You can't go to the General Assembly," even though the Presbytery asks him to go. "Will you keep your mouth shut?" If he'd say, "No," "Then you can't go." It's only those who said they would keep their mouth shut and wouldn't vote one way or another that were allowed to go. I didn't have that experience myself, but I was told the missionaries were called in and put through the same thing at their local places where they lived. I wasn't called in, but when we got to the General Assembly, the missionaries were all called in the day before. There were about...I don't know...thirty or forty of us, I guess. And...ordained missionaries, male missionaries, and the policeman said, "Now, you folks are guests in this country. Tomorrow the General Assembly is going to decide on this." You see, one presbytery had already voted to overture the General Assembly, so they could know, publicly knew, it was to be discussed. And so, now, "This is a matter for Koreans. It's not for you Americans to have any opinion on this matter," and so on. But my wife's father [William Newton Blair], the one who wrote Korean Testimony, the Korean Revival [The Korean Pentecost and the sufferings which followed]. He was one of the senior missionaries there, and generally very...and generally he's just an irenic individual. He's not the kind to be scrappy [chuckles], but he said, "Well, o f course, when we go to the General Assembly, as commissioners, we have the responsibility to vote and to speak and so on. And we don't feel that we can keep our mouth shut," and so on. Well, he wasn't happy with that, but he said, "I told you." And he passed a paper around and he wanted us to sign it. Not a single one of us signed it [laughs].
SHUSTER: What did the paper say?
HUNT: Oh, nothing. It was just a blank. He wanted our signatures, that we'd heard him. And we didn't sign it. Well, he didn't like that. We went to General Assembly, and the day that the General Assembly met there was no...they didn't allow any...what do you call it, not a spectator...what's the other word?
SHUSTER: Observers? Or....
HUNT: Observers. They didn't allow any observers in. There were police at the door. A big church in Shen Yang. They had on their pistols and had the helmets and so on. They were well garbed for that day. And they checked everybody and they only allowed commissioners to come into the meeting. And then after we got in there the main...the commissioners were seated in the pews in the center of the church, but all around the church were detectives, seated. I would say about ind...plain-clothes men...intervals, all around the General Assembly. And we had to wait there for a while until the police chief, and I don't know, the chief of the pro..the police of the province...anyway, three or four prominent people in authority came and they were given the seats right at the front facing the Assembly. Usually guests are asked to sit on one side...are given a place at one side, but they faced the Assembly. And they had on their war decorations and everything. They were very well [laughs]...they looked very formal up there. And the moderator waited until they came before he opened the meeting. And I forget all the details, but then when the, this question was brought up, the missionaries had agreed the day before that rather than each one of us popping up and trying to say something and making confusion, it would be better to have Dr. Blair speak first. He's one of the elders...elder missionary. And then Fran Kinser [?] is a classmate of mine, but he was recognized as a teacher in the college and the seminary and so on; a smart fellow. And so the young fellow was asked to speak second. The third one I keep getting confused about, but I think he was a man who was born in Japan and spoke Japanese fairly well, Mr. Win [?]. But whether it was he or another...but anyway. These three were told to speak. Well, Dr. Blair got up and, "Mr. Moderator." And the moderator said, "Well, on this subject we wish that missionaries wouldn't speak." And so he just didn't give him the floor and so he protested and sat down. Then Fran Kinser [?] got up, the same thing, protested and said...but he wasn't given the floor, so he protested and sat down. And then the third.... Well, I was just kind of a young buck, and I couldn't stand this. [laughs] I was sent as a commissioner to the General Assembly, and what use am I if I can't speak. So I got up and I said, "Point of order, sir." [laughs] Well, the moderator wasn't quite ready for this. So, he's supposed to keep order, you know. "What's the point of order?" I said, "Well, I was sent here as a commissioner, and I realize I'm a missionary, a stranger in this country, you might say, but I was appointed as a commissioner, the presbytery sent me here. And why is it that I can't speak?" Well, by that time, the detectives had kind of come in on me and they began to walk me out. I didn't even have time to put my shoes on, and they walked me off the floor. But after they got me almost to the door, it was interesting. Dr. Blair hollered, "Bruce, come back." And how could I go back when I was with the detectives? But finally the chief police...the chief of police told them to let me go. So I went back and sat down. But I learned a big lesson that day, and that was that...I sat down for a while, and...but what good was it for me to stay in the assembly where I couldn't speak? And so I thought of leaving, but...no. Yes, I sat down first, and then I walked out. I walked out. Well, it could have been just to go to the bathroom or something, you know. But after I got out, I thought, "Well, this is a mistake." If you walk out you have no voice. And even a protest. We have protested, and generally if you say you protest a thing, you can write it and it has to go on the minutes. And so then I decided to go and I know often in General Assembly meetings you get a little sore because the majority vote kind of overrules you. But at least the presbyterian system is you're supposed to be able to get your protest in the minutes. If you disagree with the thing, why, you may be a minority, but at least your minority of one can get in the minutes. I guess they have to put it on for you. But anyway, so I went back, and then the missionaries did make a protest, wrote it out, and handed it in. But the police wouldn't let it go into the minutes. And that afternoon we were called down to the police station, those of us that had signed it and they said that unless we withdrew this we wouldn't be allowed to work in that country, or in Manchuria, or north China, where the Japanese were in control. But we didn't withdraw it. They....our protest was on three grounds. First, it was against the Bible. Second, it was against the Japanese...against just ordinary international public meetings.
