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Handwriting by Kim Gu returns to Korea in 45 years

Posted August. 14, 2018 07:40,   

Updated August. 14, 2018 07:40


A handwriting of Kim Gu (1876-1949), independence activist who is also known by his pen name Baekbeom, has returned to his home country in 45 years. The writing that read "Kwangmyungjeongdae" was given to a descendant of Kim Gu’s fellow independence activist three months before he died.

The handwriting by Kim Gu was donated by a descendant of independence activist Kim Hyung-jin (1861-1898) and was transferred to the National Palace Museum of Korea on August 5, the Cultural Heritage Administration said Monday.

Kim Hyung-jin and Kim Gu were determined to repel the Japanese empire by force of arms and went to Shenyang, China together in 1895 to seek assistance. Kim Hyung-jin participated in civilian army in 1896. But he got arrested by the Japanese police on the charge of taking part in the Donghak movement and was tortured to death in 1898. The Korean government awarded him Patriotic Meal of Order of Merit for National Foundation in 1990, acknowledging his distinguished services to the country.

Kim Gu took care of Kim Hyung-jin’s family after liberation. He wrote "Kwangmyungjeongdae’ and gave it to Kim Yong-sik, a grandson of Kim Hyung-jin, marking the 39th anniversary of the death of An Jung-geun on March 26, 1949.

"Kwangmyungjeongdae" means one’s words and actions are honorable and just. In the 1960s, Kim Yong-sik gave the writing to his second cousin Kim Tae-sik and he brought it with him when he emigrated to the United States in 1973. In April this year, Kim Tae-sik told the Consulate General of Korea in Seattle that he would donate the writing and asked to give it to the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea Memorial Hall, which is slated to open in 2021.

Won-Mo Yu onemore@donga.com