This blog may contain not-so-strong languages and slightly strong ecchi pictures. Please proceed with caution.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Yoon Bong-gil: Korean Demoman with a sensible bit of Korean Nationalism

Maeheon Yoon Bong-gil (Hangul/Hanja: 매헌 윤봉길/梅軒 尹奉吉; Born: June 21st 1908 in Yesan, Southern Chungcheong Province, Korea – Executed: December 19th 1932 in Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan) was a Korean independence activist best known for orchestrating the deadly bombing of a gathering of Japanese dignitaries in the Shanghai International Settlement in 1932. He was coming from the noble Papyeong Yoon Clan, originated from Papyeong-myeon, Paju City, Gyeonggi Province. In fact, most of Queen Consorts of Joseon Dynasty were coming from that clan. 

On 29 April 1932, he carried out a bombing attack using a bomb disguised as a water bottle (it is widely misconceived as a narrow lunch box; Yun carried two bombs to Shanghai, one being the water bottle and the other being the lunch box. The water bottle was used for the killing while the lunch box was intended to be used to kill himself after the assassination, but failed to detonate) at a Japanese army celebration of Emperor Hirohito's birthday in Hongkou Park, Shanghai. 

The bombing killed Yoshinori Shirakawa, a general of the Imperial Japanese Army, and Kawabata Sadaji, a Government Chancellor of Japanese residents in Shanghai. It also seriously injured Kenkichi Ueda, Division 9 commander of the Japanese Imperial Army, Kuramatsu Murai, Japanese Consul-General in Shanghai, and Shigemitsu Mamoru, Japanese Envoy in Shanghai.

Yun was arrested at the scene and convicted by the Japanese military court in Shanghai on 25 May. He was transferred to Osaka prison on 18 November, and executed in Kanazawa on 18 December. He was buried in Nodayama graveyard.

Chiang Kai-shek quoted "A young Korean patriot has accomplished something tens of thousands of Chinese soldiers could not do. Syngman Rhee, however, disapproved of the incident and Kim Gu's strategy of assassinations as a means to achieve Korean independence, arguing that it justified Japanese suppression.

In May, 1946, his remains were excavated by Korean residents in Japan, transferred to Seoul and given funeral rites. He was then re-interred in the Korean Martyrs Mausoleum in Hyochang Park, Seoul Yongsan-gu. On March 1st 1962, the South Korean government praised his bombing attack in Shanghai, and posthumously bestowed on him the Republic of Korea Cordon (the highest honor) of the Order of Merit for National Foundation (건국훈장 대한민국장).

The Memorial Hall for the Patriot Maeheon Yun Bong-gil at 99 Maeheon Avenue/Maeheonno, Yangjae-dong 236-beonji, Seoul Seocho-gu which located inside the Yangjae Citizen's Forest was built in 1988, funded by the contributions of Seoulites. Inside, visitors can learn about his life and the history of the Korean independence movement.