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This post was edited by abramicus at 2014-1-20 08:49|
On January 19, 2014, the Harbin city government inaugurated a museum commemorating the heroic sacrifice of An Jung-geun, a Korean nationalist and Pan-Asianist who assassinated the first Japanese Resident-General of Korea, Ito Hirobumi, on October 26, 1909, in protest against the de facto annexation of Korea (then spelled "Corea") by the Japanese empire, which in 1905, in the First Japanese-Korean Treaty deprived Korea of its right to diplomatic relations with other countries, called the Eulsa Treaty, making Korea a "protectorate" of Japan, and in 1907 further deprived it of self-rule, stipulating that the highest posts in the Korean government must be held by Japanese nationals. Worried that the pace of annexation may cause a backlash against Japan by the Koreans and foreign powers, Ito Hirobumi in his last days argued for a slowdown of the annexation of Korea. This has been misinterpreted by foreign histrians to mean that he was against the annexation of Korea, and that An Jung-geun made a historic blunder, to take away the honor and valor of his defense of Korea. Actually, Ito was on track that Japan was overreaching in annexing Korea, and his demise caused Japan to overreach itself in Korea, leading to its eventual defeat by the Allies, rupturing the bond of brigandage that otherwise may have lasted well into the 21st Century. In this, An Jung-geun destabilized Japan's dream of empire and led it to its destruction much sooner than it otherwise would have done, and may have avoided altogether if Ito Hirobumi had lived to nurture the Anglo-Japanese Alliance to its final goal of total Japanese dominance over the entire Far East. Following the death of Ito Hirobumi, Japan forced Korea's emperor to abdicate in favor of the Japanese emperor, completing the annexation of Korea by Japan in 1910.
An Jung-geon is a hero to both the North and South Korean governments. Their people look up to him as a martyr. And, not all enemies of Japan are communists, by the way, in case our forum Neo-Nazi apologists for Japanese militarism wish to attack his name and honor using Black Shirt tactics of smearing what ever they cannot deny. An Jung-geon was a teacher and a principal, who found his efforts to educate the people too feeble and too slow to save his country. He was also a Catholic with a baptismal name of Thomas Ahn. But the atrocities inflicted by the "polite" "most civilized" Japanese troops in Korea was beyond what any Catholic should stomach and look away from. The frequent rape, murder and plunder of Korean women, men, and households, all in the name of "Pan Asian Unity" that Ito Hirobumi used as his propaganda platform, instilling fear in the Koreans that "invasion by the Westerners" would be horrific compared to being abused by the Japanese nationals in Korea. Of course, Mr. Thomas An, being educated and courageous at heart, rejected this Japanese propaganda, and finally took up arms by moving to northeast China to organize his forces. This was not an easy task because he was essentially fighting an empire armed by the British Navy which had the diplomatic suppor of Britain (in the First Anglo-Japanese Treaty of 1902) and of the US (in the memorandum of understanding between Secretary of War Taft and Prime Minister Katsura Taro in 1905, which was approved word for word by President Theodore Roosevelt, exchanging Japanese annexation of Korea for US occupation of the Philippines). He failed in his guerrilla activities, and in 1909, he cut off the tip of the ring finger of his left hand, vowing to fight the Japanese invaders to the death, and thus in October 26, 1909, at the Russian-guarded train stop at Harbin, assassinated Ito Hirobumi with three shots to the chest at close range. He was arrested by the Russian guards, turned over to the Japanese command at Dalien, and imprisoned at Lu Shun, where he was executed by hanging on March 26, 1910. The Bishop of Korea ordered that he not be administered the Last Sacraments, but Fr. Wilhelm disobeyed his bishop and gave him his Last Sacraments. To the day of his death, he insisted on being called by his baptismal name, Thomas.
Another Catholic martyr to the Japanese empire.
Another Korean hero whose body lies buried in China to this day because of difficulty locating his remains. Tips to the archaelogists: If there are any remnants of white silk linens nearby, his body might be there as he was buried in such linens brought from Korea. If the left hand has a missing last bone, it might be his. If there is any Catholic nsignia or cross, that might be his burial site.
It is fitting that South Korean President Park made a visit to China to look for his remains, and suggested to China to erect a memorial to his name, which the Chinese government promptly did.
When Kim and Park reflect upon the future of their united Korea, they should think, what would An Jung-geon do?
What would An have done this very moment?