Creative Education
2013. Vol.4, No.1, 18-28
Published Online January 2013 in SciRes (
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
Kim Hyong Jik’s Idea of “Jiwon” (Aim High) and the Korean
National Association
Knox Kwon1,2
1Director of History Research Institute, Seoul, South Korea
2Henry Meeter Center, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, USA
Email: knoxkwon
Received October 31st, 2012; revised November 30th, 2012; accepted December 14th, 2012
The purpose of this paper is to examine the life and activities of Kim Hyong Jik—father of Kim Il Sung
—and the guiding principle of “Jiwon” created by him to help lead the anti-Japanese liberation movement.
Jiwon’ of Kim Hyong Jik who waged undaunted struggle for national liberation in spite of the hideous
repression under the occupation of Japanese imperialists. Even today in the 21st century I put emphasis on
Kim Hyong Jik’s “Jiwon” because this idea enables us to recover the identity of the Korean History. “Ji-
won” helps us recover the identity of the Korean nation because at its core lies love for the country, nation
and people, which has been the traditional spirit inherent to the Korean nation. Today the North and the
South of Korea maintain different stands for their respective political systems and ideals. Nevertheless,
Korea has one and the same identity. That is the nationalist spirit inherent to the Korean nation. I hold we
should keep in mind that “Jiwon” reflected this anti-Japanese nationalist spirit which identifies the Korean
history. I deem it essential to recover this nationalist spirit in the history of division, in which the North
and South have remained divided with different systems and ideals. Through the activities of the Korean
National Association, Kim Hyong Jik’s “Jiwon” was not simply a theory for its own sake, but a practical
crystallization in history. In view of his anti-Japanese revolutionary movement and his activities as a pa-
triotic educationist, I deem it necessary to evaluate Kim Hyong Jik as a historical figure who put forward
a historical idea and put it into reality.
Keywords: Kim Hyong Jik; Jiwon; Korean National Association; Korea; Choson; Nationalism; Kim Il
Sung; Independence Movement; Liberation
Kim Hyong Jik’s idea of “Jiwon” has barely been studied in
depth both at home and abroad. His idea is of great importance
in understanding the modern history of Korea. Nevertheless,
there ha ve been few p apers or pamphlets on it, perhaps for lack
of interest in it. Worse still, some of the history books pub-
lished in the south of Korea, if any, clearly lack objectivity in
quotation of historical records and analysis of facts. I deem it
necessary to rely on the objective historical materials and hold
that the correct historical appraisal of Kim Hyong Jik will help
better the understanding of Korea’s history and identity.
The purpose of this paper, therefore, is to examine the life
and activities of Kim Hyong Jik, key features of “Jiwon”, and
his relationship with the Korean National Association (KNA).
To add objectivity in the quotation of historical records, this
paper relies on domestic publications, as well as foreign ones
(Japanese), as primary source material.
I sincerely hope this paper on “Jiwon”, as advocated by Kim
Hyong Jik, would help correct the understanding of the Juche
character of the Korean nation and the love for the country,
nation and people, which underlies it. By understanding “Ji-
won” as the basis of educational policy and philosophical study
in Korea, I expect it will help direct the course of innovation of
Korea’s educational system into the 21st century.
I emphasize that this paper is of a historical nature rather
than a political one, and accordingly, is not intended to support
or denounce the political position of any one side of Korea.
Unavoidably, I use the expressions “Choson” (Choson, stand-
ing for the north of Korea) and “Korea” (standing for the south
of Korea) as they are in the historical records.
The Life and Activities of Kim Hyong Jik
Out of the whole life and activities of Kim Hyong Jik, this
chapter is confined to the early period of life and activities,
from his early days until 1917, which gives the background
against the formation of KNA (WPK, 1994, 1997; WPK (The
Unwavering), 1984).
Kim Hyong Jik, the leader of the anti-Japanese national lib-
eration movement in Korea, was born on July 10, 1894 in a
low-roofed straw-thatched house in Mangyongdae-dong, Man-
gyongdae District, Pyongyang (present address), as the first son
of Kim Po Hyon (Aug. 19, 1871-Sept. 2, 1955) and Ri Po Ik
(May 31, 1876-Oct. 18, 1959). His family was very poor, yet
hard-working, one typical of the common people in Korea. His
family name Kim originated from Jonju, but to seek out a
means of living his great grandfather Kim Kye Sang moved to
Pyongyang, where he worked as a farmer in Jungsong-Ri. Then,
his grandfather Kim Ung U (June 17, 1848-Oct. 14, 1878),
having found it too difficult to live on, rented a grave-keeper’s
house in Mangyongdae under the contract that he would take
care of the landlord Ri PHyong Thaek’s ancestral tombs. Thus
his family started a tenant life there (WPK, 1984: pp. 7-9).
President Kim Il Sung wrote in his reminiscences: “My
great-grandfather, though a grave-keeper for another family,
ardently loved his country and home town.” (WPK, 2011: p. 8).
With ardent love for the country and nation cherished deep in
his heart, he always sought to spruce up the country by planting
trees in the mountains and fruit trees in the village, and he took
the lead in doing so on Mangyong Hill and at the bottom of
Nam Hill (WPK, 1984: 10-11).
According to the “Complete Collection of Kim Il Sung’s
Works”, President Kim Il Sung recollected about his grandfa-
ther Kim Po Hyon: “My grandfather, who used to say ‘A man
should die fighting the enemy on the battlefield’, always told
his family to live honourably for their country and he offered
his children unhesitatingly to the revolutionary struggle.”
(WPK, 2011: pp. 10-11). A literature published in Japan writes:
In spite of poor living conditions, Kim Po Hyon devoted his
whole life to helping his son Hyong Jik and his grandson Song
Ju in their independence movement and revolutionary activities.
Though he was poor, running in his hear, was undoubtedly the
blood of patriotism and devotion to the country passed down
from his father Kim Ung U (Kobongeonbu, 1965: pp. 219-220).
Kim Hyong Jik’s mother Ri Po Ik was also a humble, yet
strong and noble patriot. She always taught her family to live
uprightly and stoutly. Full of pride in the revolutionary activi-
ties of her son Kim Hyong Jik, she gave strong encouragement
to him to fight staunchly and with firm determination to restore
the country. (WPK, 1984: p. 12) With his innate personality
and under the influence of good family education, Kim Hyong
Jik grew up to be a genuine nationalist, true patriot and out-
standing leader of anti-Japanese national liberation struggle in
Korea (WPK, 1984: p. 20).
Kim Hyong Jik’s innate greatness is clearly shown by the
moving story regarding his marriage to Kang Pan Sok. Kang
Ton Uk (the then headmaster of Changdok School), a patriotic
educator, had a daughter who had reached a marriageable age.
He singled out Kim Hyong Jik, who enjoyed high reputation
already in his young age, as his desirable would-be son-in-law.
One day he called at Kim Po Hyon’s house in Mangyongdae to
have a preview of his would-be son-in-law. At the first look, he
was very satisfied with him for his handsomeness and unrivaled
personality, as well as for his family tradition admired by all.
But although Kim Hyong Jik’s family greeted him as an hon-
oured guest, they could not afford to serve him a proper meal.
Due to the poor living conditions of the family, Kang Ton Uk
was unable to make an immediate decision then and there. He
eventual visited the family several more times, and it was only
after the 6th visit that Mr. Kang sent a letter of marriage intent
to Kim Hyong Jik’s family (WPK, 1984: p. 19).
Kim Hyong Jik nurtured patriotic, revolutionary and noble
traits from the tradition of Mangyongdae family. From his
childhood, he had an unquenchable thirst for study and inquiry.
