[KS] Independence Gate (Tongnipmun) during Japanese Colonial Rule?

Peter Schroepfer schroepfer at gmail.com
Wed Nov 10 23:56:28 EST 2004

>The Independence Arch was moved from the site where the Sungsan
highway passed by in 1997.

I've read this sentence several times and do believe I'm still
misreading something or need to doubt my eyes, but if it means
Tongnummun/Dongnimmun was moved, turned around, or in any way adjusted
in 1997 it just can't be accurate, as anyone who has lived in Seoul's
downtown neighborhoods in the last few decades can tell you. Obviously
it was moved at some point in history, and surely someone on this
listserve will be able to clarify when.

Also, anyone who has gotten a close look will have noticed that next
to it stands a smaller arch which clearly says Yônginmun, intended to
welcome visiting Chinese emissaries. So even if that one was
"destroyed in February 1895" (and I don't know that to be inaccurate)
then obviously part of it still stands or was rebuilt, which would
surprise me. Yônginmun is tiny, so I can imagine there might have been
more to it at one point.

Kirk Larsen, myself, and the many others who do not have the wrong
impression that Tongnimmun was a declaration of independence from
Japan probably still wonder what the Japanese thought of the monument.
I can see the Japanese wanting to keep it there, frankly, given how
the "independence" was in relation to China, but it would be
interesting to hear about any Japanese references to it during
colonial times.

Peter Schroepfer.

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