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Musical on Korean patriot`s life performed in Chinese city of Harbin

Musical on Korean patriot`s life performed in Chinese city of Harbin

Posted February. 10, 2015 07:11,   


Some places near the border between North Korea and China have Jurchen names. Aoji, an area where mines are located in North Hamkyong Province, means a “burning stone” in the Jurchen language. Harbin, a city beside the Songhua River in China, is a Jurchen word meaning a “place where nets are dried.” The names imply that the areas belonged to the Jurchen folks. Harbin was long governed by Russia that had built a station in the city for the construction of the Chinese Eastern Railway at the end of the 19th century. Korean patriot Ahn Jung-geun of Korea shot Hirobumi Ito, Japan`s first resident-general in Korea who came to Harbin for a dialogue with Russia at Harbin station on Oct. 26, 1909. Ahn was arrested on the site, and shouted in Russian, “Corea Ura! (Hurrah Korea!).”

“The Hero,” a musical on Ahn Jung-geun’s life, was recently performed in Harbin. It was the first performance in the place of his heroic action. Ahn was confident and calm. He wrote a poem titled a “heroic man’s song” before he shot the Japanese. “Time creates a hero, and a hero will decide the time. I go with anger, and I will achieve my goal.” After he was arrested by Japanese police, he announced a list of 15 crimes committed by Ito. Sun Yat-sen and Yuan Shikai, the then Chinese leaders, highly praised Ahn.

Producer Yoon Ho-jin of this musical had the musical’s entry into China in mind in 2009. When Korea proposed a performance in Harbin six years ago, the Chinese city rejected the offer because of the relationship with Japan. Things have changed dramatically, however, as the relationship between China and Japan was strained. Both the rejection and acceptance of the offer were related to political circumstances.

Art pieces with a national taste are not easy to enter other countries because each nation has a different historical background. Korean musicals have only two choices for globalization. They should either choose a universal theme or a theme that can be accepted regardless ethnicity. It is like the sympathy can be earned from around the world when the comfort women issue is related to women’s human rights issue. The musical “The Hero” should be further refined and applauded in Europe or the U.S. to successfully hit in the global stages.