B. Choosing a Righteous Death
The news that the diplomatic rights of Korea were forfeited following the Protectorate Treaty evoked bitter anger and opposition from the entire Korean populace. Assassination attempts were made on traitors, including Yi Wan-yong and Park Je-sun, and appeals were made to the king to oppose the injustices of Japan. Min Yeong-hwan took his own life as a gesture of opposition and the‘ Righteous Armies’rose once again nationwide to fight the Japanese army.
The Righteous Armies that rose in the aftermath of the assassination of Empress Min and the Protectorate Treaty rose once again nationwide following the relinquishment of the throne by King Gojong and the disbandment of the military. Former soldiers of the dissolved army took part in the Righteous Armies and fought with what few and poor weapons they had. They formulated plans to advance into Seoul, but were defeated by the powerful Japanese army and were driven back. As it became difficult for them to fight in Korea, some moved to Manchuria and the Maritime Provinces, and prepared themselves for further struggle. There were some who struggled on their own. When an American, Durman W. Stevens, defended the aggressive acts of Japan, he was assassinated by Chun Myeong-hoon and Chang In-hwan at Oakland Station in San Francisco.
Ahn Jung-geunAhn Jung-geun was one of the greatest patriots of the times. Japanese premier Ito Hirobumi, who served as the principal player in the Japanese aggression against Korea, was on his way to Russia for negotiations. He got off at Harbin Station in Manchuria. Ahn Jung-geun, who had prior knowledge of this, was waiting for the Japanese statesman at the station with a gun. Ito Hirobumi was surrounded by many people and soldiers but Ahn instantly recognized Ito and shot him. This incident became known worldwide, astonishing the world. Ahn was immediately captured and executed in a prison in Laotung Peninsula.
Ahn Jung-geun had always been very patriotic and was a great proponent of filial piety, with affection for mankind and enthusiasm for education. He served as an exemplary model for many. His words“, I become ill when a day goes by without reading”, serves as an appropriate lesson for us. Today, Ahn Jung-geun has the respect of even the Japanese people.
Think of righteouness when you think of the gains before you, and give your life where you see your nation in danger.