Go to contents

'Lee Sang-seol mentors An Jung-geun,' Japanese document says

'Lee Sang-seol mentors An Jung-geun,' Japanese document says

Posted April. 20, 2018 07:23,   

Updated April. 20, 2018 07:23


A historical document that can provide people a sense of “ideological solidarity” of patriot An Jung-geun, the Korean independence activist who sniped at Hirobumi Ito, and Lee Sang-seol, who led the Declaration of Seongmyeonghoe, the National Committee of Korea, as a special envoy to The Hague. A secret report by Gen. Motojiro Akashi (1864-1919) in the imperial Japanese army, the main culprit of suppressing Korean independence activists, was released into the world for the first time.

“We found the a ‘Report by Motojiro Akashi, the Chief of Staff of the Japanese Army in Korea’ that was lying dormant in the Khabarovsk Library at Russia’s Far East Record Center and the National Archives of Japan at Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs with producer Kim Gwang-man of modern history documentary ‘The Channel,’” said Lee Seok-hyeong, president of the Lee Sang-seol Memorial Society, on Thursday.

This Report, which investigated numerous independence activists at that time for some 50 days, focused on An Jung-geun and Lee Sang-seol. “An Eung-chil, another name for An Jung-geun, turned to Lee Sang-seol and went to Gando with An Chang-ho who came back to Korea from the United States,” the report said. “An Eung-chil and his colleagues raised funds to bring Lee Sang-seol (who was staying Europe) to Maritime Province. An Eung-chil made suggestions to Lee Sang-seol in Gando.”

According to the Report, An Jung-geun left his home country in August 1906 and exiled to Longjing to become a pupil of Lee Sang-seol. At the time, Lee established and operated Seojeon School in Gando. The fundraising movement to bring Lee Sang-seol, who was ordered by King Gojong in 1907, as a special envoy to The Hague, was led by Mr. An.

At the end of the report, An Jung-geun making reference of Lee Sang-seol is demonstrated in the Sakai Newspaper of the Joseon Residency-General. “He has great ambition and penetrates the current affairs of Asia through the eyes of the world,” said An Jung-geun. “Even if more than 10,000 men were gathered, they would not be as good as Lee Sang-seol. He is a man of great caliber who did not lose his dignity of a minister as a great figure.” Despite all his ordeal in prison, An sent his innocent and righteous compliment to his ideological teacher of the fight against Japan’s colonial rule.

Yeun-Kyung Cho yunique@donga.com