Today, Korean flags wave high along the streets across Seoul. Why? Because they can. And it’s all in thanks to a day in 1919 that began the movement to free the Koreans from oppression.
Another name for Samil Day is The March 1st Movement and its literal translation is “Three-One Movement“. This is the day when Koreans stood together on March 1, 1919 against the Japanese police. 7,000 Koreans were killed, but this was the beginning of the stand against the Japanese control.
A group of Korean nationalist gathered in a private spot, so as to not cause a riot, and crafted this letter and sent it to the Japanese Governor General:
“We herewith proclaim the independence of Korea and the liberty of the Korean people. We tell it to the world in witness of the equality of all nations and we pass it on to our posterity as their inherent right.
We make this proclamation, having back of us 5,000 year of history, and 20,000,000 of a united loyal people. We take this step to insure to our children for all time to come, personal liberty in accord with the awakening consciousness of this new era. This is the clear leading of God, the moving principle of the present age, the whole human race’s just claim. It is something that cannot be stamped out, or stifled, or gagged, or suppressed by any means.”
The results of this movement brought serious repercussions for the Koreans, including death and torture. But ultimately, many of the big issues that Koreans had with the Japanese rule were removed. A civilian force replaced the military police and some freedom of press was given.
True, it wasn’t until after Japan withdrew their troops after World War II that Koreans regained total freedom from the Japanese rule, but it was a beginning.
Picture used from Seoulite.com