Patriot Ahn Jung-geun Memorial Hall (Hangul: 안중근의사기념관) in 91 Sowol Avenue/Sowollo, Namdaemunno 5-ga 471-2 beonji, Seoul Jung-gu was re-established on 26th October 2010, after its original foundation in 1970, in order to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Ahn Jung-geun’s patriotic death and honour his spirit. Thomas Ahn Jung-geun (1879-1910) was one of the famous Korean independence activists who fought for Korean independence during the Japanese occupation (29th August 1910 to 15th August 1945). The memorial hall showcases dozens of the patriot’s personal belongings, notes and related relics, including his essay and works of calligraphy from prison.
On 26th October 1909 during the Japanese occupation (29th August 1910 to 15th August 1945), at Harbin train station in China, Ahn Jung-geun assassinated Ito Hirobumi, the Japanese President of the Privy Council, as well as Korea’s national enemy who was a prime leader of the colonization of Korea (the Joseon Dynasty at that time). His patriotic deed and sacrificial act was praised by Koreans and many Chinese as well. He was executed by firing squad on 26th March 1910 in Lüshunkou, a district in China (known as both Port Arthur and Ryojun). His beautiful works of calligraphy are still widely admired for their aesthetic value and the honourable spirit they reflect, including his pledge in his own blood from prison. His 100 year old spirit is still respected and remembered in the heart of Koreans.
To commemorate the centenary of Ahn Jung-geun’s patriotic death and to honour his spirit, Patriot Ahn Jung-geun Memorial Hall was reopened on 26th October 2010. The memorial hall boasts unique architectural features with 12 pillars adorning the exterior, to symbolize the 12 patriotic martyrs of “Donguidanjihoe” (a group organized to fight for Korea’s independence). The two floors above ground and two underground building of the museum comprise 9 themed galleries, a special exhibition hall and experience hall, tracing his entire patriotic life story from birth to death.
From exhibition hall 1 to exhibition 2, visitors can learn about patriot Ahn’s life story from the cradle to the grave. On entering the first gallery, a seated copper statue in white silk gown with his hands closed together is on display. Behind the statue is the Korean national flag with Ahn’s famous blood hand print in Hanja, “Daehan Dongnip/Korean Independence”.
As a Korean independence activist, his life and deeds are well described in exhibition halls 3 to 5, including the story that he cut off the last joint of his ring finger as a pledge to kill national enemy Ito in March 1909 while he was a member of “Donguidanjihoe” (a group organized to fight for Korea’s independence).
His activities fighting against the Japanese, the assassination, his death trial, and imprisonment are presented very well in exhibition halls 6 to 9, including his famous essays, “history of Ahn Eungchil” and “On Peace in East Asia”. His final portrait, taken minutes before his execution, is a rare item in the collection that visitors cannot miss.