HUNT: Yeah. The member has a right to speak, and so on. And third, was that.... They didn't ask the negative vote, either. The third was that it was against the Japanese law, the freedom of religion. And here they had the police doing all of this. And the chief of police says...well, he doesn't know about the Bible, he doesn't know about international bylaw, rules of order, and so on. But "This," that it was against Japanese law, freedom...because they have put in freedom of religion, "You've got to take this out." This, after all, affected him. He was supposed to keep the Japanese law. But we didn't take it out, and according to his threat, we weren't going to be allowed to work in Korea, or Manchuria, north China, anyplace the Japanese were. But we didn't take it out and that was about '38 or '9. I worked on until about...what was it? '40...'42 when they finally put...'41 when they put me in prison. But we were able to continue our work for about three years.
SHUSTER: So this protest, of course, was different from the one that you eventually signed against?
HUNT: Yes, that was just the missionaries. I think I found that in Dad's papers. It was rather interesting.
SHUSTER: So they must have thought up quite a dossier on you by the time you were finally arrested. [Hunt laughs] When you were in Manchuria, did you have any contact with the Japanese army, or was all your relationship with the police?
HUNT: Well, as I traveled over the country...of course, mostly it was the railroad guards and things like that. But they...because the army was in there, and at that time they were up very close to the Russian border, and they...they were very well-equipped. And, oh, very well-clothed and well-equipped, and all of this, especially towards the border. And because they were there, they wouldn't allow us to travel. We couldn't get travel permits, if we went to the railroad station to travel. We couldn't go into certain areas along the border of Manchuria. So that wasn't a direct contact, but the railroad guards and the police saw to it because of that. And there were Japanese army people living all around us, and they had their place where they could shop, and we could see how well-dressed their families were, and so on, and how they were living. But there were Japanese army houses...family...what do you call them...civilian's homes very right near to where we lived. But we had no contact with the army except...except through the railroad guards. I was...one time when I arrived at a certain place they locked me up. Well, I don't know if they locked me up, but they put me into a...instead of just at the ordinary desk, they put me in a separate room and questioned me quite...an hour or two. But I think that was still the railroad guards, which was something like the army, but they aren't the army itself. They carry guns and things like that, the railroad guards.
SHUSTER: What were they questioning you about?
HUNT: Oh, what I was connected with, what I was preaching, where I was going, what I was doing, just a...I forget all the....
SHUSTER: After the vote of the assembly about seeing if it's permissible to go the shrine and submit to the Japanese law regulating religion, what was the relationship between those churches and Christians which submitted to this and those that withdrew?
HUNT: Well, that was the problem, you see. And in Korea many ministers opposed it and went to prison. There's a man right here that spent five years (in Philadelphia) spent five years in prison rather than go to the shrine. And there are some down in...my...yeah, I guess, in my part of Korean Pentecost, I says that in certain areas the opposition was...I don't now if you'd call it more organized, but they...there was a more definite.... I don't know that though I make that statement, whether that's fair, for almost all over the church there were those that were opposed to shrine worship. But as I saw it, down in south Kyeongsang, the old Australian field, and up around Pyongyang the northern capital, and up in Manchuria there were.... There seemed to have been more united opposition to it, or.... I mean...I don't know what you'd call more organized, but they were more united in their opposition. And prayer against it, and going to prison for it, and things like that. But the regular church just went along and did business as usual. And they...but it became more under the control....the big seminary in Pyongyang, that was the one seminary, it was closed...that was closed, rather than go to the shrine. And so then, there was another seminary that had just been started in the capital in Seoul, which I always felt had been started by people who didn't like the conservative emphasis of the one seminary in the presbyter...one seminary, the Presbyterian seminary in the country. And it was people who wanted more liberal teaching, people who'd come back from America or from Japan or some of these other places that had more liberal missionaries. And they'd started this shortly before the...all this trouble came, but they would say...the Korean church...it was interesting that it was a Mormon that says the Korean church was not polarized over liberalism and conservatism, as in China. That's interesting to find it in a Mormon book, I don't know that I can put my finger on it, but....for a Mormon to put...make that statement, but he recognized that.
