Danger of Extinction

Sapsarees, which were rarely seen in villages, had to struggle with 36 years of Japanese occupation and quickly reached the point of extinction. Jindo dogs and Pung-san dogs were luckily designated as national monuments by Japan and survived, but Sapsarees became a subject of slaughter as they encountered heavy casualty. Japan's operation of eradicating Korea's indigenous dogs, which is rarely recorded in world history textbooks, began in 1940 and, even before that, Japan was already disgracing Korean native dogs and inhumanely using their fur for research on making resources. In March 8, 1940, Japan created a government ordinance #26 that promoted collection of Korean dog-fur into a national policy. According to the records, at least 100,000 dogs and up to 500,000 dogs were yearly slaughtered, but it is likely that the actual casualty was much more severe. So many Sapsarees were killed during this process by the ordinance that seeing a Sapsaree was almost impossible except in remote country regions. Sudden turn of events such as the Liberation and the Korean War made the situation even worse for the Sapsarees. With the Western culture flowing into Korea, people began to think that anything Western was better. As a result, indigenous Sapsarees gradually degraded into a dog useful for medicine and tasty food. The disappearance of Sapsarees and influx of long-haired Western dogs were occuring at the same time and the people naturally began to miscall and improperly name the small foreign dogs as "Sapsaree". This act of misnomer is highly plausible since the young generation had never seen a real Sapsaree before the Liberation period.

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