Therefore, his family, however poor they might be, tried their
best to give him an education. As a result, he could study at
Sunhwa Sodang (a conventional village school) in Mangyong-
dae, Sunhwa School, and then Pyongyang Sungsil Middle
School (WPK, 1984: p. 15).
He studied at Sunhwa Sodang in Mangyongdae from 1903,
and then at Sunhwa School from 1907. Sunhwa School was an
official private school set up through reformation of Sunhwa
Sodang when the private school establishment campaign was
under way as a part of the then patriotic cultural movement.
Sunhwa School opened in 1907, and then in 1909 it was moved
to the present location: the school bought a 3-room house in
Sulmae Village and expanded by adding one more room to it
(WPK, 1984: p. 23-24).
When he left Sunhwa School in the spring of 1911, he was
lost in deep thought over the miserable fate of downtrodden
Korea in the early 20th century and the dreary sight of Man-
gyongdae; in the year of Ulsa the Korean nation lamented over
their overnight downfall to becoming slaves of Japan, and in
the year of Kyongsul (1910) the whole country writhed with
wrath and indignation on the Day of National Humiliation
marking the date when the country was subjugated into a Ja-
pan’s colony; the merry songs of birds over the spring fields
gave way to only sad songs of people and threshing sites were
overwhelmed by the wailing of people under the unbearable
pressure of debt owed to landlords (WPK, 1984: p. 36).
Having experienced such trials of the ruined nation, Kim
Hyong Jik made a firm determination to fight for the inde-
pendence of Korea. His ultimate intention was to arouse all
Korean people in the fight to liberate the country through
self-reliance. To realize this aim, he decided he needed more
education. With a firm will to study harder in order to build up
strength for the country’s independence, he attended Pyongy-
ang Sungsil Middle School in April 1911. President Kim Il
Sung said: “In spite of his family’s poverty, my father went to
Sungsil Middle School with a firm resolve to put his idea of
“Jiwon” (“Aim High”) into reality (WPK, 2011: p. 18; WPK,
1984: pp. 36-37)”.
In his Secondary School days Kim Hyong Jik started his
revolutionary activities with his leadership of the youth student
movement while searching for the true way of struggle. While
he was enrolled in Sungsil Middle School, he first launched the
anti-Japanese, anti-US propaganda by mobilizing the Students’
Society which had already been active in the campus. The Stu-
dents’ Society was a legitimate autonomous organization of
students which was formed by the school management and
involved all students of the school. (WPK, 1984: pp. 50, 69) In
1946 a newspaper in Korea (issued by the Russian residents in
Korea) carried an article on the revolutionary activities of Kim
Hyong Jik during his Pyongyang Sungsil Middle School days,
which includes the following paragraph: Kim Hyong Jik stud-
ied at Sungsil Middle School in Pyongyang, which was then
highly reputed for the strong anti-Japanese spirit of its students.
While studying at this school he cherished a will for national
liberation, which he never gave up for the rest of his life. After
finishing the school, he took an active part in the national lib-
eration movement against the Japanese aggressors. In that
course he was arrested and imprisoned for 3 years. When he
was released, he went over to Manchuria in secret to be in-
volved more actively in the anti-Japanese movement (Choson
Daily, 1946). A Chinese newspaper Nanyang reported on Kim
Hyong Jik’s independence activities as follows: Having set a
high aim to regain the independence of Korea already in his
Secondary School days, he rallied the anti-Japanese revolution-
aries and conducted his activities in close contact with the in-
dependence fighters at home and abroad (China Namyang
Newspaper, 1971).
Kim Hyong Jik gradually expanded the theatre of his activi-
ties from within the campus to out of it, from Pyongyang to
North and South PHyongan and Hwanghae provinces. In the
summer of 1912 he left home for North PHyongan Province
with a view to giving proper guidance to the youth and students.
He visited Osan School in Jongju, Sinsong School and Posin
School in Sonchon, where he had talks with the progressive
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 19
teachers and students and gave anti-Japanese lectures to them.
He condemned the frantic atrocities of Japanese imperialists
who had kicked off massive roundups under the fabricated
pretext of attempted assassination of Governor-General Te-
rautsi, and called upon the students afire with patriotism to take
the lead in the sacred fight for independence. The first leg of his
visit in Uiju was Yangsil School, a private school which was
set up in 1906 by the patriotic people and anti-Japanese inde-
pendent fighters there. It was recognized to be a leading school
in North PHyongan Province in terms of the size, anti-Japanese
content in education and number of graduates. In addition, most
of its teaching staff, including the headmaster, were independ-
ence fighters. In the spring and summer of 1912, he went to
Suan and Koksan in Hwanghae Province, where taught to the
youth and students what duty they were entrusted with for the
country and appealed to them to rise up as one in the fight to
restore national sovereignty as long as the blood of the nation
ran in their youthful hearts (WPK, 1984: pp. 72, 90, 75-76). For
Kim Hyong Jik, the Sungsil Middle School days were valuable
ones that paved the way for struggle and rallied to him like-
minded comrades willing to risk life and death (WPK, 1984: pp.
75-77). For him, a “comrade” meant a person who devoted a
strong will to the well-being of the country and people and to
the restoration of the country. He used to say that “as a comrade
who will share life and death is are rare, he or she should be
sought out and fostered with as great an effort as mining gold or
treasures. One is sure to find many good comrades if he or she
is sincerely devoted to the country and people”. Kim Hyong Jik
said: One is sure to find many good comrades if he or she is
sincerely devoted to the country and people. What matters is
the will and intention. Anyone can be a comrade if he or she
shares the same will, no matter how poor he or she may be in
life. Kim Hyong Jik cherished such a noble will and warm heart
that he could easily find comrades to join him in his cause.
President Kim Il Sung said: “The greatest achievement made by
my father at Sungsil Middle School was to find many comrades
with whom he could share life and death” (WPK, 2011: p. 19;
WPK, 1984: p. 119).
Kim Hyong Jik left Pyongyang Sungil Secondary School
halfway in the spring of 1913 in order to expand the theatre of
his revolutionary activities and further the campaign for inde-
pendence with real earnest. Then, he began teaching at Sunhwa
School in Mangyongdae in early April 1913. He became a
teacher because he considered education of the younger genera-
tion to be the most important way to realize the idea of “Jiwon”.
Being an outstanding educator, he firmly believed that the
struggle for the restoration of the country, as well as its rise and
fall, depended on how the younger generations were educated.
While teaching at Sunhwa School, he tried his best to turn the
school into a centre of education for patriotism for national
independence from the Japanese imperialists (Jang, 1996: pp.
With profound attention to the overseas independence
movement, Kim Hyong Jik went through Jiandao to Shanghai
in early January 1916 in order to acquaint himself with the
reality of the independence movement abroad, recruit new
comrades and set the direction for follow-up activities. A
magazine “World Movement” issued in Japan in 1950 referred
to it as follows: it is said that President Kim Il Sung’s father
Kim Hyong Jik went to Shanghai in secret in 1916, where he
made contact with Sun Yat-sen’s nationalist revolutionary
group. On returning back home, he was involved in under-
ground activities in Pyongyang, and then went over to Manchu-
ria to dodge the police pursuit (Shakers and Movers of the
World, 1950: p. 20; WPK, 1984: p. 119).
