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The 1919 Independence Movement

It was on March 1, 1919 that this movement started to develop in the town of anseong. At the time, merchants closed their shops to sympathize with the Movement.
The atmosphere was peaceful as they dispersed when Japanese police were mobilized. However, their discontent with Japanese colonial rule was gradually heightened by sporadic demonstration after then, and also by students coming back home from Seoul. Thus, there were successive demonstrations in anseong-up from March 29 to April 2, and in the markets of Iljuk and Juksan on April 2. Thousands of people even rushed to the County Office and staged a sit-in.


People in and around anseong climbed nearby mountains to create a chain of torchlight, striking terror in the heart of the Japanese. It was the April 1 independence demonstration in Won-gok and Yangseong that developed the movements from such sporadic demonstrations into a struggle of force.
There were also demonstrations in Won-gok and Yangseong after March 10, but only on a sporadic basis. On March 28, however, the people of Won-gok-myeon gathered at Shi-ryon Lee's house through advance communications, and planned a large and extensive independence demonstration. They then rallied villagers with torch demonstrations, and a thousand odd people gathered at the Myeon Office on April 1. They gave a Taegeukgi (Korean national flag) to Kil-u Nam, the Chief of the Myeon, and Chong-du Chong, Secretary, and had them give three cheers. They then had the two men take the lead in their demonstration and marched toward Yangseong.
As the demonstrators reached as far as Seong-un-go-gae, a border, they took wood blocks and farming tools with them and went toward Yangseong-myeon. Meanwhile they joined forces with 1,000 people of Yangseong-myeon who were demonstrating that day, and so the number of demonstrators increased to 2,000 or more.
When the demonstrators rushed the police substation, a Japanese policeman and an assistant policeman were overwhelmed by the crowd's anger and so hurriedly escaped. The mob destroyed and set fire to the police substation, the Myeon Office, post office, etc. in turn, and also destroyed the houses of Japanese grocers and usurers. Then they removed bridges connected to the village and escaped into the mountains to prepare for the suppression of the cat's paws of Japanese authorities.
The Japanese started to arrest the prime movers with the support of an officer and thirty or so privates who belonged to the 79th Regiment from the 40th Brigade of the Stationary Troop in Joseon -- the situation was too difficult to be handled by the local police alone. They could not obtain any results to speak of though they created an atmosphere of terror by threatening families. Eventually, they called people together to a mountain behind the present Won-gok Primary School on April 19 for a conciliatory gesture saying that they would look past all unresolved matters and forgive the villagers. Families who had been overpowered with terror persuaded the instigators of the movement to step forward. The Japanese imperialists then surrounded them with rifles and swords on all sides, and shot to death those who tried to run away (3 people martyred on scene). In addition, on June 1, they called in thirty-six soldiers, ranked corporal or under, and started to sweep the village. They ransacked and torched private residences terrorizing families as they went. Most movement leaders, however, escaped in spite of the Japanese's thorough search.
Thus the March 1 Movement in Won-gok and Yangseong was an armed struggle against the oppression of imperialistic Japan. Of course, the struggle could not achieve its desired results because of the barbaric suppression by the Japanese.
Manse-go-gae Pass