SHUSTER: You think that is true, though? Or, do you think that is true?
HUNT: Well, I think that's rather true. There were a few liberals in Korea, but comparatively speaking, the missionaries throughout the country are pretty conservative. And the Korean church was pretty conservative. And the....
SHUSTER: Were they polarized over this, the shrine question?
HUNT: Well, the ones that were in favor of it were a minority. The majority were against it. But there were missionaries...and the Korean church was making its own decision, you see. And...and how much the....I think the Korean church, the majority was against it too. But then when that happened the....well, the war came very soon after that, and the Korean church just went along, business as usual. The ones that were making the fight, liberals, they were put in prison, and all over Korea. And I don't know, I think Helen Clark thinks that fifty died in prison, ministers, died in prison. And outstanding men, like we'd have in this country, I don't know who you'd call them now, who are the...some of the biggest pastors died in prison, things like that. So that it was quite a big effect on the Korean church. But then you had these...it was hard....you know my father, he didn't want to go to the country at that time because his going would make problems. I forget what he did say, I saw something about that recently. And some of the ministers were for and some against, and things like that. It made it very difficult to do missionary work. But shortly after that, war came, and so missionaries all had to leave the country anyway. But up in Manchuria, we perhaps organizationally, crystalized it, and yet we didn't, I tried not to, the Koreans wanted me to (I was the only minister way up there) wanted me to maybe start a movement to start a new presbytery. I said, "When you get a presbytery, well then start a new church." In the future it's very hard to get back together and so on. And so, at their urging we drew up a covenant and recently at Geneva College, a man out there wrote me and asked me for that covenant. I had an awful time finding it, but finally located it. But we drew up a covenant and we....but the reason we drew it up was there were ministers in Korea who were leaving their churches over the issue. Individuals, they were taking a stand and the church didn't want them or they couldn't serve the church or something like that. And they thought Manchuria, from earlier thinking, that though Japan had taken over, they thought at least, "You can get more freedom up there." And so they'd come up there, and they'd find this group of Christians taking a stand against it. If they'd left the presbytery they'd be attracted to our groups, but our groups would say, "Can we use them as evangelists or ministers? Because they haven't left the church in Korea, they haven't officially....they've just come up here, but they haven't officially left the denomination that says it's alright to go to the shrine." So it was almost the laymen and evangelists that urged me that we should try to make a formulation on this thing. And so we drew up this covenant and we had kind of the understanding that we wouldn't baptize anybody that wouldn't agree to this covenant. And we wouldn't call anybody to be an evangelist in the church that didn't agree to this covenant. And we had, I think, writing for this man recently, I saw the figures again, but I think it was about five hundred people, that had agreed to this covenant, and about twenty-five churches who....well, I say churches, groups, we didn't...they weren't organized churches, but small groups, but they met regularly for worship every Sunday. And there were over eight hundred people that were on their church rolls. I used to try to get them to keep a careful role so that if I went back, I could find out how many had been coming out for the service and it wasn't just a word of mouth thing. And so there were about eight hundred on the church roles, but of the eight hundred people, five hundred had actually agreed to this covenant and we wouldn't baptize them or take them in as regular members unless they had agreed to the covenant. And the Japanese got wind of this, I guess, and they said, "Ah, this is a movement. And this is...." They called this a blood...[pauses] a blood pact, that we had taken a blood pact. And they felt this was kind of a political something. That it was against the government and it's interesting the things they said about me, even in the press at that time, and the Japanese thought of us....that I had some queer influence over the Koreans that they blindly followed me, and this kind of thing, you know, and this blood pact laid down.... I did use a little book, two little volumes on the Covenanters in Scotland [movement in Scotland, particularly centered around the National Covenant of 1638], it tells about what the Covenanters suffered and how often the British, when they were trying to put the Covenanters down, they would first go after the minister, and if they couldn't get him they'd go after his wife or his children or the people in the congregation. And if they can't get it, well, at least, "You've got to buy the prayer book," or something like that. They'd do it a different ways, and I'd tell them what they might expect in the future if the government was going to crack down and make them, that this was the kind of things that has been used against Christians in the past. And after they had me in prison they sent to my...our house, and here they had as one of the evidences against me were these little...two little books on the Covenanters from Scotland. So evidently I didn't know that it made that much of an impression on people, but they...they'd seen me read from them, I guess, or tell the Koreans from them. But it was used as evidence. I used to tell them what they should expect. They might get at them through their children, through their wives, through something if they couldn't get at them directly.