In mid-March 1916 Kim Hyong Jik moved the center of his
revolutionary activities to Naedong, Tongsam-ri, Koup-myon,
Kangdong County, South PHyongan Province (now Ponghwa-
ri, Kangdong County, Pyongyang). On March 23, 1916 there
was an eventful opening ceremony of Myongsin School. At the
opening ceremony Kim Hyong Jik made an important speech,
part of which reads as follows: Since time immemorial, our
country has been called a 3000-ri land of golden tapestry be-
cause she has beautiful mountains and rivers, and is abundant
with natural resources. The white-clad Korean nation is a re-
sourceful one that boasts of its 5000-year-long history and bril-
liant culture. But now we are deprived of the country’s sover-
eignty by the Japs. We must pool our efforts to regain the coun-
try. To this end, we must send our children to school for their
education. It is through education that they know their national
language, become worldly-wise, and nurture love for their
country. His principle of education incorporated in “Jiwon” is
vividly reflected by the “Song of Myongsin School”, written by
him. This song was widely sung not only by the students of the
school but also by all the villagers, and played an important part
in educating them in the spirit of anti-Japanese patriotism and
arousing them in the anti-Japanese struggle for restoration of
the country (Jang, 1996: pp. 111-112, 114).
Song of Myongsin School (Jang, 1996: p. 114).
So majestically soaring is Mt. Ponghwa
So merrily meandering is River Yolpha
Our Myongsin School stands solid
Let us bring lasting reputation to our school
So popular statesmen come out of here
So unrivalled talents come out of here
Along with Ponghwa and Yolpha here
Let us bring lasting prosperity to Myongsin School
So beautiful is our land of golden tapestry
So resourceful and brave are our students
By enriching knowledge with high aim
Let us bring lasting brilliance to dawning new Korea
In order to achieve the far-reaching aim of “Jiwon”, Kim
Hyong Jik, while teaching at Myongsin School, visited many
other schools in different parts of the country, energetically
guiding the education of the younger generation and other peo-
ple and rallying them into one. Under his influence the students
of Kwangson School in Unryul armed themselves with anti-
Japanese patriotism and the spirit of national independence. It is
evidenced by the confidential document sent by the police su-
perintendent of Hwanghae Province to the Government-General
in Korea in February 1918. Pak In Gwan, who has already been
reported to be a member of KNA, graduated from Sungsil Mid-
dle School in Pyongyang, and has become a teacher of Kwang-
son School in his residence (Namchon-ri, Unryul-myon, Unryul
County, Hwanghae Province). On February 7 Jangryon Police
Station which had the jurisdiction over the area arrested him
and searched his house, as a result of which they found 10-odd
compositions titled, “Our Relationship to Our Peninsula”, writ-
ten by his 3rd- and 4th-year students. The common theme
throughout was the need for the restoration of national sover-
eignty (Jang, 1996: pp. 142-143).
Title: Our Relationship to Our Peninsula, Evaluation: 100
points, Written by Ri** (Kang, 1966: pp. 38-39; Jang, 1996: p.
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
If a man fails to perform his duty, he cannot be said to have
accomplished his aim of life. There is a saying “Man is not
born but made”. If the head of a family fails to manage hi s fam-
ily, he has no value as its head. Likewise, if a citizen fails to
perform his/her duty for the country, he/she cannot be regarded
as its citizen. Our peninsula, the 3000-ri silk-embroidered land,
is our body and home. This is our relationship to our beloved
peninsula ···
My peninsula dear to my heart!
How on earth have you been plunged into such misery?
It is high time for you to wake up. The hopeful, dazzling sun
is already rising up from the east. But, why are you still asleep?
Kim Hyong Jik organized the Korean National Association
on March 23, 1917. In November of that year he was arrested
by the Japanese police and jailed in Pyongyang Prison. In the
prison he mapped out a new plan for the higher phase of revo-
lutionary struggle. His plan was to develop the anti-Japanese
national liberation movement from a nationalist one to a prole-
tarian one. After one year of imprisonment, he was released in
October 1918. Then, he left Mangyongdae for the northern
border area on Amnok River for fresh revolutionary activities:
he regrouped and reinforced the KNA organizations in the areas
on Amnok River, including Uiju, Sakju, Changsong, Pyokdong
and Junggang. Afterwards, he moved from home to Linjiang,
Badagou, Fusong and other places in Northeast China, where
he devoted his all to the preparation for armed struggle, dis-
semination of the new idea and promoting unity of the
anti-Japanese independence movement until he passed away on
June 5, 1926 (Jon, 1985).
Important Features and Essence of “Jiwon”
Being a revolutionary and a patriotic educator, Kim Hyong
Jik devoted his whole life to the revolutionary activities for the
restoration of the country, as well as to the education of
younger generation. His strong will for anti-Japanese national
liberation movement is reflected in “Jiwon”. He fathered the
idea of “Jiwon”, and on that basis, laid a foundation for revolu-
tionary education: he set up schools wherever he went, includ-
ing Mangyongdae and Kangdong in Pyongyang and other parts
of the country, as well as Linjiang, Badagou, Fusong and other
places in Northeast China, and gave revolutionary education to
the sons and daughters of workers and peasants. (Pak, 1995: p.
192) His idea of “Jiwon” served as a basis for practical theories
on national independence. “Jiwon” and the plan of a fresh de-
velopment of anti-Japanese national liberation movement based
on it were the correct guiding principle for our people in their
struggle against Japanese imperialists (The History of Anti-
Japanese Armed Struggle, 2002: p. 67).
The “Jiwon” Concept
Kim Hyong Jik put to the fore the idea of “Jiwon” through
his life as a professional revolutionary. He always had the cal-
ligraphic scroll of “Jiwon” hung on the classroom wall of Sun-
hwa School. In the whole course of paving the untrodden path
of history, he consistently cherished “Jiwon” as his motto of
revolution and life. Through his personal experience of the
miserable reality of the ruined nation in his childhood, he made
a firm determination and set a high aim to regain the country
without fail (WPK, 1984: p. 94).
As early as his Sungsil Middle School days, he expressed his
idea of “Jiwon” to his fellow students. One day in the autumn
of 1911, 3 days after his release from Pyongyang Police Station
—where he had been detained under the charge of advocating
subversive ideas at the seminar on the topic “What are the
youth required by the present times?”—he said to his fellow
students: I have fully understood through recent experience that
a ruined nation is no better than an ownerless dog. We can
never remain indifferent to the misery of the people. We must
drive the Japanese imperialists out of the country and regain its
independence even if our bodies tear off to pieces. Only then
can the people exercise free and equal rights in the country
without foreign forces. If our generation fails to achieve the
country’s independence, our next generations should continue
to fight to achieve it. As seen above, Kim Hyong Jik foresaw
that the achievement of the country’s independence would not
be easy task, which should be realized only through protracted
and arduous struggle. It was a practical lesson drawn by him
from the history of Korean people’s anti-Japanese struggle
(WPK, 1984: p. 95).
Referring to Kim Hyong Jik’s historical approach to the Ko-
rean people’s struggle against the Japanese imperialists, Presi-
dent Kim Il Sung said: “My father told me a great deal to ex-
plain why I should have noble aim. What he told me repre-
sented the history of our people’s struggle against the Japanese
imperialists” (WPK, 2011: p. 16). “Jiwon” advocated by Kim
Hyong Jik reflected the political situation of the time. He drew
the following lesson from the preceding anti-Japanese move-
ments: The history of the Korean people’s struggle against the
Japanese imperialists records Kabo Peasant Uprising, Right-
eous Volunteers’ Movement, Patriotic Cultural Movement and
a series of other efforts of the Korean people, but all of them
failed to maintain or bring back independence to the country.
What is essential to win back the independence of the country
is to build up our own strength sufficient enough to repel the
Japanese imperialists. With an unshakable determination we
will be able to build up our strength, and if we have enough
strength, we will be fully able to defeat even the strongest en-
emy. But this cannot be done overnight. That is why we should
aim high (WPK, 1984: p. 96).
