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This is a Korean name; the family name is An.
An Jung-geun
Korean name
Hangul 안중근
Hanja 安重根
Revised Romanization An Jung-geun
McCune–Reischauer An Chunggŭn

Ahn Jung-geun or An Jung-geun (September 2, 1879 - March 26, 1910) (Baptismal name: Thomas) was a Korean independence activist,[1][2][3] nationalist,[4][5] and pan-Asianist.[6][7]

He assassinated the first Prime Minister of Japan, Itō Hirobumi, following the signing of the Eulsa Treaty, with Korea on the verge of annexation by Japan.[8]

Contents

Biography

An was born in Haeju, Hwanghae Do, to a family of the Sunheung An lineage. He worked first in education, later joining the armed resistance against the Japanese colonial rulers. While fleeing the fighting he took refuge with a priest of the Roman Catholic Church named Wilhelm (Korean name, Hong Sok-ku) and hid in his church for several months. The priest encouraged An to read the Bible and after a series of discussions with Wilhelm, An converted to Catholicism in January 1897. He maintained his belief in Catholicism until his death, even asking his that his son become a priest in his last letter to his wife.[9]

He passed the Japanese guards at the train station, hiding a gun in his lunchbox. The guards did not check his lunchbox because they would never have suspected an assassination weapon within the lunchbox. Ito Hirobumi had come back from negotiating with the Russian representitive on the train. An Jung-geun assassinated Ito Hirobumi on the railway platform in Harbin, Manchuria in 1909. After firing upon Hirobumi, he yelled for Korean independence and waved the Korean flag. Afterwards he was arrested by Russian guards who held him for two days before turning him over to Japanese colonial authorities. When he heard of the News that Ito had died, he made the sign of the cross in gratitude. An was quoted as saying "I have ventured to commit a serious crime, offering my life for my country. This is the behavior of a noble-minded patriot."[9] Despite the orders from the Bishop of Korea not to administer the Sacraments to An, Fr. Wilhelm disobeyed and went to An to give An the Last Sacraments. An insisted that the captors call him by his baptismal name, Thomas.

His Japanese captors showed sympathy to An. An recorded in his autobiography that the public prosecutor, Mizobuchi Takao, exclaimed "From what you have told me, it is clear that you are a righteous man of East Asia. I can't believe a sentence of death will be imposed on a righteous man. There's nothing to worry about." He was also given New Year's delicacies and his calligraphy was highly admired and requested.[9] After six trials, An was sentenced to death by the Japanese colonial court in Ryojun China. An was angered at the sentence, though he expected it.[9] He had hoped to be viewed as a prisoner of war instead of an assassin[9]. On the same day of sentencing at two o'clock in the afternoon, his two brothers Jeong-Geun and Gong-Geun met with him to deliver their mother's message, "Your death is for the sake of your country, and don't ask for your life cowardly. Your brave death for justice is a final filial regards to your mother." [10]

Judge Hirashi, who presided over An's trial, had promised An that a stay of execution for at least a few months would be granted, but Tokyo ordered prompt action. Prior to his execution, An made two final requests; that the wardens help him finish his essay, "On Peace in East Asia", and for a set of white silk Korean clothes to die in. The warden was able to grant the second request and resigned shortly afterwards. An requested to be executed as a prisoner of war, by firing squad. But instead it was ordered that he should be hanged as a common criminal would be. The execution took place in Port Arthur, then also known as Ryojun on March 26, 1910. Itō's death resulted in the acceleration of the final stage of the colonization process.[9]

According to Donald Keene, author of "Emperor of Japan: Meiji and His World, 1852-1912", An Jung-geun was an admirer of Emperor Meiji of Japan.[9] One of the 15 'charges' An leveled against Ito was that he had deceived the Emperor of Japan, whom An felt desired peace in East Asia and Korean independence. An requested that Meiji be informed of his reasons for his assassination of Ito in the hopes that if Meiji understood his reasons, the emperor would realize how mistaken Ito's policies were and would rejoice. An also felt sure that most Japanese felt similar hatred for Ito, an opinion he formed from talking with Japanese prisoners in Korea.[9] While An was staying in the prison and on the trial, many Japanese prison guards, lawyers and even prosecutors were inspired by An's great spirit, righteousness, and humanity.[11]

For his actions as a resistance fighter, he was awarded South Korea's Order of Merit for National Foundation in 1962.

