2018.08.17 | 김동국
Korea celebrated the 73rd anniversary of National Liberation Day on August 15th. The festivities included the long-overdue official recognition of some Jeju people for their work in support of Korea’s independence. Mike Laidman has more.
In March 1919, some 1,500 islanders gathered in (조천읍) Jocheon-eup to join the independence movement that was sweeping the island.
[slug] In March 1919, there was the independence movement in Jocheon eup
These Korean independence activists worked hard to get their country back after the Japanese invaded and took over in 1910 during the (조선) Joseon Dynasty.
A man named (김시범) Kim Si-beom was the leader of the independence movement on Jeju at the time.
Late Kim Si-beom recognized as ‘Man of National Merit’
This year, he is being recognized as a man of national merit, 35 years after the the request he be designated as such was initially made.
Kim failed to be named many times
Being the leader of an independence movement meant putting himself into potentially dangerous situations, and he was arrested for violating the National Security Law and jailed for one year.
But the reason he was for so long denied the national merit designation was different.
“Activities unproved” was the response for so long.
Kim Yong-uk / Kim Si-beom’s descendant
I was in a lot of pain as Kim’s descendant. But today, the bitterness has been healed.
<인터뷰 : 김용욱/ 故 김시범 선생 후손>
"그동안 자손으로서 심적 고통이 컸습니다. 이제야 가슴 속 아픈 응어리가 다 풀리는 것 같습니다."
Late Gang Tae-ha awarded presidential citation
The late (강태하) Gang Tae-ha joined the independence movement at (법정사) Beopjeongsa Temple in Seogwipo.
He was awarded a presidential citation this year.
But just as with Kim, recognition was not easy.
Gang’s application rejected for ‘lack of proof’
Gang was arrested and faced criminal penalties.
His descendants submitted his criminal record, however the application for national merit was continuously rejected due to “no clear proof of participation in the independence movement.”
Ministry of Patriots & Veteran Affairs recognizes Gang’s efforts
The Ministry of Patriots & Veteran Affairs recognized Gang’s participation in the independence movement at (법정사) Beopjeongsa Temple this year.
Gang Sang-mu / Gang Tae-ha’s son
My father failed in the first and second rounds of screening for national merit. The application fell short of the standards set by the authorities.
<인터뷰 : 강상무/ 故 강태하 선생 후손>
"아버지도 심사에서 탈락했고 저도 1,2차 심사에서 탈락해 담당자에서 이유를 들어보니 유공자 선정 기준이 어떤 틀과 기준에 맞춰서 이뤄지다보니..."
5 local independence activists recognized this year
Along with (김시범) Kim Si-beom and (강태하) Gang Tae-hae’s achievements, contributions to the independence movement by (한백흥) Han Baek-heung, (조무빈) Jo Mu-bin, and (신계선) Shin Gae-seon were all recognized this year.
[Reporter] Mike Laidman
[Camera] Hyun Min-cheol
Although the recognition might be late, the honor of these brave people has been restored roughly 100 years after the independence movement swept first swept through Jeju island.
Mike Laidman, KCTV