[KS] assessing historical meanings - Mr. Yoon

Frank Hoffmann hoffmann at koreaweb.ws
Wed Sep 8 10:00:49 EDT 2010

From how you summarize Pak Hônyông's 1932 text, 
this sounds -- as expected -- like a Communist 
take on the bombing incident. Again, this is the 
very same interpretation you find e.g. in all the 
1980s and 1990s PRC works mentioning it (or 
ignoring it, for the same reason). I cannot see 
anything "balanced" in this view. If thought to 
the end, if you continue this line of logic, you 
basically suggest that only the world revolution 
will solve all problems. If you turn the burner a 
step lower, then it still would have been 
revolution and/or military victory over the 
Japanese in Korea. I really cannot see that this 
would be the measurement of history and 
influences. A people also consists of not just 
the "working classes" but also of a middle class, 
of intellectuals, an upper class ... and the Yun 
bombing did influence them in various ways, and 
did influence how the Koreans in China were able 
to work with the Chinese. That does not count? 
And does it not count that -- as Jim Thomas 
pointed out -- that many Chinese scholars even 
today have that incident in the back of their 
mind when talking about Korean resistance during 
that period. However you evaluate or name such 
attacks (patriotic or terrorist brutality), 
influences are not just measured in terms of 
world revolution and freeing "working classes," I 


>Dear all,
>It looks very unfortunate to me that one very 
>principled and rather balanced contemporaneous 
>evaluation of Yun Pong'gil's act seemingly 
>evades the attention of the discussants here. I 
>am thinking about Pak HOnyOng, the then 
>Moscow-based Korean Communist leader, who, in 
>his July 1932 piece, "What the Shanghai Bombing 
>Incident Means?", gave a judgment of Yun's act 
>which still seems to be surprisingly 
>well-measured. He did not see it as "violence", 
>of course, since the actions of the Japanese 
>military were incomparably more violent; he even 
>mentioned that the "incident" was a "joyful 
>occasion", quite understandable impression from 
>the viewpoint of the citizens of an occupied 
>country. But he judged it to be not only of 
>little use in the course of working classes' 
>anti-imperialist struggle, but also directly 
>harmful, since it was inculcating the illusions 
>of individual struggle in the minds of the 
>people, essentially putting an obstacle on the 
>way of the more organized class resistance. He 
>also foresaw that Yun's act would be politically 
>used by the extreme right-wingers among the 
>China-based Korean emigres for their own 
>self-advancement. I am afraid that there is 
>little to add to this analysis even now - yes, 
>Yun's act was, of course, seen as legitimate by 
>the majority of politically conscious Chinese 
>and Koreans; but it hardly had any direct 
>relationship to the real-life struggles of the 
>majority of the colonized Korean population - 
>striking workers, tenants on dispute, striking 
>school pupils etc.

Frank Hoffmann

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