Pan-Asianism

An strongly believed in a union of the three great countries in East Asia, China, Korea, and Japan in order to counter and fight off the "White Peril", being the European countries engaged in colonialism, restoring peace to East Asia. He followed the progress of Japan during the Russo-Japanese War and claimed that he and his compatriots were delighted at hearing of the defeat of one of the agents of the White Peril, but was disappointed that the war ended before Russia was totally subjugated.

An felt that with the death of Itō, Japan and Korea could become friends because of the many traditions that they shared. He hoped that this friendship, along with China, would become a model for the world to follow. His thoughts on Pan-Asianism were stated in his essay, "On Peace in East Asia" that he worked on and left unfinished before his execution.[9]

Calligraphy works

"一日不讀書口中生荊棘" means "Unless reading everyday, thorns grow in the mouth."

An is highly renowned for calligraphy works. An's calligraphy works have been respected not only for his artistic skills but also honourable spirit, which is reflected on his works.[citation needed] While he was staying in the prison, many prison guards such as Toshichi Chiba who respected him, requested An for calligraphy works.[11] He left many calligraphy works which were written in the jail of Yeosun (Lushun) although he hadn't studied calligraphy formally. Some of the works were designated to Treasures No. 569 of Korea republic in 1972.[12] His famous work is "一日不讀書口中生荊棘"(Korean pronunciation: il il bu dok seo gu jung saeng hyeong geuk, Meaning: Unless reading everyday, thorns grow in the mouth.) This has been widely quoted by people who wanted to give emphasis to reading and studying.

In popular culture

He is commemorated in the martial art Taekwondo with the Joon Gun pattern being dedicated to him.

Novelist Bok Geo-il's 1987 novel Looking for an Epitaph (碑銘 (비명)을 찾아서) is an alternate history story, which is set in the 1980s of Korea that remained a permanent colony of Japan, as a cascade effect of An's failure to assassinate Ito. The Korean movie 2009 Lost Memories is very loosely based on the novel but tells a completely different story. In the Korean film, An Jung-geun is spotted and killed by Japanese soldiers before he is able to shoot Ito Hirobumi. The subsequent butterfly effect makes Japan join the allied side during World War II and become a permanent member of the UN Security Council, enduring the Japanese colonial rule of Korea till the beginning of the 21st century.

In the PC game Civilization IV expansion pack, Beyond the Sword, An Jung-geun is a Great Spy.

The story is summarized in the song 1909 by the band Scrabbel.

In honor of him, ROKS An Jung-geun (SS 075), the third ship of Son Wonil class submarines, was commissioned in 2009.

See also

References

  1. ^ An was the chief of staff of the Korean Righteous army
  2. ^ "What Defines a Hero?". Japan Society. http://aboutjapan.japansociety.org/content.cfm/hero. Retrieved 2008-01-29. 
  3. ^ "Ito, Hirobumi". Portrait of Modern japanese Historical Figures. http://www.ndl.go.jp/portrait/e/datas/12.html. Retrieved 2008-01-29. 
  4. ^ "Ito Hirobumi". Encyclopædia Britannica. http://www.britannica.com/ebc/article-9368315. Retrieved 2008-01-29. 
  5. ^ Dudden, Alexis (2005). Japan's Colonization of Korea: Discourse and Power. University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 0-82482-829-1. 
  6. ^ [http://www.ndl.go.jp/site_nippon/kensei/shiryou/limage/Gazou_40_3.html "Peace of East Asia " Thesis written by An Jung-geun in 1910]
  7. ^ Shin, Gi-Wook (2006). Ethnic Nationalism in Korea. Standford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-5408-X. 
  8. ^ Ito, Hirobumi | Portraits of Modern Japanese Historical Figures at www.ndl.go.jp
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i Keene, Donald (2002). Emperor of Japan: Meiji and His World, 1852–1912. Columbia University Press. pp. 662–667. ISBN 0-231-12340-X. 
  10. ^ "Ahn Jung-Geun, The Great Patriot Martyr of Korea", Patriot Ahn Memorial Hall, November 1995, p. 5 
  11. ^ a b "Research notes of Ippei Wakabayashi" http://www.bunkyo.ac.jp/faculty/lib/slib/kiyo/Int/it1901/it190110.pdf
  12. ^ An Jung Geun calligraphy, Treasures No. 569

