[KS] Official end of WWII in Asia
jimpthomas at hotmail.com
Mon Sep 6 12:25:23 EDT 2010
Dear Listserve members,
If I may, and so that we do not digress further, the point of Mr. Kwang-On Yoon's original posting, was that
A) "the narrator of the film footage of the Japanese surrender mentions that the Japanese Foreign Minister, Sigemitsu Mamoru (重光葵) was wounded by a Korean patriot and walks on an artificial leg,"
B) I"n 1932, upon learning that the Japanese were going to have a ceremony in a Shanghai park to commemorate their recent victory over China in a Shanghai skirmish and to celebrate their Emperor's birthday, Mr. Kim Ku (김 구), the then President of the Korean Provincial Government (the government in exile) and Yoon Bong-Gil (윤 봉길) concocted a plan to eliminate Japanese leadership in China,"
C) "with money sent by Koreans in the U.S., Mr. Kim Ku ordered two bombs made by the Nationalist Chinese Ordinance Depot in Shanghai,"
D) "On April 29th, 1932, during the ceremony in the Shanghai park, Yoon detonated one bomb on the troop review stage, killing General Sirokawa Yosinori (白川義則), who was the overall commander of Japanese forces in China. The bomb also wounded several other military commanders as well as Sigemitsu Mamoru, who was the then Japanese Ambassador to China at the time," and
E) "the City of Shanghai sets aside one day to remember him [Yoon].
All of these pieces are important, but the last is what interests me most. This is because, over the years, numerous Chinese colleagues have remarked positively on the bravery of Korean risistance fighters and their willingness to die for the cause (of independence, liberation, freedom, etc.), which make them and other Chinese envious of the Korean resistance movement and the nationalist cause. So even if Korea did not "win its independence" on its own, it did mount a resistance and does have a pantheon of heroes who did resist and have now been canonised in the ROK and the DPRK--in a way that perhaps early resistance (ie 1931-1945) Chinese figures have not been canonized. It seems that this sets Korea and China apart--at least among Koreans and Chinese. Likewise, the U.S. has its Revolutionary War heroes who "waged war for independence" (often in clandestined missions), while Canada does not. Martyred heroes are central to modern nationalism (just consider the Tillman Story).
But however we might judge the moral justifications of those who resisted (be they suicide bombers or non-violent peaceniks), it seems that we can acknowledge certain historical facts and make certain assessments about them, independently from our (i.e. current) judgements about the "violent" tactics used or the scruples of the principals involved.
General Chiang Kai-sheck, the then Nationalist Chinese Premier stated, "A young Korean patriot has accomplished something tens of thousand of Chinese soldiers could not do." Ever since, finally, he and his government extended their full support to the Korean Provincial Government.
Mr. Yoon was later executed in Japan at the age of 24,
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