[KS] assessing historical meanings - Mr. Yoon

Frank Hoffmann hoffmann at koreaweb.ws
Tue Sep 7 22:33:49 EDT 2010

>do we have any realistic idea about how many people in China and 
>Korea actually learned about Mr. Yoon's act at the time?

If you read some of the reminiscences of former independence 
activists (many have been published over the years in China and South 
Korea) as well as various source materials of the time, you will find 
that Yun Ponggil's bombing did have significant influences: for 
example, Chinese Guomindang and Communist groups were now willing to 
work with the Koreans and began to include Korean units in their 
armies or otherwise cooperated with them. It can well be argued that 
this was one of the aims of this and earlier failed such 
attacks--this becomes again clear if you read through various letters 
and memorials of Korean independence activists in China, talking 
about the distrust of the Chinese towards them (before Yun's 
bombing). Koreans were till then often seen as possible agents of the 
Japanese, and in some cases that was of course also the case. If you 
further follow the incidents that let up to the occupation of 
Manchuria by the Japanese (that were taken as a pretext), the 
so-called "Wanpaoshan Incident" (Manpozan jiken), you will then find 
that the dual citizenship status of Koreans in parts of China and the 
clever Japanese concept of "Divide and Rule" had given the Chinese 
plenty of reasons to distrust Koreans. Korean groups in Shanghai and 
Manchuria tried to overcome those obstacles in working with the 
Chinese to get their support, partially by trying to *prove* that 
they were worth to be supported (to then again help the Korean 
cause). In this series of actions Yun's bombing was probably the most 
significant one. And yes, it really did change Chinese attitudes 
toward the Koreans at the time, there is no doubt about that. As for 
media coverage, the bombing made it to the front pages of many major 
Asian newspapers. All details were very well covered.

Again about Chinese resistance: That was not any weaker than the 
Korean resistance. The point, as argued before, is rather that 
Communist historians are emphasizing group activities and Communist 
Party activities, not the activities of nationalist or anarchist 
groups or of individuals. The Communists were early on able to create 
military units to fight the Japanese. That is another reason why 
desperate single-handed acts were not 'necessary' for the 
Chinese--other than for the Koreans, who needed (a) to woo for 
Chinese support in their cause, while (b) also proving they are no 
Japanese spies, and (c) had not the military means to make a dent 
into the Japanese Empire, thus were mostly limited to symbolic and 
anarchist acts.


Frank Hoffmann

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