Go to contents

Old Korean School Site Found in China

Posted February. 28, 2006 02:59,   


An old school building that reflected the sprit of Korea is likely to disappear due to a redevelopment project in Shanghai.

The original Inseong School building, the only Korean school building that dates back to Japanese rule, is reportedly on the verge of being removed for the upcoming World Expo in Shanghai in 2010.

Yeo Un-hyeong set up the school for Korean children in 1917 and ran it as its principal. During the Sino-Japanese War, Japan forced the Inseong School to use Japanese government-designated textbooks and teach Japanese. As a result, it was voluntarily closed down in November 1935.

This school had been run with donations from Korean residents in Shanghai and tuition fees. For this reason, the school moved to a variety of locations within the city before shutting its doors.

The “Society for Research on the Inseong School,” organized by teachers who want to trace the school’s history, found the old school building in Shanghai a block away from the Korean Provisional Government office when they visited the site.

The two-story, run down building currently has shopping centers on the first floor. Shanghai residents live on the second floor.

The Inseong School produced around 50 to 70 graduates every year. Many of them went on to become involved in the Korean resistance movement.

Ahn Chang-ho, Kim Du-bong, and Sun Woo-hyeok were in charge of principal subjects, while Kim Gyu-sik taught English.

Dong-A Ilbo donated 1,144 yuan to the school to help make up for its financial losses in January 1924.

Korean residents gathered and sang the national anthem in this school every August 29, National Humiliation Day, and March 1, Independence Movement Day.

After liberation from Japanese colonial rule, the school reopened in 1946. It started to use North Korean textbooks, but was closed down again in 1981 due to a sharp fall in the number of students.

After the Korea-China Amity pact in 1992, the influx of Koreans sharply increased. The Shanghai Korean School, which teaches elementary, secondary and high school students, opened in 1999 and follows in the Inseong School’s footsteps.

To commemorate a Korean resistance movement leader, Yoon Bong-gil, Korean students and volunteers take part in a composition test held in Lushan National Park every year April.

The Shanghai Korean School will move to a new building around June thanks to $4.9 million in government aid and $2.1 million in donations from Korean residents. The new school building, 2,000 pyeong in area, will be equipped with a gymnasium, dormitory, and library.

“When the new school is built, the Shanghai Korean School will follow in the Inseong School’s footsteps. But we had better take measures to keep the old school in existence because it has the sprit of Korea,” said researcher Kim Gyeong-hwa (28).

Hee-Jae Park min07@donga.com