External links


This is a Korean name; the family name is An.
An Jung-geun
File:An
Born 2 September 1879(1879-09-02)
Haeju, Hwanghae Province, Chosun (now Korea)
Died 26 March 1910 (aged 30)
Ryojun, China
Nationality Korean
Religion Roman Catholic
Korean name
Hangul 안중근
Hanja 安重根
Revised Romanization An Jung-geun
McCune–Reischauer Ahn Chunggŭn

An Jung-geun or Ahn Jung-geun (September 2, 1879 - March 26, 1910) (안중근; 安重根; Baptismal name: Thomas) was a Korean independence activist,[1][2][3] nationalist,[4][5] and pan-Asianist.[6][7]

On October 26, 1909, he assassinated Itō Hirobumi (伊藤博文), the first Prime Minister of Japan and then-Japanese Resident-General of Korea, following the signing of the Eulsa Treaty, with Korea on the verge of annexation by Japan.[8]

Contents

Biography

Early Accounts

An was born on September 2, 1879, in Haeju, Hwanghae-do, the first son of An Tae-hun (안태훈; 安泰勳) and Baek Cheon-jo (백천조; 白川趙), of the family of the Sunheung An (순흥안씨; 順興安氏) lineage. His childhood name was An Eung-chil (안응칠; 安應七). As a boy, he learned Chinese literature and Western sciences, but was more interested in martial arts and marksmanship. Kim Gu (김구; 金九), future leader of the Korean independence movement who had taken refuge in An Tae-hun's house at the time, wrote that young An Jun-geun was an excellent marksman, liked to read books, and had strong charisma.[9]

At the age of 25, he started a coal business, but devoted himself to education of Korean people after Eulsa Treaty by establishing private schools in northwestern regions of Korea. In 1907 he exiled himself to Vladivostok to join armed resistance against the Japanese colonial rulers. He was appointed a lieutenant general of Korean resistance army, led several attacks against Japanese forces, but was eventually defeated.

Religion

At the age of 16, An entered the Catholic Church with his father, where he received his baptismal name "Thomas" (多默; 도마), and learned French. While fleeing from the Japanese, An took refuge with a French priest of the Catholic Church in Korea named Wilhelm (Korean name, Hong Seok-ku; 홍석구; 洪錫九) and hid in his church for several months. The priest encouraged An to read the Bible and had a series of discussions with An. He maintained his belief in Catholicism until his death, even asking his that his son become a priest in his last letter to his wife.[10]

Assassination of Ito Hirobumi

In 1909, An decided to assassinate Ito Hirobumi, who led the colonization of Korea as the Resident-General of Korea. Ito was to come to Harbin, Manchuria for a meeting with the Finance Minister of the Russian Emprire. On October 26, 1909, An passed the Japanese guards at the train station, hiding a gun in his lunchbox.

Ito Hirobumi had come back from negotiating with the Russian representitive on the train. An shot Ito three times with an FN M1900 pistol on the railway platform. He also shot Kawagami Toshihiko (川上俊彦), the Japanese Consul General, Morita Jiro (森泰二郞), a Secretary of Imperial Household Agency, and Tanaka Seitaro (田中淸太郞), an executive of South Manchuria Railway, who were seriously injured. After the shooting, An yelled out in Korean independence in Russian, stating "Корея! Ура!", and waving the Korean flag.

Afterwards, An was arrested by Russian guards who held him for two days before turning him over to Japanese colonial authorities. When he heard the news that Ito had died, he made the sign of the cross in gratitude. An was quoted as saying, "I have ventured to commit a serious crime, offering my life for my country. This is the behavior of a noble-minded patriot."[10] Despite the orders from the Bishop of Korea not to administer the Sacraments to An, Fr. Wilhelm disobeyed and went to An to give An the Last Sacraments. An insisted that the captors call him by his baptismal name, Thomas.

