National Museum Of Korean Contemporary History

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Hello! Democracy
Independence, when that day comes

National Museum of Korean Contemporary History

Feb. 22th, 2019(Fri) - Sep. 15th, 2019(Sun)

  • Price : Free
  • Hours :10:00 – 18:00
    Opening hours will be extended to nine o’clock in the evening on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
    (Last admission is one hour before the closing time.)
  • For additional inquiries call : +82-02-3703-9200

Embracing 1919

Shouting “Hail Independence!”
The March 1st Movement of 1919 marked the beginning of a new era. Koreans strove to tell the world about the injustice of imperialist domination, and they resisted the suppression. “Hail Independence!”(“Dongnip mansei!”) was a call for resistance and freedom. Individuals as well as groups in solidarity wrote and distributed declarations and manifestos, shouting Mansei!, creating a massive movement that no one predicted. Such autonomous participation experienced at that time was revolutionary, indicating a departure from past behavior.
The Unknown Faces
Students, religious figures, farmers, workers, salesmen, and unemployed people alike all cried for Korean Independence. Every space they cried in became a space for revolution. The Korean people became one, regardless of gender, class, and region, and this was the force that led the March 1st Independence Movement.
March 1st Held Dear
People were at the scene of the action on March 1st 1919. Perhaps the day seems like one big happening, but the things they witnessed did not carry the same meaning as the words “Mansei!” they shouted. Nevertheless, it was a day that none could forget, prompting some to jump into the independence movement and others to leave the country, never to return. Some created literary works based on their experiences, while others simply lived out their lives coping with the pain of separation and scars of that time period. Still others followed the pro-Japanese route. Presented here are the stories taken from the biographical records of seventeen different people who were there on that fateful day. Let’s share their first-hand experiences of the March 1st Movement and the stories of their subsequent lives in their own words.
The Legacy of the March 1st Movement
The memories of the March 1st Movement were kept alive in succeeding generations. People would recall that event as a symbol of resistance, participation, and justice. The wave that began in 1919 has remained with Koreans undiminished.

The People of the Provisional Government, Longing for their Homeland

Shanghai: Center of the Independence Movement Outside Korea
Shanghai, China in the early 20th century had embraced modern Western culture and advanced to become a cosmopolitan metropolis. This city was a major base of operations for Chinese Revolution of 1911 and a place of international activity, attracting both local revolutionaries as well as exiles and revolutionaries from various oppressed peoples and countries. The reason behind this was the presence of the Shanghai International Settlement, where the citizens of foreign countries could freely do business or dwell and enjoy extraterritorial rights. For Koreans, too, Shanghai was on the front line of the independence movement as a base of operations for various groups including the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea, the Korean Residents Association and the Righteous Patriots Corps.
Getting by in Shanghai
Life in Shanghai posed constant crises and challenges for Koreans, from adjusting to the weather to securing basic necessities—namely food, clothing and shelter. Despite the adversity, Koreans established schools to cultivate their skills, sought work to support their livelihoods and cause, and participated in the independence movement. On days of commemoration, the Provincial Government and Korean residents would gather for a major event, while using the occasion to pledge their duty and resolve toward the independence movement.
People the Cause of both Joy and Sorrow
Various people were in conflict over Provisional Government activities during the 27 years of its operation in China, first in Shanghai and then later in Chongqing. Some, acting as traitors or spies, opposed and refused to recognize the Provisional Government. Among them were disgruntled family members and government aides who had to endure the rigors of exile. Such occurrences must be included in the history of the Provisional Government to provide a balanced look at the diverse stories about the people involved.

Dream of Homeland

Dream of Homeland