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Gov't awards 100 persons of distinguished service to independence

Gov't awards 100 persons of distinguished service to independence

Posted August. 15, 2023 08:22,   

Updated August. 15, 2023 08:22


The Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs announced that they have chosen 100 persons of distinguished service to independence, including Frank Williams (1883-1962) who was dispatched to India during Japanese colonial rule and helped the Korean independence fighters plan a combined operation between Korea and Britain and Hahm Bok-yeon (1902-?) who led independent demonstrations as a courtesan. Thirty persons will be awarded the Order of Merit for the National Foundation (including eight recipients of the Patriotic Medal and 22 of the National Medal), five for the National Foundation Medal, and 65 for the Presidential Commendation. There are no living patriots among the recipients of which 13 are women.

Williams, a U.S. Methodist missionary, arrived in Korea in 1908 and founded the Yeongmyeong school in Gongju, South Chungcheong province. He served as principal for 32 years and promoted national consciousness. The school is known for educating many independent activists, including Yoo Kwan-soon.

Hahm and six other fellow courtesans were arrested and tortured by the Japanese army leading the independence movement near a large market in the center of Tongyeong in South Gyeongsang province. Participation of courtesans in the independence movement during Japanese colonial rule not only occurred in Tongyeong, but across the nation where courtesan training schools were located such as Pyongyang, Haeju of Hwanghae Province, and Suwon.

The awarding ceremony will take place at the Central Memorial Hall and local memorial halls and will be given to the descendants. “We will continue to do our best to find more independence activists in remembrance of our patriots who sacrificed their lives for their country in the sole hope of achieving independence,” said Minister Park Min-shik of Patriots and Veteran Affairs.

Kyu-Jin Shin newjin@donga.com