Korean Patriotic Organization

Korean Patriotic Organization (Korean한인애국단; Hanja韓人愛國團; RRHaninaegukdan), also known as Korean Patriotic Corps or Korean Patriotic Legion, was a secret organization that aimed to assassinate prominent Japanese figures of the Empire of Japan. It was one of the independence movements propelled by the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea. The Korean Patriotic Organization was founded by Kim Gu, president of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea. Its executives were Kim Suk, Ahn Gong-geun, Lee Su-bong, and Lee Yu-pil. Notable members included Yoo Sang-geun, Yoo Jin-man, Yun Bong-gil, Lee Bong-chang, Lee Duk-ju, and Choi Heung-sik.

State Council Commemorative of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea, 1919


Office of Kim Gu in the Provisional Government of Republic of Korea, Shanghai

On September 18, 1931, the Empire of Japan staged the Liutiaohu incident (bombing of the Manchu railroad) and Mukden Incident. The Chinese people's anti-Japanese fervor proliferated because of these incidents.[1] To promote Korea–China relations and to revitalize the depressed independence movement, the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea founded a secret organization which would carry out covert missions to assassinate key Japanese figures. That task was entrusted to Kim Gu.[2]

Kim Gu organized the Korean Patriotic Organization with about 80 members, mostly patriotic Korean youngsters. The organization was based in Shanghai, China. Leaders included Kim Suk, Ahn Gong-geun, Lee Su-bong, and Lee Yu-pil; other notable members were Yoo Sang-geun, Yoo Jin-man, Yun Bong-gil, Lee Bong-chang, Lee Duk-ju, and Choi Heung-sik.[2] The Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea hope to shock and halt Japan's aggression with assassinations.[1]

Sakuradamon IncidentEdit

Lee Bong-chang under arrest

In late 1931, Kim Gu sent Lee Bong-chang to Tokyo to assassinate the Japanese Emperor Hirohito (昭和天皇). Bong-chang arrived in Tokyo in early January 1932. On January 8, Hirohito was exiting the Imperial Palace grounds, for a military review in a Tokyo suburb with Puyi, Emperor of Manchukuo. In front of the Sakuradamon Gate, Bong-chang threw a hand grenade that detonated away from Hirohito, killing some carriage horses. Bong-chang pulled out the Taegukgi (the national flag of South Korea) and shouted, "Daehan Dokrip Manse" (Korean대한독립만세; Hanja大韓獨立萬歲, Long Live Korean Independence) three times. He was immediately arrested by police.[1] Lee Bong-chang did not respond to any question by the police and was sentenced to death in a closed trial on September 30. He was executed in Ichigaya Prison on October 10.[3]

This incident fueled the anti-Japanese independence movement. Kuomintang of China spotlighted this incident in its official organ, Kukmin Ilbo (Korean, 국민일보). At the same time, this and similar incidents led to Japan taking action in the form of the Shanghai War of 1932.[4]

Hongkou Park IncidentEdit

(Korean윤봉길 의거; Hanja尹奉吉 義擧, 1932), by Yun Bong-gil)

Museum of Yun Bong-gil

On April 29, 1932, Yun Bong-gil carried out an attack using a bomb disguised as a water bottle (widely misconceived as a narrow lunch box). Yun Bong-gil carried two bombs to Shanghai, one being the water bottle and the other being the lunch box. The water bottle was used to kill the target while the lunch box was intended to be used to kill himself after the assassination, but failed to detonate. He intended to use the bombs at a Japanese Army celebration of Hirohito's birthday in Hongkou Park, Shanghai.[5]

The bombing killed Yoshinori Shirakawa (白川 義則), a general of the Imperial Japanese Army, and Kawabata Sadaji (河端 貞次), a Government Chancellor of Japanese residents in Shanghai. It also seriously injured Kenkichi Ueda (植田 謙吉), Division 9 commander of the Imperial Army, Kuramatsu Murai (村井倉松), Japanese Consul-General in Shanghai, and Mamoru Shigemitsu (重光 葵), Japanese envoy in Shanghai, and Kichisaburo Nomura (野村 吉三郎), admiral in the Imperial Navy who would later serve as the ambassador to the United States at the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Upon learning of the incident, Chiang Kai-shek, Chinese political and military leader who served as the leader of the Republic of China, highly praised it: "A million Chinese armies didn't make it, but one Korean did it".[5]

Yun Bong-gil was arrested at the scene and convicted by the Japanese military court in Shanghai on May 25. He was transferred to Osaka prison on November 18, and executed in Kanazawa on December 18. He was buried in the Nodayama graveyard.[4]

Later historyEdit

Other activities of the Korean Patriotic Organization included :

The Korean Patriotic Organization has been identified as being responsible for the assassination attempts.[8] Following this, Japanese police authorities rushed to arrest key figures of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea by threatening the Shanghai French Concession. Many Korean activists sought refuge in Hangzhou and Jiaxing, through not all made it; among those arrested was Ahn Changho.[clarification needed] The Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea eventually relocated to Hangzhou. Later it moved to Zhenjiang in 1935, and Nanjing in 1936. During that time, the activities of the Korean Patriotic Organization diminished.[11]

List of membersEdit

Members of the Korean Patriotic Organization included :[2]





Influenced by the activities of the Korean Patriotic Organization, both Korea's anti-Japanese independence movement and China's anti-Japanese actions intensified.[12] During the time that the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea was active within Chinese territory, Kuomintang of China increased its support for this government after the Sakuradamon Incident and the Hongkou Park Incident.[13] Eventually, the Korean Liberation Army was established.[13]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c "Naver, Good morning Media : Korean Patriotic Organization (한인애국단)".
  2. ^ a b c "Doopedia(두산백과) : Korean Patriotic Organization (한인애국단)".
  3. ^ "Encyclopedia of Korean Culture (한국근현대사사전) : Sakuradamon Incident (이봉창 의거)".
  4. ^ a b "The Academy of Korean Studies (한국학중앙연구원) : Hongkou Park Incident (훙커우공원의거; "Kukmin" means "nation people")".
  5. ^ a b "Doopdeia (두산백과) : Hongkou Park Incident (훙커우공원의거)".
  6. ^ "Doopedia (두산백과) : Lee Duk-ju (이덕주)".
  7. ^ "Doopdeia (두산백과) : Yoo Jin-man (유진만)".
  8. ^ a b c "The Academy of Korean Studies (한국학중앙연구원) : Korean Patriotic Organization (한인애국단)".
  9. ^ "Doopdeia (두산백과) : Yoo Sang-geun (유상근)".
  10. ^ "Doopdeia (두산백과) : Choi Heung-sik (최흥식)".
  11. ^ "History of Korea Independence activities (한국독립운동사) : Korea Patriotic Organization, saved Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea (한인애국단, 임시정부를 구하다)".
  12. ^ "Naver (통합논술 개념어 사전) : Heroic Corps and Korean Patriotic Organization (의열단과 한인애국단)".
  13. ^ a b "Naver (시사상식사전) : Yun Bong-gil (윤봉길)".