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* Date : 2012-03-01

Yu Gwan-sun, Korea's Joan of Arc
 











For Koreans, Yu Gwan-sun is a national heroine and a sister-like figure.
Tracing back her life reveals an incredible story of humanity and inspiration.
And with the Independence Movement Day approaching, this is our reason for
looking over the life of Yu Gwan-sun afresh.
This year marks the 110th anniversary of Yu Gwan-sun's birth.
Let the 18-year-old girl show you Korea's painful struggle and desperate resolve
for independence.

How did the 18-year-old Yu Gwan-sun become a national heroine?

Yu Gwan-sun led three separate independence movements - the March 1st Movement,
the "manse" movement at Aunae Marketplace in her hometown, and her independence
movement in prison.
All of them were peaceful and no weapons were used by the protesters.
Even when she witnessed her parents death before her eyes during the demonstration,
she blocked the muzzle of a Japanese soldier with her hands and kept the protesters
from attacking him.

What helped her hold on to her beliefs until the very end?

Yu Gwan-sun left behind three personal items: a group photo from when she was in
Ewha Hakdang, her prison tag and her trial records.
Based on these three clues, we infer how such a young girl was able to defend her
beliefs and keep Korea's national pride intact by sacrificing her life.

The torture Yu Gwan-sun had to endure was a telling example of Japan's barbarity.

It only took a year and a half for Yu Gwan-sun to die in prison. Her prison tag merely
shows the time and date of her death, and provides no details about its cause. We can
only speculate about the cause, based on the signs of torture on her face shown on
the photograph of her prison tag. The testimonies of those who were with Yu
Gwan-sun in prison provide a glimpse of the deadly tortures she had to endure after
she led the independence movement in prison.


The March 1st Movement was a "signal fire" that ushered in changes in world
history.

The March 1st Movement was a small movement that took place in Korea when it was
nothing more than a small colony.
However, its value is greater when seen from the perspective of world history.
And this is why, although it took 26 years after the March 1st Movement for Korea to
become liberated, this movement is more meaningful than any other independence
movements.

 
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