In the court, An insisted that he be treated as a prisoner of war, as the lieutenant general of Korea resistance army, instead of a criminal, and listed 15 crimes Ito had committed which convinced him to kill Ito.[11]

1. Assassinating the Korean Empress Myeongseong   2. Dethroning the Emperor Gojong
3. Forcing 14 unequal treaties on Korea [12]   4. Massacring innocent Koreans
5. Taking the power of Korean government by force   6. Plundering Korean railroads, mines, forests, and rivers
7. Forcing the use of Japanese banknotes   8. Disbanding Korean armed forces
9. Obstructing education of Koreans   10. Banning Koreans from studying abroad
11. Confiscating and burning Korean textbooks   12. Spreading a rumor to the world that Koreans wanted Japanese protection
13. Deceiving the Japanese Emperor by saying that the relationship between Korea and Japan was peaceful when in truth it was full of hostility and conflicts
14. Breaking the peace of Asia   15. Assassinating the Emperor Komei.[13]

Imprisonment and Death

His Japanese captors showed sympathy to An. An recorded in his autobiography that the public prosecutor, Mizobuchi Takao, exclaimed "From what you have told me, it is clear that you are a righteous man of East Asia. I can't believe a sentence of death will be imposed on a righteous man. There's nothing to worry about." He was also given New Year's delicacies and his calligraphy was highly admired and requested.[10] After six trials, An was sentenced to death by the Japanese colonial court in Ryojun China. An was angered at the sentence, though he expected it.[10] He had hoped to be viewed as a prisoner of war instead of an assassin.[10] On the same day of sentencing at two o'clock in the afternoon, his two brothers Jeong-Geun and Gong-Geun met with him to deliver their mother's message, "Your death is for the sake of your country, and don't ask for your life cowardly. Your brave death for justice is a final filial regards to your mother." [14]


Judge Hirashi, who presided over An's trial, had promised An that a stay of execution for at least a few months would be granted, but Tokyo ordered prompt action. Prior to his execution, An made two final requests; that the wardens help him finish his essay, "On Peace in East Asia", and for a set of white silk Korean clothes to die in. The warden was able to grant the second request and resigned shortly afterwards. An requested to be executed as a prisoner of war, by firing squad. But instead it was ordered that he should be hanged as a common criminal would be. The execution took place in Port Arthur, then also known as Ryojun on March 26, 1910. There has been an argument that Itō's death resulted in the acceleration of the final stage of the colonization process,[10] but the claim has been long disputed among historians.[15]

According to Donald Keene, author of "Emperor of Japan: Meiji and His World, 1852-1912", An Jung-geun was an admirer of Emperor Meiji of Japan.[10] One of the 15 'charges' An leveled against Ito was that he had deceived the Emperor of Japan, whom An felt desired peace in East Asia and Korean independence. An requested that Meiji be informed of his reasons for his assassination of Ito in the hopes that if Meiji understood his reasons, the emperor would realize how mistaken Ito's policies were and would rejoice. An also felt sure that most Japanese felt similar hatred for Ito, an opinion he formed from talking with Japanese prisoners in Korea.[10] While An was staying in the prison and on the trial, many Japanese prison guards, lawyers and even prosecutors were inspired by An's great spirit, righteousness, and humanity.[16]

Pan-Asianism

An strongly believed in a union of the three great countries in East Asia, China, Korea, and Japan in order to counter and fight off the "White Peril", being the European countries engaged in colonialism, restoring peace to East Asia. He followed the progress of Japan during the Russo-Japanese War and claimed that he and his compatriots were delighted at hearing of the defeat of one of the agents of the White Peril, but was disappointed that the war ended before Russia was totally subjugated.