“Jiwon”, with which Kim Hyong Jik taught people to aim
high, incorporates in itself the revolutionary outlook on life and
the indomitable revolutionary spirit. President Kim Il Sung said:
“‘Jiwon’ has nothing in common with worldly preaching about
personal glory or successful career; it implies a revolutionary
outlook on life in which genuine happiness is sought in the
struggle for one’s country and nation, and an unbreakable
revolutionary spirit to fight through generations to liberate the
country” (WPK, 2011: p. 15; WPK, 1984: p. 96).
“Jiwon” literally means to broaden one’s horizons and to
“Aim High”. “Jiwon” carries with it the need to stand firmly
against aggression and subjugation , oppression and exploita-
tion; to love one’s country and people with all one’s heart; to
regain the country’s sovereignty and independence by relying
on one’s own people and building up their strength; and to fight
on through generations to build a new harmonious society.
“Jiwon” is associated with the rock-hard will and conviction
that the country’s independence/prosperity and the people’s
liberation and freedom require a noble aim, and that it can be
achieved only when one makes consistent efforts braving
through all difficulties and trials (WPK, 1984: p. 97).
“Jiwon” represents one’s willingness to put the country and
nation above all else, a revolutionary outlook on life in which
true happiness is found in the struggle for the sake of one’s
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 21
country and nation. (WPK, 1984: p. 98) “Jiwon” is a noble idea
which has defined the concept of life value as most worthwhile
when it is a life dedicated to social justice and truth, not to per-
sonal advancement or career goals. The revolutionary outlook
on life pursued by Kim Hyong Jik implanted in the people’s
hearts a noble spirit to put the interests of collective society
above personal interests, and unhesitatingly sacrifice their per-
sonal luxury and happy family life for the restoration of the
country and victory of the revolution (WPK, 1984: p. 98).
“Jiwon” also implies an unbreakable revolutionary spirit to
win back independence of the country by fighting steadily
through generations (WPK, 1996: p. 43,169). “Jiwon” inspired
the people to the anti-Japanese national struggle to save the
destiny of the nation. According “Kim Il Sung Works”, Presi-
dent Kim Il Sung said: “My father put forward ‘Jiwon’ in his
early years and educated us in the spirit of patriotism and na-
tional independence. From the outset, therefore, I embarked on
the road of struggle with a firm determination to devote my
whole life to the effort to save the destiny of the country and
nation” (WPK, 1996: pp. 14, 135).
“Jiwon” is an idea which is not confined to a certain period
of time, but which has continuously guided the identity of the
Korea throughout its history and towards the future. With re-
gard to the historical inheritance of “Jiwon”, General Kim Jong
Il said that Our leader (Kim Il Sung) paved a new path for our
revolution by inheriting and developing “Jiwon” and this idea is
now handed over to my generation. He also said that we should
carry forward to completion the revolutionary cause of Juche
pioneered by Our Leader through generations by overcoming
all hardships and trials, even if the road of our revolution may
be rugged. This shows that “Jiwon” is a systematic idea that has
laid a solid ideological foundation for the Juche and Songun
ideas (WPK, 1996: pp. 14, 135).
“Jiwon”—Spirit of Anti-Japanese Struggle
“Jiwon”, as fathered by Kim Hyong Jik, reflected the barba-
rous political repression of Korea while under the occupation of
Japanese imperialists. The Japanese imperialists deployed gen-
darmerie and police all over Korea to keep close watch on Ko-
reans. The number of gendarmerie and police stations increased
respectively from 1134 and 7803 to 1861 and 13,380 in 1918
(see Table 1).
Against this background, “Jiwon” incorporated the noble will
to achieve independence of the country and liberation of the
nation by continuing the fight against the Japanese imperialists
and build a new society. Unlike the preceding anti-Japanese
independence fighters, Kim Hyong Jik strongly aspired to build
a new society, free from exploitation and oppression while
protecting the rights and interests of the people, in reflection of
the desire of the workers, peasants and other working people.
Table 1.
Statistical report of Japanese Government-General in Korea (Govern-
ment-Genera l o f Ko rea, 1918).
Year Gendarmerie stations Gendarmes Police stations Policemen
1910 653 2109 481 5694
1911 935 7749 678 6007
1918 1110 7978 751 5402
This aspiration was supported by his plan to defeat the Japanese
imperialists and build a new society good for the proletarians
by awakening, organizing and mobilizing them. Accordingly,
“Jiwon” reflected his firm faith in the restoration of the country
and his indomitable spirit to fight on ceaselessly for the realiza-
tion of his noble aim (WPK, 1984: p. 99).
Cruelty of the oppression by Japanese imperialists in Korea
is proven by the statistical reports of the Japanese Govern-
ment-General in Korea (see Table 2). It is suffice to take only
one example, that the average number of detainees thrown be-
hind the bars for a day radically increased from 9500 in 1911 to
12,200 in 1918. Despite the despotic legal restrictions imposed
upon the Koreans by the Japanese imperialists and the illegiti-
mate suppression of them by the barbarous gendarmerie and
police, different organizations had continuously engaged in the
anti-Japanese struggle underground until before the March 1
Popular Uprising, which expanded the movement into a na-
tionwide struggle against the Japanese imperialists on the basis
of the unexcelled spirit of independence of those organizations.
The poem “Green Pine on Nam Hill” written by Kim Hyong
Jik courses with his unbreakable fighting spirit to win back the
country’s independence through all harsh trials and difficulties,
as well as his firm faith in victory. He adopted as the revolu-
tionary spirit of “Jiwon” the invariable stand of the pine tree,
which remains ever-green even in rainstorm and snow to meet a
new spring; he reflected in “Jiwon” the unshakable will to bring
back independence of the country by fighting through genera-
tions even if his body was to be torn to pieces, and even if he
was to fall down on the way of revolution. His preparedness for
3 contingencies—death from hunger, death from beating and
death from the cold—also stemmed out from “Jiwon”, the un-
shakable revolutionary spirit and the spirit of anti-Japanese
struggle (WPK, 1984: p. 99).
The poem “Green Pine on Nam Hill” reflects the spirit as
strong as a pine tree and the invariable patriotic faith and will
not to yield to any adversities, which were cherished by Kim
Hyong Jik in his longing for a new spring of independence.
The Green Pine on Nam Hill
The green pine tree on Nam Hill
Suffers all sorts of difficulti e s
But do you know, comrades
Covered in snowstorm,
Table 2.
Statistical report of the Japanese Government-General in Ko rea (Statis-
tical Annals of Government-General of Korea, 1918; Kang, 1989, pp.
YearConvicts Prisoners Forced laborers Total
19106390 631 7021
19118888 691 2 9581
19128780 785 16 9581
19138964 940 19 9883
19148694 976 28 9698
19159237 1025 36 10,298
19169671 1000 48 10,719
191710,691 1064 58 11,813
191811,205 1043 34 12,272
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
Itll come back to life when spring comes again
Whats the worth of life
Without winning back independence
Even if my body torn apart
Believe me, compatriots
Ill never change mind in the fight for liberation
If I fall down on the way of struggle
Next generations will fight on
When spring comes back to the country
Shout hurrah, Korea
Long live independence of silk-embroidered land
“Jiwon” —L ove for Coun try, Nati on and People
“Jiwon” was the ideological and spiritual source for Kim
Hyong Jik. As he had cherished “Jiwon”, he could become a
genuine nationalist and a true patriot. President Kim Il Sung
said: “Originally, nationalism came into being as a progressive
ism that champions the interests of a nation” (WPK, 1996: pp.
43, 168). Genuine nationalism is, in essence, a progressive idea
that defends the interests of a nation. It is the noble idea of “Ji-
won” that enabled Kim Hyong Jik to give full play to genuine
nationalism and patriotism. One of the important requirements
of genuine nationalism and patriotism is to defend and exalt the
spirit of national independence. Independence constitutes the
life and soul of a nation, and its defense represents the highest
expression of championing national interests (WPK, 1984: p.