SHUSTER: And what do they consider that evidence of? Evidence of sedition?
HUNT: I don't know. I don't know. But they just....
SHUSTER: Was...was this split a lasting one? Was there...?
HUNT: It still...they still feel it. I mean, our whole seminary in Pusan, what they call the Kosin Seminary. It was started by people who were in prison. And while they were in prison, they dreamed that they needed a new seminary. A couple of these men had gone to the one big seminary before it was closed over the shrine issue and over the war and so on. And they had attended for maybe one or two years. And they were from way south Korea and they'd gone way north Korea to that. And so when they were in prison, suffering for about five years, "We need a seminary in the south. We have to go way up north for our theological education. We've got to have something down south, in Pusan." So when they came out, they started a seminary in Pusan. But it started first with just a...what do you call it...a...just a summer conference, kind of. And they invited a man, a Westminister Seminary graduate, from North Korea, which is interesting, to come down and lead this conference. Now he hadn't been in prison. He had gone to Manchuria and tried to start a seminary up there. He and another man had tried to start a seminary up there, and as far as I know, he was a little bit compromised on the shrine issue. He was against it, but he felt that, well...I mean, they let somebody else go and represent them at the shrine. At the seminary...represent. So to me it was a compromise, and I felt they'd made a mistake. But, anyway, after the war was over, these two that had started the seminary in Pyongyang [?], felt the Korean church needed to repent of their sin. And the one that...a very famous man, the man that had headed the seminary in the north, when he'd hold conference and called out for repentance, they'd say, "Who are you, who are weak yourself, you aren't all that brave." But he says, "Brave or not, we need to repent now." And they kind of turned, some of them that had gone out and were kind of brazen about it still, jumped on him. But he...these two men, called for the church to repent of the sin that it had committed.
SHUSTER: Now these two men you're talking about are the ones that had gone to prison?
HUNT: No, they hadn't.
SHUSTER: They hadn't?
HUNT: No, they had kind of gone away. One...had had gone over to Japan to get away from the whole problem and the other...but both had ended up in Manchuria and started a seminary there.
SHUSTER: Do you recall what their names were?
HUNT: Park Hyung Yong and Park-Yung-Sung [Park Hyung-[N]yong and Park Yoon-Sun].
SHUSTER: How's that...?
HUNT: Pa...Henry Park is the way they'd call it America. They used to call him the [J. Gresham] Machen of Korea, he...a Princeton Seminary graduate. Henry Park, or Park Hyung Yung. H-Y-U-N-G, well I guess they say Y-O-N-G. H-Y...H-Y-U-N-G, Y-O-N-G. And the Park is last.... They put P-A-R-K generally because if they don't do that, they just...P-A-K, people pronounce it "pack." And there is a "pack," but if they put "r" they'll make it a broad "a," "park." So they...often they'll put the park, the "P-A-R-K." Both of them are "park." And Park-Yung-Sung [?] is a Westminister Seminary graduate. I met him here first in 1936, but he's written a commentary on every book of the Bible there is. The commentary's there [Mr Park pointed to a book by his desk.]. But they invited him, the men who were in prison invited him because he was a professor in the seminary, to come. They tried to get both of these men to come to Pusan, but one, I forget...he wanted to continue in Manchuria for a while and then they...but this man came down and held that summer institute, and from that they organized a seminary in Pusan. Now this group was strongly for repentance. "We want to get back to the old faith." And, see, the liberals, during the war, that seminary in Seoul could continue, the one that...because they could go out to the shrine, so that didn't bother them. And they wanted a little liberalism and so on, and they were able to continue during the war. And so at the end of the war, the only seminary existing was this one that had been kind of liberal. But it didn't tell the world that it was liberal, it said it was central. To the country. "We need a central seminary." I feel that many people are deceived by it, but the other seminary had been closed. And these two men who had worked in the other seminary came down.... Well, one of them came down. And then after he came down and they got the seminary organized in Pusan, they sent for the other one and he came. But there were a bunch of people that wanted...for one thing, both of these men are northerners and there's just enough north/south friction in the Korean church, or rivalry or something that there were some.... And also, the church in North Korea had been a much larger church, very much larger than South Korea. That's the sad thing that the American government did that the 38th Parallel [the border between North and South Korea] just turned all of that more Christian part of Korea over to the Communists. And...where the church was much stronger. And...but some wanted a seminary in the center under this other man. He came to our seminary for about a year and then he went up there and quite a few students followed him, and this little seminary in Pusan, it...it's considered more the conservative element. But later the big elements split, again, over liberalism and the World Council [of Churches]. So....
SHUSTER: You say "the big elements." You mean the element in the north?
