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How the Declaration of Korean Independence spread overseas

How the Declaration of Korean Independence spread overseas

Posted February. 20, 2019 07:53,   

Updated February. 20, 2019 07:53

한국어

The Declaration of Korean Independence proclaimed to the world that Korea and its people are independent 100 years ago It was translated into different languages and distributed to the world, providing justification and strong will for independence.

Marking the centennial anniversary of the March 1st Independence Movement, Kim Do-hyeong, a researcher at the Institute of Korean Independence Movement Studies under the Independence Hall of Korea, will present his thesis on how the Declaration of Korean Independence spread overseas at an academic conference titled, “The Declaration of Korean Independence and Joseon Gwangmunhoi.”

According to the thesis, the final version of the Declaration of Korean Independence was printed and distributed in 1919 and was first published in a newspaper called “Iksebo” in Chinese on March 11, 1919. Under the title, “A reporter’s soul that does not die no matter how hard it is trampled on,” the full text of the declaration got into the newspaper, which was established in Tianjin and was highly influential at that time.

Five types of the English version of the Declaration of Korean Independence have been found so far. Hawaii-based newspaper “Pacific Commercial Advertiser” was first to publish the full text on its March 28 edition. It ran the full banner headline “Korean Independence Declaration Bared” on its front page and the full text of the declaration was published under the title “Manifesto.” After that, almost all American newspapers have reprinted from this translation version.

The Declaration of Korean Independence was also translated into Spanish from far away in Mexico. A month after the announcement of the declaration on April 15, 1919, Koreans living in Mexico held a celebration ceremony and published the Spanish version of the Declaration of Korean Independence. It said in the May 20 edition of “Shinhan Minbo” that Koreans in Mexico translated the declaration and sent it to churches across Mexico to spread their will for independence. The Spanish version of the declaration, which was translated by Rocardo Lee and used at the ceremony celebrating the March 1st Movement, has been kept at the association of Korean residents in Merida, Mexico.

“We’ve found a total of five translated versions of the Declaration of Korean Independence, including Chinese, English, Russian, Spanish, and French,” said researcher Kim. "We’re expecting to find more of it translated in other languages as well."


Jong-Yeob JO jjj@donga.com