* Date : 2015-03-25
The Chinese government opened a memorial hall at Harbin Railway Station for a Korean patriot Ahn Jung-geun on Jan. 19, 2014, fueling heated debated on a historic events that had taken place more than a century ago.
On the fated day, Oct. 26, 1903, patriot Ahn Jung-geun shot and killed the heady of the Japanese Privy Council Ito Hirobumi on a platform at the Harbin Railway Station. Ahn gave himself up on sight without any resistance. Japan labeled him a terrorist, but, in fact, he was the Lieutenant General of the Korea's Righteous Army and a true pan-Asianist, working for peace in East Asia. His grand idea remains guidance for the future in the region.
Arirang Special takes us back to 100 years, a critical moment in history for Korea, China and Japan, and reviews the action of Ahn Jung-geun. So was he a terrorist as Japan claim, or an independence activist fighting for his country and a visionary of peace in East Asia?
Ito Hirobumi boasted himself as being a protector of peace. However, Ahn Jung-geun revealed different side to Ito, listing 15 reasons how Ito was disrupting peace in East Asia. In fact, Japan was in the process of colonizing Korea through wars with China (the Sino-Japanese War) and Russia (the Russo-Japanese War). Ahn had logically formed his cases.
Ahn Jung-geun was born in Hwanghae-do, north of the Korean Peninsula, in 1879. He realized early on in his life the importance of equality and worked to educate his people of its importance. He decided to be part of the Korea's Righteous Army to fight against Japanese imperialism and ranked lieutenant general. There he severed his finger to pledge loyalty and decided to take action against Ito Hirobumi.
Ahn Jung-geun tried to tell the people at the trial of deceptive Japanese acts. The trial was almost scripted by Japan and Ahn was sentenced to death, but he wasn't disturbed and carried on with his duty. As he was waiting for the sentence to be carried out, Ahn wrote "On Peace in East Asia" to describe this thoughts on how peace should be achieved in the region, such as Korea, China and Japan forming a community of politics, economy and culture. His idea, which is the likes of the EU, is evidently different from the ideas Ito Hirobumi wanted to realize, which is making Japan the leader in East Asia. Ahn was ahead of his time.
Ahn Jung-geun faced his death proudly and moved many, including Japanese prison guards who were with him until the end. Ahn's mother supported his action and said it was his duty as a Korean to dedicate his life for the country.
On Mar. 26, 1910, Ahn was executed at the age of 31, but his death didn't end in vain. Until the end, he only prayed for his country's independence and peace in East Asia and even now, Ahn's spirit still lives on.