HUNT: The ones...well, it's the whole church.
HUNT: But this little...this group in the south, they had a lot of opposition to it, the ones that had been in prison and come out.
HUNT: They...a lot of people, they hadn't made a stand during the war and they felt they were kind of splitters, a little narrow and all this kind of thing. And it may be partly because the OPC [Orthodox Presbyterian Church] and the Independent Board of Missionaries worked with them. We didn't...they weren't OPC seminary or OPC church, but we worked with them. I think partly because I had been in prison, they'd asked me to come. And they were people who had been in prison.
SHUSTER: So the seminary in Pusan was primarily led by people who had been in prison?
HUNT: In prison, that's right. Although Park hadn't been, but he believed they should repent, and he was very....
SHUSTER: Now was Park the man you'd said left again after a year, or was that the other one?
HUNT: That was...Park, this is the one that stayed with them. And then the other Park left and went back. And they...but then after he went back, the north...that group that he worked with, which is much bigger, and the missionaries of all the denominations rather backed him and that seminary until the liberal element in America, I think, the World Council element, wanted to...began to control it more. And so then Park (as I say, some people used to speak of him as the Machen of Korea), he didn't want to be in the World Council, and so on. And so he came over to America, and...I forget, whether he or a couple of men came over here and saw the way the World Council was going. And so there was a split with the World Council, and that split the church almost fifty-fifty. But the other little group that had already been disallowed from seminary, the group around the seminary in Pusan. And so it was what remained of.... This only had about two hundred to three hundred churches, this had about four thousand churches. I don't know, maybe...no, three thousand or something like that. But this group split almost fifty-fifty. And none of the missionaries stood with Park, the conservative man. And though many of them were sympathetic with him, they didn't stand with him. They didn't want the Korean church to be split. And they almost all stayed with the group that was in the World Council. And....
SHUSTER: And that was the issue, primarily...?
HUNT: But their hearts weren't right there....
SHUSTER: That was the issue?.
HUNT: I think so. Some people said it was over finances, but I don't think so, myself.
SHUSTER: It was over whether they should belong to the World Council of Churches.
HUNT: Yeah. And later the smaller group in Pusan and this big group united. But they united, to me, too quickly. Just like you're having here in America, the...the PCA [Presbyterian Church in America] and the OPC [Orthodox Presbyterian Church] and so on, are just, to me, not a sound way of getting together. And so after about five years they split again. And when they split, unfortunately, the split became more of a regional. The ones that lived in the south backed the seminary down in Pusan. And Park, who wrote those books, he stayed more with the north, but that split again. Boy, they've had more splits in Korea.
SHUSTER: Tell me, when was this first split that you were talking about over the WCC [World Council of Churches] membership?
HUNT: I don't know.
SHUSTER: Would that be in the 50s?
HUNT: Pardon me?
SHUSTER: Would that be in the 50s?
HUNT: I would guess...let me...oh yes. Now the Korean War came in '51, it would come a little after that, about '52 or '53. Yes, in the 50s.
SHUSTER: And then Park's and the...and then there was this union with...?
HUNT: Han.[?] Han was the one that started...Han and Chu [?] started the seminary. Park came down as a teacher and was made the president. He's a very good man. And...but he wasn't the one that started it.
SHUSTER: But then there was...you said there was a union between those who left...
SHUSTER: ...the church and then united with the group around the seminary.
SHUSTER: About when did that occur? Did that occur right after the split?
HUNT: No. I don't...it was several years later, but I'm ashamed to same I don't know just where I could put my finger on it.
SHUSTER: Well, let me ask you...we only have a little bit of tape left.
SHUSTER: Let me ask you a little bit about your imprisonment. Of course you've written a book that covers most of that time period, but I was wondering, after you were imprisoned again after Pearl Harbor, in December until you were exchanged in August of '42, what was your experience like in those months? Was it harsher because you were an enemy alien, or about the same?
