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Beautiful Young Man Lee Soo-Hyun, His Self-Sacrifice Moved Korea-Japan to Tears

Beautiful Young Man Lee Soo-Hyun, His Self-Sacrifice Moved Korea-Japan to Tears

Posted December. 31, 2001 09:22,   


Dong-a Ilbo selected Lee Soo-Hyun (photo picture) as the `person of this year`. Lee Soo-Hyun sacrificed his life when he tried to save a Japanese man who fell down to the subway track in Japan. Mr. Lee awakened us to the value of sacrifice and courage that we have forgotten. The Japanese Islands wept at his righteous death, and Koreans, who have been fed up with numerous `gates`, saw a thread of hope.

It was about 7:15 pm on January 26th at the Shinokubo station in Tokyo, Japan. Mr. Lee (26, a leave of absence in his fourth year at Korea University, majoring trade), who was studying in Japan, jumped down to the railroad when a drunk Japanese fell down to the railroad. However, he lost his life unable to avoid an electric motor that was running toward the platform.

Concluding this year, I visited the Shinokubo station where Mr. Lee`s short life was ended. There were more than unusual `emergency stop buttons for electric motors`. These were installed after Lee`s death. There is a copperplate that pays tribute to Lee`s death.

Do Japanese people still remember Lee? I asked a young Japanese man in his 20s in front of a copperplate if he still remembers Lee. "Of course. What he [Lee] did was not something anybody could do." said the young man. A woman in her 30s also said, "Whenever I pass by here, I look at the copperplate."

Hearing the news that their son was selected as the `person of the year`, his father Lee Sung-Dae (62) and mother Shin Yoon-Chan (51) said, "Although we hear that we `raised our child well`, it is better to have a living son even if the son troubles us."

Lee`s parents visit their son`s grave twice a week in Youngrak Park Cemetery in Keumjung-ku, Busan. A big comfort for them is that people continue to visit Lee`s grave to express condolence. 200 Japanese have visited either his grave or his house.

Lee`s parents are making efforts to realize their son`s will that he wanted to `play the role of bridging Korea and Japan`. They donated scholarship amounting to 100 million won to Korea University and Naesung high school. They plan to donate 100 million won to `Lee Soo-Hyun Scholarship` which will be inaugurated in Japan in commemoration of the first anniversary of their son`s death.

As Mr. Lee`s righteous death will be included in the moral textbook of the second year middle school starting in the new year, it will tell the younger students the true meaning of `living righteously`.