Who is the one person that comes to mind when you think about a woman who sacrificed her life for Korea’s independence when our country was taken from Japan? Most Koreans will think of Ryu Gwan-sun first. But was Ryu Gwan-sun the only woman who sacrificed for our independence? We don’t actually know all about the Korean female independence activists, and yet there were so many women who sacrificed their bodies and minds for our independence. However, most of them are not known to us because there is no historical record for them.
The Korean female independence activists had to do two to three times as much work as male independence activists. Although they fought for independence, they were still mothers, wives, daughters-in-law. They had to deal with a lot, but their passion for independence didn̓t go away. For example, some records highlight a significant number of devoted people who were invisible, such as those who provided meals to activists, make uniforms and gunpowder, hid refugees. Also, women’s activities of providing meals and warm beds for the independence activists are not recorded in any official documents. Thus, in fact, it was very rare to find women who were treated as women of national merit by the government. What is clear is that the activities that women did in those days were essential for the independence movement. Recently, however, forgotten female independence activists whose roles are being reduced or even deleted are having a new light shed upon them like Nam Ja-hyeon, who was a female independence activist in the movie Assassination. Thus, we need to rethink the female independence activists who are still forgotten in many people̓s mind and think deeply about the need for research and education.
Independence is done in spirit (Nam Ja-hyeon)
Recently, the movie Assassination is shedding new light on female activists by introducing the independence activist, Nam Ja-hyeon. First of all, we are introduced to Nam Ja-hyeon. The reason she is called Ahn Jung-geun though is that, like someone who cut his finger for the alliance, she also cut her left finger to write a blood letter about our independence when she heard that an international community investigation team was being sent to Harbin. In addition, she established about 10 women’s education societies for women’s enlightenment and inspired the military and farming and fishing villages with the independence spirit during the Japanese colonial rule. In 1925, she infiltrated Korea in an attempt to assassinate Saiko Makoto, the leader of the Japanese Government General of Korea, after receiving information that he had participated in the national funeral of King Sunjong. However, they were unable to achieve their goal and returned to Manchuria. Throughout her difficult life, her desire never wavered and her activities for independence led to Korea’s independence and contributed to where we are today.
Carving independence in the sky (Kwon Ki-ok)
Kwon Ki-ok was Korea’s first female fighter pilot. In those days, women’s social activities were limited, and the times were not good either. However, she did not give up her dream and career path and achieved her dream of becoming the first female pilot in Korea. She also put a lot of effort into the independence movement. After graduating, she knew the difficulties of the independence movement in Korea. Then she decided to go to China and become a pilot, flying in the sky and fighting against Japan. When she was a student, she joined a secret association formed within the school on the recommendation of her teacher, and participated in The March 1st Independence Movement by making the national flag and lyrics of the national anthem, all while avoiding being discovered by the Japanese teacher in her dormitory. However, even after our independence from Japan, she continued her activism and gave her entire fortune to society in the form of scholarship projects for university students.