Go to contents

[Opinion] New “Buy National Bonds Movement”

Posted February. 21, 2007 07:10,   


There is a “Public Park Celebrating the Buy National Bonds Movement” located at 2-ka, Dongin-dong, Jung-gu, Daegu. It was built during the 1998 Asian financial crisis and is 12,800 pyeong in size. The purpose of creating it was the government’s intention to renew the spirits of the Buy National Bonds Movement at the time and to recover from the national financial slump. The roads within the park are lined with 22.5 tons of Grand Bell dalgubeol, monuments inscribed with lines of famous poets, including Lee Yuk-sa, Park Mok-wol, Cho Ji-hoon, Lee Ho-woo, and Yun Dong-ju, and stones with golden sayings from Lee Eon-jeok, Seo Geo-jeong, Lee Hwang, Jung Mong-ju, and Lee Sang-wha.

Today is the centennial for the Buy National Bonds Movement. Japan forced our nation to introduce its public loans in order to invade the Korean economy. For this reason, the King Kojong Imperial Household had to issue public bonds amounting to two million won in Tokyo, and in the process, foreign debt increased to 13 million won in 1907. The financially weak Korean Imperial Household could not repay its debts. As things stood, there was a movement from the Korean public to pay back the loans and protect their nation’s sovereignty. The drive was a financial independence movement privately organized by Seo Sang-don and Kim Kwang-je, founder and president of publishing company Kwangmoonsa Press.

A branch office for gathering donations, which was in charge of fund-raising, was established. Daily newspapers, such as Hwangseong Shinmun and Daehan Maeil Shinbo, held fund-collection campaigns. “Our debt of 13 million won is a matter that will determine the fate of the nation. If 20 million Korean people quit smoking for only three months, and if one person saves 20 jeons per month,” said Daehan Maeil Shinbo. In just two months, 40 thousand citizens joined. Gisaengs across the country, including Seoul, Pyongyang and Jinju, took out their gold and silver rings.

In Daegu City, the New Buy National Bonds Movement aimed at reviving spirits of a century ago and growing the nation’s competitiveness is in full swing. Kwangmun Press’s founder and president Seo and Kim’s Bust Unveiling, issuing stamps, concerts, exhibitions, and a centennial opera named “Fire’s Soul” will continue for a week. Just a decade ago, our nation overcame the financial crisis through a “Movement for Soliciting Gold.” The new Buy National Bonds Movement, however, is proof that the government does not perform its duty appropriately. The spirit of the drive should be kept alive, but the government should come to its senses first.

Yook Jeong-soo, Editorial Writer, sooya@donga.com