An felt that with the death of Itō, Japan and Korea could become friends because of the many traditions that they shared. He hoped that this friendship, along with China, would become a model for the world to follow. His thoughts on Pan-Asianism were stated in his essay, "On Peace in East Asia" (東洋平化論; 동양평화론) that he worked on and left unfinished before his execution.[10] In this work, An recommends the organization of combined armed forces and the issue of joint banknotes among Korea, Japan, and China. Sasagawa Norikatsu (笹川紀勝), a Professor of Law at Meiji University, highly praises An's idea as an equivalent of the European Union and a concept that preceded the concept of United Nations by 10 years.[17]

Calligraphic works

An is highly renowned for calligraphy works. An's calligraphy works have been respected not only for his artistic skills but also honourable spirit, which is reflected on his works.[citation needed] While he was in prison, many prison guards such as Chiba Toshichi (千葉十七) who respected him, requested An for calligraphy works.[16] He left many calligraphy works which were written in the jail of Yeosun (Lushun) although he hadn't studied calligraphy formally. He would leave on his calligraphy works a signature of "大韓國人" (Great Korean) and a handprint of his left hand that was missing the last joint of ring finger, which he cut off with his comrades in 1909 as a pledge to kill Ito. Some of the works were designated to Treasures No. 569 of Korea republic in 1972.[18] One of his famous work is "一日不讀書口中生荊棘"(일일부독서 구중생형극; Unless reading everyday, thorns grow in the mouth.) Quoted from Analects of Confucius (論語), this sentence has been widely quoted by people who wanted to give emphasis to reading and studying.

Legacy

, Seoul, Korea]] The assassination of Ito by An was praised by Koreans and many Chinese as well, who were struggling against Japanese invasion at the time. Well-known Chinese political leaders such as Yuan Shikai (袁世凱), Sun Yat-sen (孫逸仙; 孫文), and Liang Qichao (梁啟超) wrote poems acclaiming An.[19]

An's family produced many other Korean independence activists. An's cousin An Myung Geun (안명근; 安明根) attempted to assassinate Terauchi Masatake (寺内正毅), the first Japanese Governor-General of Korea (조선총독; 朝鮮總督) who executed the Japan-Korea Annexation Treaty in 1910. But failed, imprisoned for 15 years, and died in 1926. An's brothers An Jeong Geun (안정근; 安定根) and An Gong Geun (안공근; 安恭根) as well as An's cousin An Kyung Geun (안경근; 安敬根) and nephew An Woo Saeng (안우생; 安偶生) joined the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea in Shanghai, China led by Kim Gu and fought against Japan. An Chun Saeng (안춘생; 安春生), another nephew of An's, joined the National Revolutionary Army of China, participated in battles against Japanese forces at Shanghai, and joined Korean Liberation Army in 1940. Later he became a lieutenant general of Republic of Korea Army and a member of the National Assembly of South Korea.

An was posthumously awarded the Republic of Korea Medal of Order of Merit for National Foundation (건국훈장 대한민국장; 建國勳章 大韓民國章) in 1962 by Korean Government, the most prestigious civil decoration in the Republic of Korea, for his efforts for Korean independence.[20] Memorial halls for An were erected in Seoul in 1970 by South Korean government and in Harbin by Chinese government in 2006.[21]

In 2010 An Jung Geun Symposium in Korea, Wada Haruki (和田春樹), a prominent history scholar in Tokyo University, evaluated An by quoting Ito Yukio (伊藤之雄), a fellow history schoar in Kyoto University.[22] In his text published in 2009, Ito Yukio claims that the reign by Ito Hirobumi resulted in strong resistance from Koreans as it was considered the first step for annexation of Korea due to the cultural differences, and that An is not to be blamed even if he assassinated Ito without understanding Ito's ideology (2009, Ito).

On March 26, 2010, a nation-wide centenary tribute to An was held in South Korea, including a ceremony led by the Prime Minister Chung Un-Chan and tribute concerts.

In popular culture

North-Korean film An Jung Gun Shoots Ito Hirobumi is a dramatized story of the event.[23]

He is commemorated in the martial art Taekwondo with the Joon Gun pattern being dedicated to him.

Novelist Bok Geo-il's 1987 novel Looking for an Epitaph (碑銘 (비명)을 찾아서) is an alternate history story, which is set in the 1980s of Korea that remained a permanent colony of Japan, as a cascade effect of An's failure to assassinate Ito. The Korean movie 2009 Lost Memories is very loosely based on the novel but tells a completely different story. In the Korean film, An Jung-geun is spotted and killed by Japanese soldiers before he is able to shoot Ito Hirobumi. The subsequent butterfly effect makes Japan join the allied side during World War II and become a permanent member of the UN Security Council, enduring the Japanese colonial rule of Korea till the middle of the 20th century.

