[KS] Who was Mr. Tscho Mago? (Berlin 1911)

Yong-Ho Choe choeyh at hawaii.edu
Wed Sep 9 19:36:22 EDT 2015

Yi Hang-u (李恒愚, also he spelled his name Victor Hung Nhee) should also be
considered as one of the earliest Korean students in England. Born in 1885
and having stayed in England more than a year, he moved to Hawaii in 1910
or 1911 to take the position of editorship of "新韓國報," an organ of the
Korean National Association in Hawaii. (See 韓國獨立運動史 資料 37: 421)

According to the Pacific Commericial Advertiser, dated 12/29/1911, "Nhee
was a highly educated man, not only in his native tongue but in English,
and had traveled extensively all over Europe and America and came here
burning with enthusiasm over the cause of his country against Japan, which
about that time had formally annexted Korea." Another  source indicates
that he had studied at Oxford, which I have not been able to confirm.

Sadly, he committed suicide near Waikiki over what he considered to be an
unfounded slanderous accusation. (The Pacific Commercial Advertiser's
article cited above is part of his obituary.) He was only 26 years old. As
the editor of "Sinhan kukpo," he was heavily involved in an attempt to
rescue Korean laborers sent to Mexico, as the Koreans in Hawaii had just
learned of extremely harsh conditions under which their fellow country men
were being treated in Mexico. Also, he was to be married within a few days
before his death.

Yong-ho Choe

On Mon, Sep 7, 2015 at 10:55 PM, Frank Hoffmann <hoffmann at koreanstudies.com>

> Hi again:
> One more question -- and just anything that comes to mind is much
> appreciated, including speculations and hints.
> USC's Korean American Digital Archive has a section "An Ch'ang-ho.
> Letters, 1909-1911," and in here are a couple of communications and
> other writings that are from Berlin or relate to An Ch'ang-ho's August
> 1911 stay in Berlin. Summer 1911 is when he returned to the US, after
> the Sinminhoe was disbanded by the colonial government and I think he
> got a jail sentence and was on the wanted list (don't quote me on
> that). So, he fled via Manchuria, Russia, Germany (Berlin), to then
> board a ship in London. It seems certain that An only stayed a few days
> in Berlin (August 20 to 24, 1911). Korean student there, the only one,
> had put him up in a very exclusive small pension that was specialized
> on English speaking guests. Anyway, among the USC docs is a letter by a
> German doctor dated July 29, 1911 -- and that is a time when An stayed
> still in St. Petersburg with other Sinminhoe members who were exiled
> there. That letter -- here is the top part of the first page ...
>   http://tinyurl.com/berlin1911
> ... is the doctor's referral to another specialist. The patient being
> referred is named
>   Mr. Tscho Mago
> and is described as a Korean in his early 30s on his way to the US via
> London (which would apply to An also) and on the second page as an
> affluent man. Now, apart from An Ch'ang-ho, there were two other
> Koreans traveling through Berlin at the very time An stayed there. One
> of them was Chang T'aek-sang whom I mentioned in my last posting, but
> he and his friend Ch'oe, both also having come via St. Petersburg, were
> only around 18 years old. So that description would not fit.
> I therefore wonder who that Mr. Tscho Mago was, and why would a letter
> and also a prescription dated a good 20 days before An's arrival in
> Berlin be in An Ch'ang-ho's or his family's possession?
> Anyone has the slightest idea?
> Best,
> Frank
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