국사편찬위원회 편사부장이었던 고혜령저자는 유관순을 새롭게 바라봅니다. 그녀의 독립운동은 ‘이화학당’이라는 배경속에서 성장한 여성 독립열사입니다. 당시 학교라는 조직을 통해 번져갔던 3.1운동의 특징을 생각한다면 매우 자연스런해석입니다. 그녀의 시신을 거두었던 이도 이화학당의 월터선생이었습니다. 첨부로 1918년 뉴욕타임즈에 ‘Overlooked No More’섹션에 실렸던 유관순기사를 소개합니다.
Overlooked No More: Yu Gwan-sun, a Korean Independence Activist Who Defied Japanese Rule
When a call for peaceful protests came in spring 1919, a schoolgirl became the face of a nation’s collective yearning for freedom.
Since 1851, obituaries in The New York Times have been dominated by white men. With Overlooked, we’re adding the stories of remarkable people.
SEOUL, South Korea — When a call for peaceful protests in support of Korean independence came in spring 1919, a 16-year-old girl named Yu Gwan-sun became the face of a nation’s collective yearning for freedom.
Yu was a student at Ewha Haktang in Seoul, which was established by American missionaries as the first modern educational institution for women in Korea. On March 1, 1919, Yu and four classmates joined others taking to the streets with cries of “Mansei!” (“Long live Korean independence!”) in one of the earliest protests against Japanese colonial rule. Amid the demonstration, the Declaration of Independence — written by the publisher Choe Nam-seon and signed by 33 Korean cultural and religious leaders — was recited at Seoul’s Pagoda Park.
The next day, protest organizers came to Ewha Haktang and encouraged Yu and her peers to join a student demonstration to be staged in three days. On March 5, she and her classmates marched at Namdaemun, a gate in central Seoul. They were detained by the Japanese authorities, but missionaries from the school negotiated their release.
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The colonial government retaliated quickly, ordering all schools closed on March 10. A few days later, Yu returned to her hometown, Cheonan, about 53 miles south of Seoul in South Chungcheong Province, with a smuggled copy of the Declaration of Independence. She went from village to village spreading word of the Samil (literally “three-one,” or March 1) Movement and rallying local residents to organize their own protests.
The movement quickly took hold. Early on April 1, 3,000 people gathered at Aunae, a marketplace in Cheonan. Yu was there, distributing homemade taegeukgi, or Korean national flags, and giving speeches calling for independence. The Japanese military police arrived and fired on the crowd, killing 19 people. Yu’s parents were among the dead.
By the time the authorities quashed the protests a few weeks later, an estimated two million people out of a population of 20 million had participated in 1,542 pro-independence marches, according to Djun Kil Kim, author of “The History of Korea.” More than 7,000 people had been killed, and about 46,000, including Yu, had been jailed. After being convicted of sedition, she was sent to Seodaemun Prison in Seoul.
At Seodaemun, Yu demanded the release of other prisoners and continued to express her support for Korean independence. She shouted at her Japanese captors and, with other inmates, organized a large-scale protest on the first anniversary of the March 1 Movement.
“Even if my fingernails are torn out, my nose and ears are ripped apart, and my legs and arms are crushed, this physical pain does not compare to the pain of losing my nation,” she wrote in prison. “My only remorse is not being able to do more than dedicating my life to my country.”