Kim Hyong Jik said: A Korean should keep the Korean spirit
wherever he or she goes. The independence of Korea is not
something that will be freely given. History teaches that de-
pending on foreign nations will lead to national ruin. To stand
against the foreign aggression and intervention, flunkeyism and
dependence on foreign forces, and to stick to the path of inde-
pendence through self-reliance and the spirit of national
autonomy-that is a patriotic trait inherent to a genuine national-
ist. With “Jiwon” as his ideological and spiritual source, Kim
Hyong Jik cherished the spirit of national autonomy. With the
patriotic idea and the revolutionary outlook on life based on
“Jiwon”, Kim Hyong Jik kept a strong patriotic will to fight
staunchly in defense of the dignity and honour of the nation and
country in which Koreans had lived from generation to genera-
tion; he also held a firm patriotic stand to maintain the spirit
befitting a Korean national, the spirit of national independence
(WPK, 1984: p. 100).
The Korean National Association, an underground organiza-
tion, was based on the love for the country and nation. It is
difficult to give a clear-cut explanation to the concept of the
state and nation, history and state affairs adopted by this under-
ground organization, but available records show their guiding
idea to be as follows: above all, a citizen is defined by his/her
nation and people, and that fervent love for both was paramount.
Their belief is aptly summarized by the following expression:
“Just as the head of a family has no value if he fails to properly
manage them and as a national is not worth such if he or she
fails to perform his or her duty to the country, so too is Korea.
If Korea is ruined, the Koreans are doomed; if Korea is free, so
are the Koreans, and if the peninsula is plunged into trials, so
are the Koreans (Kang, 1989: pp. 73-174, footnote 30).
To maintain the national identity and national spirit consti-
tutes a patriotic feature inherent to a genuine nationalist, a true
patriot. Nationalism which champions the national interests
requires that Koreans cherish the spirit of the nation, to love the
Korean blood, the national language and her mountains and
rivers, and to value the history, culture and traditions of the
nation. The patriotic idea of “Jiwon” with the revolutionary
outlook on life to seek genuine happiness and pride in the
struggle for the country and nation serves as a ideological and
spiritual foundation for bringing all patriotic traits into full play
(WPK, 1984: p. 101).
“Jiwon” contains the love for the people. To have a correct
concept of the people and to love them constitutes another im-
portant feature of a genuine nationalist, a true patriot. The peo-
ple form the majority of the nation and constitute the driving
force of national movements. Anyone indifferent to the re-
quirements and strength of the people can never defend the
national interests. Therefore, a genuine nationalist, a true patriot
should love the people with all heart and soul. The patriotic
idea of “Jiwon” serves as an ideological and spiritual source of
the love for the people. Aspiration for the innovation of na-
tional movements and sensitivity to the progressive ideological
trends is also one of the essential characteristics of a genuine
nationalist, a true patriot. National interests are inconceivable
apart from the outlook on future of the nation. “Jiwon” is an
ideological and spiritual spirit which enables people to draw up
a new fighting policy by adopting a innovative outlook on the
future and introducing the progressive ideological trends.
(WPK, 1984: p. 101) The strength of a nation relies on unity,
and contribution to consolidating unity is an important prereq-
uisite to defending the national interests. “Jiwon”, which ap-
pealed through the noble aim to win back the country at all
costs by fighting through generations, served as an ideological
incentive to unity and integration, not division and factionalism
(WPK, 1984: p. 101).
“Jiwon”, as advocated by Kim Hyong Jik, was the one and
only guiding idea for the development of anti-Japanese national
liberation movement in Korea at the time. In those years, many
independence activists separately organized their own inde-
pendence organizations and called for independence of the
country, but none of them put forward the guiding idea correct
and popular enough to lead the people. Kim Hyong Jik, who set
forth “Jiwon” as a guiding idea for the anti-Japanese independ-
ence movement, was indeed an outstanding model of a genuine
patriot, a true nationalist (WPK, 1984: p. 102).
“Jiwon”—Its Educational Aspect
Under the colonial rule of the Japanese imperialist, the
anti-Japanese movement developed with schools at the center.
In particular, schools provided the main platform for the patri-
otic enlightening movement. For that reason, the Japanese im-
perialists began to repress the Korean schools which put em-
phasis on national education and were engaged in the patriotic
movement. The Japanese Government-General in Korean
dampened the passion for modern national education which had
been prevalent in the period of the Empire of Korea. Under the
rule of the Japanese Residency-General in Korea, the Japanese
imperialists already issued a series of decrees on schooling and
restricted the free educational activities. They increased the
number of government schools and set up Japanese schools to
intensify Japanese education. But the lethal strike on the activi-
ties of national education started with the adoption of the “De-
cree on Private Schooling” (Aug. 1908) and the Decree on So-
dang” (Aug. 1908) to put the establishment of schools and pub-
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 23
lication of textbooks under strict control. In particular, under
the “Decree on Private Schooling”, all the schools which had
been approved of their establishment before it had to get per-
mission again by the end of June 1909. Out of 1995 schools
which applied for re-approval, only 820 schools were allowed
to continue, of which 778 were religious and 42 being national-
ist ones. Worse still, the “Decree on Private Schooling” stipu-
lated that any school which proved to be contrary or harmful to
the instructions of the education minister had to be shut down.
Total number of private schools was 50,000 as at the year of
1908 but was decreased to 1900 in August. 1910 after the “De-
cree on Private Schooling” was instituted (Kang, 2006: pp. 29-
The most important part of the patriotic enlightenment
movement under the rule of Japanese imperialists was the
campaign to set up modern educational institutions. In 1896 the
government opened a public park as a modern educational es-
tablishment. In 1895 after the Kabo Reform there came into
being government and private schools, including primary, sec-
ondary, teacher-training and foreign languages schools. For
example, Paejae School, Ihwa School and Kyongsin School
were set up in 1886; Jongsin Girls’ School in 1890; Kwangsong
School in Pyongyang in 1894; Sungsil Middle School in 1897;
Paehwa School in 1898; Sungui School in Pyongyang in 1903;
Huston School in Kaesong in 1904; Kyesong School in Taegu,
Sinsong School and Posin School in Sonchon in 1906; Sofia
Girls’ School in Kwangju, Sinmyong Girls’ School in Taegu
and Kijon Girls’ School in Jonju in 1907; and Sinhung School
in Jonju in 1908 (Editorial Committee for the Sungsil 100th
Anniversary, 1997: p. 22). Out of them, Sungsil Middle School
where Kim Hyong Jik studied was set by Missionary W. M.
Baird of the American North Presbyterian Church on October
10, 1897, during a time when the international powers were
fiercely positioning themselves for control of the Korean pen-
insula. When the Ulsa Treaty was passed, the students of Sung-
sil Middle School boycotted and launched a campaign against it.
Some of them went so far as to Seoul to fight in opposition of
the Ulsa Treaty. Most of the independence activists from Sung-
sil Middle School joined the Sinmin Association, an under-
ground organization and engaged themselves in the nationalist
movement. Many of them were involved in the 105-person
incidence and sentenced to imprisonment. The Korean National
Association, the largest underground organization in Korea in
the 1910s was formed mainly of the graduates and undergradu-
ates of Sungsil Middle School and helped start the anti-Japa-
nese movement. Therefore, Sungsil can be said to have been the
center of anti-Japanese nationalist movement and a genuine
national school under the colonial rule of the Japanese imperi-
alists (Editorial Committee for the Sungsil 100th Anniversary,
1997: pp. 3-4).
President Kim Il Sung said, “My father wrote ‘Jiwon’ in
large strokes and displayed it at school and at home. ‘Jiwon’
literally means ‘Aim High’. He always said that a man should
learn to achieve a high aim. He taught that only when man
learned, could he nurture love for the country and engage him-
self in revolution, and that only revolution could bring back
independence to the country. He educated the independence
activists and youth and students in this idea of ‘Jiwon’ and led
them to the road of revolution” (Pak, 1995: p. 193).
