Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The patriotic deed of Yoon Bong-gil in 1932

"The Japanese National Anthem was being played, when a youth was seen to step forward and place a cylinder on the front of the dais and then dart backwards. A dull explosion immediately followed, but it attracted so little attention that the music continued playing. ... others were seen to collapse wounded and bleeding, while soldiers seized the youth and battered him. Subsequently, another bomb of the same pattern was found near the dais unexploded. "

[May 28th London News]

On 29th April, 1932, there was a bombing attack at Japanese army celebration of Emperor Hirohito's birthday in Shanghai. It was conducted by 25-year old Korean young man, Yoon Bong-gil. This bombing was targeted at Japanese imperialists. It actually killed Yoshinori Shirakawa (a general of Imperial Japanese Army), and Kawabata Sadaji,(a Government Chancellor of Japaneses residents in Shanghai) and injured Kenkichi Ueda (Division 9 commander of Japanese Imperial Army), Kuramatsu Murai (Japanese Consul-General in Shanghai) and Shigemitsu Mamoru (Japanese Envoy in Shanghai).

Yoon Bong-gil was captured on the spot, sentenced to death by Japanese military court in Shanghai and transferred to Osaka prison in Novemeber. He was executed in Kanazawa on 18th December that year.

I respect for all his patriotic deeds and sacrifice himself for the liberation of Korea.
Through this historic event, on the other hand, I also contemplate the definition of history.
It can be seen as a terrorist attack in terms of Japan. However, he was regarded as an intrepid hero for other Japanese colonies in Asia, not to mention Korea. This clearly demonstrates how history can be differently interpreted by its own national context and sentiment.

1 comment:

Joo-Eun Kim said...

The same can be said for Kim Gu, who is on the new 100,000 won note. We Koreans see him as a national hero. The Japanese saw him as a terrorist.

There was a major controversy last summer when an American scholar from Princeton taught at Korea University's summer school and called Kim Gu a terrorist in his class.

There is evidence that Kim Gu was proud of his violent actions. He reportedly called himself the butcher. Although I personally still see him as a national hero, I wonder if there were others we may have put on the new 100,000 won note. How about Yi Sunshin? He was a great military leader who prevented further Japanese invasions and saved the country in the late 16th century. Yet, I don't think he was even in the running for the new 100,000 won note.