HUNT: It was...I suppose it's partly just my own feeling. The first time when I went to prison, the kids even kind of cheered me on. Boy, they used to ask me, "Dad, why aren't you in prison?" And now I'm exonerated, I've been imprisoned, you might say [laughs]. And I was going for a battle, I mean, that's why I went the first time. And you have a certain feeling, and then while I was terribly depressed the first day, it tells about the song I made, then I felt later, "I'm here for a cause, I'm to witness." Then even standing before the judge, I could witness to the Resurrection, things like that. But then, when war...but here they're supposed to be deported, sent back to America, bang, the war comes. And we're wondering whether we should even buck them, and not go to America, make them push us out of the country. And that morning, that war, when we'd first heard of war, we'd been praying, and my wife was even weeping. "What are you going to do with five kids if we don't pack." They'd told us that by Tuesday we must leave. We must get our baggage off on Monday and Tuesday we must leave. And we were even in tears and prayers. "What are we going to do about the kids?" And we were praying that God.... Because one of the Japanese had said, "Remember that you're being deported not by the county where you are, but by the one where you're imprisoned. And it's the mayor up...it's the governor of the province up there hasn't deported you." And so I wondered, when he told me that, does that mean if I just decided I'm going to not go, that I could stay. And if I went when I wasn't being deported by the one where I lived, then maybe I'd have difficulty coming back because, "Oh, what'd you leave the country for? You left on your own." And so I was just wondering if I just made them put me out, and my wife thought I was being a little [laughs]...a little unreasonable at that point. And we were in prayer, and the American consul...vice-consul, comes and said, "Too late, war is declared." Well, that was one thing, and then to get ready to go to concentration camp with five kids....
SHUSTER: So the whole family had to go?
HUNT: Pardon me?
SHUSTER: Did the whole family have to go?
HUNT: Well, we didn't know, now that war was on, what would happen. We didn't know what was happening, but at least we had to think in those terms. Food for five kids, a little two-year-old, not yet two-year-old. And so on. And then, twins. And then that afternoon, the police came and said, "You go off to prison, you can't speak to your wife." Boy, that was rugged to me, you can't even talk. No more talking, you know, but off to prison. And war. When's the end of the war? When will we see each other again? And so on. And so that was the rugged part of it, and then being put in the little...the cell wasn't so much, it was larger than where I'd been, I don't know that it was quite as big as this room, but it was about this size, something like this [referring to the room where the interview was being conducted. And three of us were in there. Two Chinese....
SHUSTER: Three Americans...or...?
HUNT: Pardon me?
SHUSTER: I was going to say, three Americans?
HUNT: No, two Chinese. They were in because they were Communists. They wanted to know what I was in for, and I told them about war and so on. Well, they were very interested in this. And then I tried to witness to them. One of them said he'd be a Christian, but he knew a little English, I didn't know much Chinese, but later when I tried to read with him he didn't show great interest. And yet it was interesting, that when I left the prison he gave me a little card wishing me peace. So at least we left in good relations when they sent me to concentration camp.
But the thing about that was, there we were in a bare cell, with just a little hospital...what do you call it...toilet, kind of thing.
SHUSTER: Latrine, or...?
HUNT: Pardon me?
SHUSTER: Latrine, or whatever...?
HUNT: Well, something you carry....
HUNT: For the three of us. Sometimes it'd get a little full and overflow. And it'd be carried out, and of course each time these fellows, they'd say they would have to carry it out. I was just a teacher, they'd lift me up, you know. And I tried to, well, "I'm just like anybody else," but, "No, no, you must not do it," and so on. And yet they weren't just...you didn't feel as a hundred percent, just oneness. And yet they were very buddy-buddy, they were both Communists, and I was in there, and they couldn't understand me. I guess I couldn't understand them so well, and we only got two meals a day.
SHUSTER: How long were you there in that cell?
HUNT: About two months. And what they gave you was just a bowl, about so big, about so deep, and I don't know that I have anything round about the size with sorghum seed. I don't know whether you know sorghum seed, it's in bird seed.
HUNT: I've got some here that I give to the cardinals. This little red seed.
SHUSTER: So it's just ordinary bird seed.
HUNT: Yeah. But I'd get that twice a day and then they'd...there was a little hole in the door and the man would call out and one of the men would go and bring 'em for the three of us. And if there was any grain sticking to the bottom, why, then we'd would pick off the grain from the bottom. And just a few slices of salt radish that the Chinese have. Very salty, but this helped to put this grain down, but this grain was boiled. And one cup of water. These men who had been in there longer had bigger cups. Later I used to wish I could...mine was just an ordinary tea cup, a tin tea cup. But I'd wish for more water. I suffered from that as much as anything. But without this salt radish it was very hard to put this sorghum seed down. But we'd get this once in the morning and once in the evening, and that was it. And...but the....we'd sometimes wish for more water. Later, occasionally the guard would come by and yell, [Hunt says a Korean or Chinese term, possibly "Cha shui" or "tea water", "Do you want some water?" I remember one time I rushed to the little hole in the door to the little window in the door, and because I was too fast, he banged the door and went on. Another time I was a little slow in getting it, and so he banged it and went on. You had to get there...I think just partly to torture you, you know. And you wanted that water so bad, and they'd give it to you very hot. But you'd have to sip it and drink it quick if you wanted to get another cup. But if you drank it down, you didn't know whether you'd had any. I used to want to leave a little when you got real thirsty during the day, I'd want to leave a little. It's these kind of little things that bothered you. And I'd...previously, Kathy [Hunt's wife] had sent me some bedding, so that this time I brought bedding back, I think, when I came, with me. And they let me have it. And they let me have my Bible and my Greek Testament and...and concordance. In the first prison [sneezes] they hadn't let me have my Bible at first. Later they let me have it. So I spent a good deal of time memorizing, first of all. I got that started in the other prison because they didn't let me have the Bible and all I could depend on was what I had memorized as a kid, the Bible chapters and verses and so on. So then I began to memorize a whole chapter a day. I got through all of Romans and most of Revelation and so...Isaiah and some of the other passages in the Bible. But I'd get one whole chapter. Every morning I'd spend learning a chapter of the Bible and reviewing what I'd learned before early in the morning. And then I could say all of Romans, but I'm far from it now. [laughs]
SHUSTER: What was it like when you were transferred to concentration camp?