Kim Hyong Jik set forth “Jiwon” and emphasized that one
had to learn to realize a noble aim. The educational aspect of
“Jiwon” advocated by him included the idea that the rising
generations should be trained to be genuine patriots and reliable
reserves of revolution, the idea that all contents and methods of
education should be patriotic and revolutionary, and that the
children of proletariats should be provided with the rights to
education (Pak, 1995: p. 193). This idea of his was based on the
revolutionary stand to achieve independence of the country by
the Korean nation itself by building up the strength of the Ko-
rean people and relying on their own strength. Stemming from
this viewpoint, he regarded the education of rising generations
as a part of the revolution to restore the country, as a funda-
mental issue that determined the civilization of the country. In
those years the activities of the patriotic cultural movement
claimed that it was impossible to build up the national strength
without developing education, but they failed to define the po-
sition and role of education in a revolutionary way by relating
the education of coming generations to the destiny of the coun-
try. The educational aspect of “Jiwon” also elucidated the pur-
pose of education to train the rising generations to be patriots
who loved the country and nation with all their hearts and soul,
to be dependable pillars who would carry forward the revolu-
tion through generations (Pak, 1995: p. 194).
It was only Kim Hyong Jik, an outstanding educating, that
applied the principles of “Jiwon” to define the purpose of edu-
cation as training the rising generations into revolutionary tal-
ents who would contribute to the cause of restoring the country
by defeating the Japanese imperialists. With the clarification by
Kim Hyong Jik of the position, role and purpose of education
of rising generations, the national education was able to pave a
new patriotic and revolutionary road for the first time in history
even while under the colonial rule of the Japanese imperialists
and serve as a powerful means of training the Korean revolu-
tionary forces for the restoration of the country. What is also of
particular importance in his idea of education was to teach the
rising generations with patriotic and revolutionary content and
methods. On the basis of the principles of patriotic education
supported by “Jiwon”, Kim Hyong Jik illustrated the revolu-
tionary content and methods of education (Pak, 1995: p. 195).
The focus on the content of education, as defined by him,
was on fostering love for the country and nation in the minds of
the children. He paid particular attention to educating the chil-
dren in the spirit of national independence, that the country
should be won back not by relying on foreign forces but by the
Korean people themselves; in the patriotic spirit of fighting
devotedly for independence of the country; and in the revolu-
tionary spirit of building a new civilized society free from all
sorts of class and social injustice, exploitation and oppression
on this land. Against the then background of education, in
which the Korean language, history and geography were wan-
tonly trampled down by the colonial slave education policy of
the Japanese imperialists, he ensured that the anti-Japanese
patriotic spirit ran through the content of all subjects with a
focus on teaching Korean language, history and geography to
the children. Another important part in the content of education
defined by Kim Hyong Jik was to nurture spiritual and moral
traits befitting a fervent patriot, an indomitable revolutionary
fighter with a noble aim (Pak, 1995: pp. 195-196).
In his idea on education, Kim Hyong Jik elucidated the sci-
entific methods of education to train revolutionary talents.
Having adopted the persuasive approach in the education of
rising generations, he fostered ardent patriotism and strong
fighting spirit in their hearts by applying various teaching
methods that suited the psychological features of the children.
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
Another essential part in the idea of Kim Hyong Jik on educa-
tion was to give to the children of poor working people access
to education. This idea of his was based on his firm will to lib-
erate the country by building up the strength of the broad sec-
tions of working people and relying on their united effort. In
particular, he tried his best to enlist the children of working
people regardless of their age and jobs and relieve them of the
burden of school fee. His was a concept of education for the
masses, where the children of workers and peasants were to be
given free access to education. (Pak, 1995: pp. 196- 197) His
idea on education based on “Jiwon” heralded a new phase of
patriotic and revolutionary education based on the spirit of
national independence in opposition of the colonial slave edu-
cation of the Japanese imperialists and clear away any obsolete
remnants of nationalist education in Korea (Pak, 1995: p. 197).
Kim Hyong Jik and the Korean National
Goal of the Korean National Association
The Korean National Association was an anti-Japanese un-
derground organization formed in Pyongyang in March 1917,
mainly with the graduates, undergraduates and some of the
teaching staff of Pyongyang Sungsil Middle School and Py-
ongyang Theological School. The independence movement in
the 1910s when the Korean National Association was formed
and active was characterized by the buildup of nationalist
forces who inherited and developed the movement to restore
national sovereignty underway since the fall of Korea into the
March 1 Popular Uprising, the nationwide anti-Japanese inde-
pendence movement. Nevertheless, the independence move-
ment abroad studied rather deeply about the Korean National
Association, whereas the domestic independence movement
focused its study on Sinmin (New People) Association and
Kwangbok (Restoration) Association (Kang, 1989: p. 165).
Besides, the Korean National Association is assessed differ-
ently in the north and the south. For the purpose of this paper, I
have tried to rely on the primary historical material to define
the historical character of the Korean National Association.
One of the objective primary materials on the Korean National
Association is the Japanese document “Case of an underground
organization (Kukminhoe-National Association): findings and
settlement”: Case of an underground organization: findings and
settlement (summary report by the Chief of South Phyongan
Provincial Police) We have discovered this Association (the
Korean National Association), an underground organization
which was formed in collaboration with the overseas Korean
dissidents to restore the national sovereignty. We have arrested
its members and others related to it and sentenced them to im-
prisonment (High Police No. 3094, Feb. 18, 7th year of Tae-
jong) (The National Institute of Korean History, 1966: p. 490).
According to the History of Independence Movement in Ko-
rea, the goal of the Korean National Association was as follows:
There is clear evidence that European and American forces are
heading east and that they would soon rival Japan for hegem-
ony. Then, it is sure that Japan, under the signboard of democ-
racy, would form an Eastern alliance to stand against the Euro-
pean forces. This would give the Koreans and Chinese the hope
for their autonomous freedom. By taking advantage of their
rivalry, the association shall promote the rally of the comrades
and preparation for achieving Korea’s independence. For this
purpose, its members shall observe the following rules:
- To promote contact with the National Association of Ko-
rean Residents in the United States and other overseas
- To expand the influence of the association gradually to
Jiandao, China;
- Not to make up any documents, including the constitution
of the association, its manifesto and the list of its members,
for the sake of secrecy;
- To pay monthly membership fee amounting to 20 jon.
- Ryo Pyong Sop shall be assigned to Kyongsang Province;
Ro Son Gyong to Hwanghae Province; and Kang Sok Bong
to Jolla Province, to recruit its members in their respective
- To open its regular general meeting every year on the first
day of the spring academic semester of Pyongyang Theo-
logical School and Sungsil Middle School;
- To assign Paek Se Bin to Dandong, China and one person
to Beijing, China, as liaison officers;
- To use codes for communication among its members:
1) Singukbo (contribution to a new state) KNA member
2) sangop or nongop (business or agriculture) KNA
3) dongak (pig leg) pistol
4) dansan (birch mountain) Hawaii
5) hannangye (thermometer) psychological state of a
6) coded names In confidential letters, coded names shall
be used, for example, Jang Il Hwan shall be encoded as
jang-dong-so-il-dae-so-hwan, i.e, two additional letters
shall be inserted between each letter of the name (The
National Institute of Korean History, 1962: pp. 492-493).
