* Date : 2015-03-04
"May I look up into the heavens without a speck of shame." It's a line from one of the most well-known Korean poems "Prologue" by Yun Dong-ju. However, Yun Dong-ju
was not a poet in his lifetime. He lived in a time when using Korean was prohibited, and thus was unable to publish his poems. 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of his death in a Fukuoka prison. It was only months before his dream of Korean liberation came true. Arirang Prime walks through Yun Dong-ju's life and presents his works and the impact he has had on others.
With three memorial stones of Yun Dong-ju standing tall, he is a beloved poet in Japan as well. Yasuko Yanagihara eagerly searches for traces of Yun Dong-ju in her homeland. Professor Ujigo poured in efforts to reveal Yun Dong-ju's records during his imprisonment due to violation of Maintenance of Public Order. His death saddens them because his poems do not show signs of resistance. Such views on Yun Dong-ju are derived from earlier translations of his poems. His messages of loving all that is "dying" was translated into loving all that is "alive." Did Yun Dong-ju really die from Japan's severe regulations? His poems need a closer look.
Yun Dong-ju was born and raised in northern Gando. In a search for his roots, he came to Yonhi College and took Korean language lectures which awakened his national consciousness. However, even his excitement had to face the harsh reality. With the war and Japan's oppression showing no signs of abating, Yun Dong-ju questioned the Heavens who just watched the atrocities in silence. His prayers were sincere, but unanswered. Yun Dong-ju's never-ending questions were a dangerous resistance against Japan, and eventually, he was arrested by the Special Higher Police. And during his imprisonment, he died from mysteries injections. He was only 28 years old.
Why did Yun Dong-ju change his name to Japanese and go to Japan? Overcoming intense homesickness with determination to gain knowledge for his people, he headed to Kyoto where his role model Jeong Ji-young and best friend Song Mong-gyu were. And because of his decision to go to Kyoto, Yun Dong-ju met his death. He left only 5 poems behind in Japan. He died during the most beautiful years of his life and left a perpetual longing in people's hearts. We call out the name of the poet who used to count the stars in the sky.