HUNT: Well, there again we didn't know. They didn't say they were going to transfer us. No, they'd told us...there had been rumors that maybe with the Korean holiday coming, that often on holidays they'd release people, like they used to do with the Romans and so on. And they didn't know whether they'd come out or whether I'd come out or what. These kind of things, when you're in there, you...you dream and you wonder and so on.
SHUSTER: Was the concentration camp just for enemy aliens?
SHUSTER: For the English and Americans....
HUNT: The westerners. And Americans, yeah. And they finally took us out. They said they were taking us to concentration camp. Well, was this lying? Sometimes....[break in tape. On the original reel of tape, the reel was flipped over to the other side while Hunt continued talking]....wedding anniversary, and children sent all over the world to get letters and pictures and mementoes. Made three volumes for us, which we've been enjoying.
SHUSTER: How long were you actually in the concentration camp for?
HUNT: Concentration camp...two different concentration camps, for about a month and a half. But, anyway, we didn't know...they put us on a train and took us to Mukden. They said they were taking us to Mukden. Well, I just couldn't believe all the things. For instance, they said and showed me pictures of the ships that were sunk in Pearl Harbor. And I couldn't believe that. I thought they were lying about that. I couldn't imagine America leaving all those ships to be sunk and things like that. [Laughs] Well, they did. And so, oh, they'd tell how they were making these big advances in the Philippines and the...down to Australia and they are getting down to Singapore, and everything. It's hard for us to believe that they're doing all this, but they'd tell us all these things. And so they said they were going to ship us to Mukden. Well, was this true or wasn't it true? And "Oh, concentration camp would be wonderful" and so on. Got on the train, and that night the Byrams and I, at least we could talk ourselves out for a change. And so we talked and had a great time that night. And then the....we got off at the station, and no, we had to stop at the capital. The train was a little late, and we slept in very cold cells...in Hsinking, the capital of Manchuria and then went on the next morning. And when we got off the train, I asked one of the men, "Were we going to be separate? Betsu-betsu " And he said, "Yes." Well, that made my heart sink. We'd enjoyed the night together after being separated in the cells, and being able to talk and have a little fellowship.
SHUSTER: You say separate. You mean separate from the....
HUNT: Well, that's what I...I use the term separate, betsu-betsu. That's the only Chinese I knew. And I didn't know just what they were going to do, whether they meant...in different cells, or what, you know. And when they said, "Betsu-betsu," I said, "Oh, my." My heart sank. I'd had enough being alone, you might say. And they put us each in a ricksha and took us to this club. The British and American business people had a clubhouse. Well, they'd taken this over as a concentration camp. And we didn't know that at the time, of course. They took us in these rickshaws from the station, and we went into the office and they lined us up. Way at the end of the hall some women went across the end of the hall, American women...or American or British, and they seemed to kind of smile. And we wondered, "Oh, what's that. Are they...are they smiling because of what's going to happen to us, or what or what?" you know. And then from the desk they took us across the hall, opened up the door, and here was a lovely big kind of a lounge, a great big lounge. There was a fireplace in it, and nice chairs around, and tables, and people sitting and reading books and magazines and newspaper. It just seemed like unbelievable. Like heaven after prison, you know, to walk in there. And then we were...after our prison, we just gabbed, gabbed, gabbed, like I've been gabbing this morning. I guess the people thought we were crazy.
SHUSTER: And that's where you spent the rest of your time until you were exchanged?
HUNT: Yeah, yeah.
SHUSTER: How was the...how did most the people bear up under waiting for the exchange? Was it fairly harmonious?
HUNT: Well, we read...we had worship services together, we had Bible studies together, and, different....we even were allowed to play a little...there was...this clubhouse had a bowling alley and ping pong. And they allowed us outdoors a little bit for volleyball and things like that, so there were men and women together. And so it wasn't impossible to talk. We just couldn't go where we wanted to go, but we were there.