List of KNA Members (See Table 3)
Formation of the Korean N ational Ass ociation and
Activities of Its Members
Jang Il Hwan, who had been displeased with the government,
went to Hawaii, America in September in the 3rd year of Tae-
jong and met Pak Yong Man, the leader of the anti-Japanese
movement in the area. They promised that after Jang’s return
from abroad, they would cooperate with each other in the
struggle. Jang came back to Korea with determination to inform
Pak Yong Man of the situation regarding the Japanese Gov-
ernment-General ruling and the mindset of the people against it,
to form a youth organization and launch the movement to win
back the national sovereignty in cooperation with the Koreans
living abroad. Jang returned in April in the 4th year of Daejong
and met So Kwang Jo and Kang Sok Bong, the Hawaii Na-
tional Association member from Hawaii in the 42nd year of
Meiji, with whom he made a determination to launch an active
movement for national independence. Jang also met Paek Se
Bin from Dandong and conveyed Pak Yong Man’s intention to
him that same year. They had a consultation on the formation of
the Korean National Association and discussed the plan to
counterfeit Chinese currency in Shenyang, with which they
would buy the land in the bordering area and move their com-
rades there to make it the centre of their future activities. Af-
terwards, Kang Sok Bong opposed the plan fearing that too
radical move would draw attention of the Japanese Govern-
ment-General. Therefore, they focused their activities only on
the rallying of their comrades. In February in the 6th year of
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 25
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
Table 3.
KNA member list (The National Institute of Korean History, 1962: pp. 490-492).
Name Age Birth place Education Profession Note
Jang Il Hwan 32 Pyongyang, S. P Hyongan Sungsil Middle School
Paek Se B i n 25 Uiju, S. PHyongan Member of Dandong branch of Kwangbok Associait ion
Bae Min Soo 22 Chongju, N. Chungchong Sungsil Middle SchoolStude nt Led March 1 Uprising in Songjin
Kim Hyong Jik 24 Taedong, S. PHyongan Sungsil Middle School
(left halfwa y) Sodang teacherLed March 1 Uprising in Junggangji n, Joined Paeksan Armed
Group in Manchuria around 1926
Kim In Jun 33 Cholsan, N. PHyongan Sungsil College
(3rd batch) Christian priestEx-teacher of Sungsil Middle School
Ro Tok S un 23 Taedong, S. PHyongan Sodang teacher
Choe Ji Hwa 31 Pyongyan g, S. PHyon g an Sungsil Colle g e (3rd
batch) Funeral managerJoined the Korean Youth Associa t ion
Kang Sok Bong 28 Mokpho, S. Jolla
O Pyong Sop 29 Kosong N. Kyongsang Py ongy an g Theolo gic al
Ri Pyong Gy u n 23 Kangdong, N. PH yongan Sungsil Middle SchoolStudent
Pak In Gwan 25 Taedong, S. PHyongan Sungsil College
(8th batch) Teacher of
Kwangson Scho olPreparatory agent for Mar ch 1 Uprising in Pyongyang,
organizer of Korean People’s Association
Ro Son Gyon g 21 Jaeryo ng, Hwangha e Sungsil Middle School
So Kwang Jo 22 Mokpho, S. Jolla
Kim Pyong Du 21 Kangso, S. PHy ongan Sungsil Middle SchoolStudent
Ri Po Sik 30 Pyongyang, S. PHyongan Sungsil College Stude nt Joined March 1 Uprisin g in Pyongyang: distributed declaration
Jo Ok Cho 19 Posong, S. Jolla Yongmyong Secondary
School in Kunsan Student
Kim Sok Hon 22 Kangdong, S. P Hyongan Sungsil Middle SchoolStudent
Choe Won Hyong 28 Wonsan, S. Hamgyong Sungsil College Student
Kim Ji Su 24 Ta edong, S. PHyongan Yonhoe College in
Kyongsong Student
Yang Kyong Su 18 Posong, S. Jolla
Sol Myong Hwa 27 PHyongwon, S. PHyongan Sungsil College Joined Kore an Independence Youth Group
Song Se Hwan 51 Sunan, S. PHyongan Sungsil Middle School Teacher o f Sungsil Middle School, manager of Taekuk, arrested
and tried for 105-person incident, led March 1 Uprising
Ri Ja Hyon 23 Okgu, N. Jolla Sungsil Middle S chool
Kim Sa Hyon 19 Posong, S. Jolla Resident in Shangha i
Kim Yong Bok 19 Posong, S. Jolla Resident in Shanghai
Taejong Jang met Bae Min Soo and Kim Hyong Jik in his
house and discussed the formation of their own organization.
They agreed to form the organization on March 23 in the same
year as young Christians would come to Pyongyang from dif-
ferent parts of the country to attend the Pyongyang Theological
School (this school was open for theological education only for
a certain period of time in a year and it was closed at the time
of discussion). 6 out of 30 candidates were absent on the day.
Jang and other 9 comrades gathered in Ri Po Sik’s house. They
also agreed on the rules of the organization and decided to
name it the Korean Na ti ona l Association (The National Institute
of Korean History, 1962: pp. 492-493).
In June in the same year, Bae Min Soo, Kim Hyong Jik, Ro
Tok Sun and some other members of the association cut their
index fingers and wrote with their blood “Independence of
Korea” or “Do or Die” as an expression of their firm determi-
nation to devote themselves to stronger unity and future activi-
ties (Bae, 2002: pp. 92-93). They selected the strong- willed
young people to recruit them in the association. Paek Se Bin
distributed to the members of the association Kukminbo, a
newspaper issued by the anti-Japanese Koreans, and Ro Son
Gyong went to western Jiandao in July in the same year to have
a contact with the comrades active in that area. Bae Min Soo
was supported to be enrolled in a local military school. Kim Sa
Hyon and Jo Ok Cho gave 10,000 won to Yang Kyong Su to
buy pistols and planned to go over to the United States. Before
the plan was put into reality, however, the association was dis-
covered and they had to cross the river to China (The National
Institute of Korean History, 1966: pp. 26, 493). Kim Hyong Jik
was imprisoned for his involvement in the case of the Korean
National Association (WPK, 1984: p. 189). While serving his
term in Pyongyang Jail, he made up a plan to develop the anti-
Japanese national liberation struggle from nationalist to prole-
tarian, centering on workers and peasants.
Kim Hyong Jik’s Involvement in the Korean National
An article carried by Yonhap News of South Korea (news on
internet) on March 25, 1998 reported that “the truth” regarding
Kim Hyong JI’s revolutionary activity as a member of the Ko-
rean Nationa Association had been confirmed in South Korea
by the relevant documents. The article said that the activity of
Kim Hyong Jik as a full member of the association had been
proved by the relevant documents, but had been not recognized
in the South because of the anti-communist hostility of the
South towards the North in the Cold War period. In reality,
most of the books on Korean history and the Who’s Who of the
North published by the South have not given space to Kim
Hyong Jik’s activities in the Korean National Association, and
if any space was given, was merely a note in claims made by
the North.
The textbook of Korean history typical in the South has no
description about the Korean National Association and Kim
Hyong Jik. “New Argument on Korean History” written by Ri
Ki Paek (Iljogak Publisher, Seoul, 1998: p. 432) briefly men-
tioned the Korean National Association in Section 5 “March 1
Popular Uprising”, Chapter 14: The Korean National Associa-
tion in 1917 was also a Christian organization which inherited
the tradition of the patriotic enlightening movement. “Introduc-
tion to Korean History” written by Pyoun Thae Sop (Samyong
Publisher, Seoul, 1997: p. 441) included only the following
short paragraph in Section 2 “March 1 Popular Uprising”,
Chapter 3, Part 5: The Korean National Association formed
mainly of students of Sungsil Middle School in Pyongyang and
other Christian students was active with the goal of patriotic
enlightenment and buildup of national strength.