In the PC game Civilization IV expansion pack, Beyond the Sword, An Jung-geun is a Great Spy.

The story is summarized in the song 1909 by the band Scrabbel.

In honor of him, ROKS An Jung-geun (SS 075), the third ship of Son Wonil class submarines, was commissioned in 2009.

See also

References

  • Chung, K. (1910/2004). 대한계년사 9 [History of Korean Empire Vol. 9]. Seoul, Korea: Somyung. ISBN 895626094X
  • Ito, Y. (2009). 伊藤博文 近代日本を創った男 [Ito Hirobumi - A man who modernized Japan]. Tokyo, Japan: Kodansha. ISBN 4062159090.
  • Jansen, M. B. (1961). Sakamoto Ryoma and the Meiji Restoration. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-0785-5
  • Kang, J. (2007). 한국근대사산책 5 [Modern history of Korea Vol.5]. Seoul, Korea: Inmulgwa Sasang. ISBN 9788959060757
  • Kim, G. (1928/1997). 백범일지 [Baekbeomilji]. Seoul, Korea: Hakminsa. ISBN 89-7193-086-1
  • Nam, K. (1999). 종횡무진 동양사 [History of Eastern Asia] Seoul, Korea: Greenbee. ISBN 8976820517
  • Ravina, M. (2004). The last samurai: The life and battles of Saigo Takamori. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0-471-08970-2

Notes

  1. ^ An was the chief of staff of the Korean Righteous army
  2. ^ "What Defines a Hero?". Japan Society. http://aboutjapan.japansociety.org/content.cfm/hero. Retrieved 2008-01-29. 
  3. ^ "Ito, Hirobumi". Portrait of Modern japanese Historical Figures. http://www.ndl.go.jp/portrait/e/datas/12.html. Retrieved 2008-01-29. 
  4. ^ "Ito Hirobumi". Encyclopædia Britannica. http://www.britannica.com/ebc/article-9368315. Retrieved 2008-01-29. 
  5. ^ Dudden, Alexis (2005). Japan's Colonization of Korea: Discourse and Power. University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 0-82482-829-1. 
  6. ^ "Peace of East Asia" Thesis written by An Jung-geun in 1910
  7. ^ Shin, Gi-Wook (2006). Ethnic Nationalism in Korea. Standford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-5408-X. 
  8. ^ Ito, Hirobumi | Portraits of Modern Japanese Historical Figures at www.ndl.go.jp
  9. ^ Kim, G. (1928/1997, p.48)
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i Keene, Donald (2002). Emperor of Japan: Meiji and His World, 1852–1912. Columbia University Press. pp. 662–667. ISBN 0-231-12340-X. 
  11. ^ Kang.(2007, p.131)
  12. ^ For example, see the article Eulsa Treaty
  13. ^ Komei, who was strongly opposed to radical political changes, died at the age of 35. The official cause of death was smallpox. But there has been a theory widely believed at the time that the emperor was actually poisoned by the anti-Bakufu clique. See for example Chung (1910/2004, p.61), Jansen (1961, p.282), Nam (1999, p.111), and Ravina (2004, p.135).
  14. ^ [Expression error: Unexpected < operator Ahn Jung-Geun, The Great Patriot Martyr of Korea], Patriot Ahn Memorial Hall, November 1995, p. 5 
  15. ^ [1] 2010 Nocut News article
  16. ^ a b "Research notes of Ippei Wakabayashi" http://www.bunkyo.ac.jp/faculty/lib/slib/kiyo/Int/it1901/it190110.pdf
  17. ^ [2] 2010 Segye Ilbo article
  18. ^ An Jung Geun calligraphy, Treasures No. 569
  19. ^ [3] 2009 Joongang Ilbo Article
  20. ^ [4] Doosan Encyclopedia
  21. ^ [5] 2009 Asian Business Article
  22. ^ [6] 2010 Kyunghyang News Article
  23. ^ DVD in North Korea Books

External links








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