SHUSTER: Was your family there with you?
HUNT: No, and...
SHUSTER: They had already left?
HUNT: ...they didn't know whether I was even alive or dead at this particular point. But somebody saw me there and saw the Byrams there, and this is Mukden. And my wife was up, and she had heard even that I had been executed. But they...got word to her that they had seen me in the concentration camp and that was the, I guess...almost the first time she knew that I was definitely alive.
SHUSTER: Now, why hadn't your wife and children been interned?
HUNT: Well, I guess five kids...they [ both laugh]....
SHUSTER: They didn't want to...?
HUNT: Two...two of them were just twins, you know. They put her out of the house because they turned our house into a concentration....our...the...the property where our house was...they turned that.... Uh-oh. Where's that book? Here...here are some of the other.... They turned that property into a (I guess it's in that other book, The Korean Pentacost. I brought that in, didn't I?)
HUNT: The house where we were living.... Oh, here it is. This was the second concentration camp, and this was on the property where our...our house was down in here, a one-story building. And they put her out of that with the children. But there was a British here that was in the concentration camp with the Hong Kong-Shanghai Bank. And they just took over the Hong Kong-Shanghai Bank, and they decided to put my wife and the children up on the top floor of the living quarters there. And this British said, "Okay, as far as...." I don't know that he could have said yes or no, but he did approve of it, and so she had a heated apartment. And the Japanese, because of the little children, they even put a sandbox up on top of the roof. And they were...yeah, so....
SHUSTER: How was the actual exchange handled?
HUNT: Well, of course, we don't know. The...all we know is that there were Japanese... [Japanese ambassador to the United States Admiral Kichisaburo] Nomura and prominent Japanese were here in America and they wanted them back, I guess. I don't know, America...how much America was working to get us back and what about international law and that I don't know. But, they...I know that something to do with....America wanted to know where so and so and so and so was. And there was one man in Japan that they couldn't find or what...whether he was in prison or concentration camp. He didn't show up. Our exchange-ship was held for a day or two because he didn't show up. I suppose the Americans are saying, "Well, where is he?" And there was a Jewish fellow, a big husky chap, that was in concentration camp with us. But he had run down terribly while he was in prison. And they took him and put him in another room and fed him [laughs] up to get him back his normal weight before the exchange took place. And so they...they treated us...specially just before we left. They put us in...gave us a hotel treatment in Japan. And breakfast in the hotel, and things like that. They...before the exchange they try to treat us a little decent, just before the exchange.
SHUSTER: And then your ship sailed to Hawaii, or to a....
HUNT: No, to Lourenco Marques [Mozambique]. We went to...we were supposed to pick up some people in China and we picked up some people.... Did we pick up some people in Hong Kong? I think we did. And then in Singapore, the same exchange ship. And so Hong Kong and Singapore, and then we went across the Indian Ocean to Lourenco Marques in Africa. And that's where the ship from America with the Japanese on it came. And we were exchanged in Africa.
SHUSTER: Were...and I imagine that after you were exchanged and were debriefed or they talked about your experiences in China?
HUNT: Well, they didn't...I don't know if they debriefed us, but they did want to know....in fact, I guess this is about the only interview I've had except the US Navy at that time they wanted to know what we'd been through.
SHUSTER: Well, that might be a good point to end our interview here, unless you have some point to add about your years in Manchuria.
SHUSTER: Okay. Well, once again, thank you.
HUNT: Except the years keep going with a fruit here in America even. I'm constantly being asked to Korean churches. And people that were in prison at that time and suffered the same things. Here in Philadelphia there are now thirty Korean churches. The other day they had some special meetings. They had fifteen hundred. I didn't get to the meetings, but two...one thousand to two thousand Koreans. There's about a population of thirty thouand here, but I praise the Lord that the work goes on. And because of our lives out there I'm constantly invited to speak.
SHUSTER: Because of your experiences in the prison you're well known among the Koreans...the Christians...the Korean church? [pauses] Thank you again.
HUNT: There's a boy whose picture appeared on the Wheaton Alumni Bulletin recently, who's father was in prison five years. He's evidently just recently graduated from Wheaton College.
SHUSTER: What was his name?
HUNT: I don't know his name. His father's name is...oh, these days and he...oh, I know his name like my own children's, but I slip. But the father...the father is on a trip to Korea right now, but the son just graduated from Wheaton and his picture was on about the last Alumni Bulletin I got. Talking to somebody...had his hat on and his name is Ree [unclear] or Lee. Korean, they put it in different translations over here. That's the son of that man, just graduated from Wheaton.
SHUSTER: Well, I think this would be a good point to conclude.