“Our History under Recovery” authored by Han Yong U
(Kyongse Publisher, Seoul, 2003: pp. 526-527) wrote as fol-
lows: One of the republican organizations formed in PHyongan
Province was the Korean National Association (1917). This
association, organized mainly of students of Sungsil Middle
School in Pyongyang and other Christian students raised funds
and procured weapons in close contact with the Korean Peo-
ple’s Society in Hawaii and an independence movement group
in Jiandao. It led the March 1 Popular Uprising in Pyongan
Province. In Chapter 7 “Movement of National United Front in
1930 to the early 1940s”, Part 5 of his recently published book
“Korean History under Recovery”, Prof. Han Hyong U of Seoul
National University wrote about the anti-Japanese armed strug-
gle led by Kim Il Sung and the activities of Kim Hyong Jik in
the Korean National Association with the footnote (p. 537), as
claimed by the North. Even “Modern History of Korea
Re-written” (Changbi Publisher, Seoul, 2006) authored by
Kang Man Gil with a critical attitude to the history description
of the South did not mention at all about the Korean National
Association. It is the same with “Special Course on Korean
History” (Publisher of Seoul University, 2008), the most recent
textbook on Korean history in the South and “Atlas History of
Korea” (Sagyejol Publisher, 2004).
But Yonhap News reported on March 23, 2005 that the his-
torical evidences of the independence activities launched by
Kim Hyong Jik through an anti-Japanese underground organi-
zation had been on display in the Independence Museum in
Chonan. Yonhap News quoted the museum staff as saying that
Volume I (Korean History) of “Modern History” (compiled by
Kang, 1967) includes the following description: Kim Hyong Jik
was active as a member of the Korean National Association, an
anti-Japanese organization. On Feb. 18, 1918 he was sentenced
to imprisonment in South PHyongan Province. The summary
report by the police chief of South PHyongan Province re-
corded that Kim Hyong Jik was a Sodang teacher and had his
residence in Tongsam-ri, Jongup-myon, Kangdong County,
South PHyongan Province. The summary report also included
the detailed information of birth places, addresses, age and
roles of 25 KNA members, including Jang Il Hwan, Paek Se
Bin and Bae Min Soo. The Independence Museum also dis-
closed a copy of Sinhanminbo (issue of Sept. 12, 1918), an
organ of the Korean People’s Assembly, the anti-Japanese or-
ganization of the Korean residents in the United State, which
carried an article about the arrest of the KNA members. The
article reported that “In February and March a number of Ko-
reans were arrested (for their involvement in the Korean Na-
tional Association) in Pyongyang, Kyongsong, Kongju and
other parts of the country” (Sinhan Newspaper, 1918).
In reality, the historical materials available give different in-
terpretations to Kim Hyong Jik’s involvement in the Korean
National Association. The primary historical material “History
of Independence Movement in Korea” gives an objective ex-
planation about Kim Hyong Jik’s involvement in the Korean
National Association: 17 members in all—14 out of 20 full
members and 3 out of associate members—were graudates,
undergraduates or teachers of Sungsil Middle School (Bang,
1999). The Japanese document “Case of an underground or-
ganization (Korean National Association): findings and settle-
ment” included the paragraph “the Korean National Association
and Sungsil Middle School”, which read: Most of the figures
involved in the present case were undergraduates and graduates
of Sungsil Middle School or those related to it. And most of
those detained in relation to the previous case of dissidents
were also from this school. There was recently a case of a stu-
dent of this school making a seditious speech, for which he was
warned and pressed to show behavioral change. In the case of
the association, there has been no sign of its secret activities
spreading to other parts. But it is clear that a subversive idea
prevails over the school, and accordingly, it is necessary to
bring behavioral change to it from the root (The National Insti-
tute of Korean History, 1962: p. 494).
Referring to the activities of the Korean National Association,
Bae Min Soo (Han, 1988: pp. 146-147) wrote about his meeting
with Kim Hyong Jik:
About a year later, Hyong Jik Kim was introduced to me by
those fellows. He came from Manchuria and was most enthusi-
astic about the restoration of our country. He told me all about
the underground and guerrilla movements in Manchuria” (Bae,
2002: p. 91).
In his biography Bae Min Soo expressed his high expecta-
tions for Kim Hyong Jik’s leadership ability. “He and I prayed
together after our conversations. The prayers were as follows,
“Our father, we thank thee that Jesus suffered and died to save
us. We thank thee that Thy Son Christ became a criterion for us
to follow the way of the cross. Forgive our sins. Forgive the
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 27
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
sins of our people and help us to save our country. Lead us to
sacrifice our lives in order to save her ··· Bless my dear brother
Hyong jik. Let him be thy faithful servant to save our peo-
ple ··· We always prayed with tears” (Bae, 2002: p. 91).
The Korean National Association was an underground or-
ganization with the goal to achieve national independence and
establish a truly modern state by the united efforts of the Ko-
rean nation. It was one of the largest anti-Japanese underground
revolutionary organizations of Korean patriots at home and
abroad around the March 1 Popular Uprising, which stood
firmly against imperialists and for independence and had a solid
mass foundation (The Histroy of Anti-Japanese Armed Struggle
1, 2002: pp. 68-69). Historically, the Korean National Associa-
tion can be evaluated as an anti-Japanese nationalist under-
ground organization, but what is most important is that the
association adopted Kim Hyong Jik’s “Jiwon” as its ideological
foundation, and that its formation and activities for anti-Japa-
nese nationalist movement were the historical embodiment of
his “Jiwon”.
It seems to me that historical evaluation of Kim Hyong Jik
differs according to the approach to historical interpretation. In
view of the situation of Korea (both parts of Korea), and par-
ticularly since the history literatures in the South do not give
any description about the anti-Japanese national movement
launched by Kim Hyong Jik, I deem it necessary to re-evaluate
the existing historical views. The primary historical materials
originated from Japan clearly show that Kim Hyong Jik played
a leading part in the anti-Japanese national movement. In my
view, therefore, we should not underestimate “Jiwon” of Kim
Hyong Jik who waged undaunted struggle for national libera-
tion in spite of the hideous repression under the occupation of
Japanese imper ialists.
Even today in the 21st century I put emphasis on Kim Hyong
Jik’s “Jiwon” because this idea enables us to recover the iden-
tity of the Korean history. “Jiwon” helps us recover the identity
of the Korean nation because at its core lies love for the country,
nation and people, which has been the traditional spirit inherent
to the Korean nation. Today the North and the South of Korea
maintain different stands for their respective political systems
and ideals. Nevertheless, Korea has one and the same identity.
That is the nationalist spirit inherent to the Korean nation. I
hold we should keep in mind that “Jiwon” reflected this
anti-Japanese nationalist spirit which identifies the Korean
history. I deem it essential to recover this nationalist spirit in
the history of division, in which the North and South have re-
mained divided with different systems and ideals.
As is shown through the activities of the Korean National
Association, Kim Hyong Jik’s “Jiwon” was not simply a the ory
for its own sake, but a practical crystallization in history. In
view of his anti-Japanese revolutionary movement and his ac-
tivities as a patriotic educationist, I deem it necessary to evalu-
ate Kim Hyong Jik as a historical figure who put forward a
historical idea and put it in to reality.
History expects a new idea that can inspire people to trans-
form the world. But what is now indispensible is the historical
consciousness of the Korean nation to adapt itself to the
ost-modernism culture and the era of reunification in the 21st
century without losing the identity inherent to it. Therefore, I
consider it absolutely necessary for both the north and the south
of Korea to nurture love for the country, nation and people
based on the spirit of national independence for the sake of
future-oriented one reunified Korea. In this regard, I hold that
“Jiwon” advocated by Kim Hyong Jik is the most important
nationalist idea that enables us to understand and address this
fundamental practical and historical issue of the Korean nation.
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