Do you remember the year of 1919?
95 years ago, very loud voice by tremendous number of people echoed down in Korean peninsula. Countless number of Koreans shouts out ‘a cheer for the independence of Korea’ with the spirit of independence and resistance wrongfulness by Japanese Imperialism. Back in 1919, what really had happened in Korea?
In 1910, Japanese imperialism took away the sovereignty of Korea by the ‘Korea-Japan Annexation Treaty.’ After the treaty, Japanese Imperialism had been reinforcing their exploitation policy in Korea. Moreover, many people believed the rumor of the last King of Cho-Sun while the first emperor of Korean Empire Government, Emperor Goh-Jong got poisoned and killed by Japanese Imperialism. Rage by Korean people, sky was the only limit of that anger. On the other hand, 33 Korean political leaders were planning a huge demonstration movement through promulgating a declaration of independence, which will be called as ‘3.1 Movement.’
▲the patriotic martyr, Ryu, Kwan-Soon's Seodaemun Prison Inmate Profile Photo
3.1 Movement was held at March 1st, 1919, and that is why people call the movement as 3.1. Whole Koreans in Korean peninsula rose up as one race so the scale of the movement was very huge. According to the record of the Japanese Government-General of Korea, about 1.06 million people engaged the movement. With consideration of total population of Korea at the period, the number, 1.06 million was extremely large since the total population had been estimated from 16 to 20 million. The patriotic martyr, Ryu, Kwan-Soon shout out independence at Chun-Ahn while many others shout out independence in various places, such as markets, schools, working places, and even in households. However, Japanese Imperialism reacted with violence against Koreans’ non-violence movement. Japanese Imperialism committed massacre in various spots: including the most famous massacre, Je-Ahm-Ri. According to the record of Government-General of Korea, total 7,509 people lost their lives due to the movement participation. Actually, the number will be increased if un-counted deaths are added.
Aftermath 3.1 movement
3.1 Movement had been ongoing from March to May in many provinces of Korea. Koreans finally opened their eyes of racial awareness and necessary of modern type government. At the end, Korean provisional government was established. Unfortunately, exploitation by Japanese Imperialism became harder and tougher since the movement. Under the title of ‘Cultural Governance,’ Japanese Imperialism committed hidden torture, destruction Korean culture, and ‘erasing (culturally, racially annihilating) Koreans.’ Nevertheless, Koreans kept resisting and finally gained independence in 1945. Currently, Korean government set the date of March 1st as ‘National Holiday’ to commemorate the movement.
This is the history of 3.1 Movement and grief of Koreans. Also, this history keeps alarming from many historic sites -including Seodaemun Prison- that Koreans should not forget the past. This weekend, we want to invite you to the 3.1 Movement Commemoration Ceremonies which will be held at various historic places. Please come and grab an opportunity to meditate the history and to prepare the future.