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Study: Public officers joined movements for independence from Japan

Study: Public officers joined movements for independence from Japan

Posted February. 20, 2019 07:53,   

Updated February. 20, 2019 07:53


Public officers worked under the Japanese colonial administration joined Korea's March 1st Movement for independence from Japan en masse, according to a study by Park Gyeong-mok, head of Seodaemun Prison History Hall, who analyzed 1,012 related prisoners at the Seodaemun Prison.

Serving as an officer of a regional community center in Daehoji, Dangjin City, South Chungcheong Province, Song Jae-man was sentenced to prison on charges of leading the April 4th Movement, which spread across the province. Shin Sang-myeon from Andong City, North Gyeongsang Province was also arrested for mobilizing local protesters.

Park said that the share of protesters in their 20s was comparatively low as people of almost every age group evenly participated in the movement, stressing that his analysis has proven that the movement transcended occupation and age.

The Japanese rulers applied the "Security Law," which was designed to punish political offenders, who joined the March 1st Movement. In turn, 90 percent of prisoners was sentenced to more than six months in prison. Some were gravely sentenced to more than 10 years while others were accused for causing rebellion.

They were faced with excessive punishment compared to today’s laws regarding assemblies and protests, Park says. He hoped to share the true aspects of the March 1st Movement, recorded as the greatest independence movement by ordinary people.

The study results are to be announced on next Monday at the Seodaemun Prison History Hall on the occasion of academic symposium titled "Status and Characteristics of March 1st Movement Prisoners at the Seodaemun Prison." The relevant research material will be distributed to libraries across the country next Tuesday.

Won-Mo Yu onemore@donga.com