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Jul.29,1964 - Abductees and their families(7)
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2014-01-02 15:46:24  |  Hit 6764

Abductees and their families (7)
Those who wait, those who never came back
IlgwangMyeong Je-se
P.4, Chosun Daily, Jul. 29, 1964

There is a half-built, tile-roofed house under the shade of an old pine tree next to a stream in Suyu-dong 507, near Baegun-dae Mountain. In front of the house there is a boy with a beard drawn on his face with ink. He has a mirror in his hand, and he is looking into the faraway northern sky. Next to the stone on which he sits is a picture of an old bearded man who looks just like the boy. Even though the boy has a beard on his face, no one in town calls him troublesome.
○...The boy’s name is Myeong Jang-seong (15, senior at Daegwang Middle School). Whenever he thinks of his father (IlgwangMyeong Je-se, 80), whom he has never seen and only knows though his mother’s stories, he sits on the stone in front of his house. He sits there, looks at his father’s picture, and draws a beard on his face.
Fourteen years ago, when Ilgwang's youngest son Jang-seong was only six months old, the Korean War broke out. 15 days later, on July 9, Ilgwang was abducted. Jang-seongcannot remember his father’s face or voice, but whenever he misses his legendary father, he asks his mother (Hong Jong-im, 54) to tell him a story, and mimics his father.
○...The story that his mother told- Ilgwang participated in the Independence Movement from 1909. He was a well-known patriot, and he took asylum in South and North Manchuria and Siberia. He was famous for his strong will. In Tianjin, he organized the Bulbyeondan (anti-Japanese independent group), and came back to Korea in the year that the 1919 Independence Movement took place. In 1921, he was jailed at SeodaemunPrison for 5 years for being an activist of the Independence Movement. When Korea was liberated, he took part in the Preparatory Committee for National Construction, and was the Vice Chairman of Gukmin Party. He was made Chairman of the Board of Audit and Inspection (Simgyewon) for his integrity and strong will.
When he was abducted from Capitol Room 31 inHyoja-dong by three armed men; his son, Jang-seo, was in his lap. After the Korean War broke out, Ilgwang went to Cheongunjang to find the late Lee Si-young and ask him to flee with him. But Lee said, “My people are suffering. How could I save myself?” He said that he would not flee, but would die with his people. So Ilgwang also said, “I will stay with Seongje,” and stayed in Seoul.
As the red flag was hoisted at the Capitol building on June 23rd, he went to Cheongunjang and Jeogyo-dong (Lee’s house) to find Lee, but he had already left for the south. Ilgwang wrote a desk diary until the day he was abducted. It shows how things were during those days.

On the 9th, the next day, when he was speaking with ImSeung-yeol, also a worker from the Board of Audit and Inspection, in his living room, Communist soldiers barged into his house with guns. They were surprised that he was home; saying, “You have to come with us,”they took him away. He was wearing clothes made of ramie with no shoes on. That was the last time his wife, Mrs. Myeong, saw him. She had tears in her wrinkled eyes as she told the story.

○...Afterwards, the only news of Ilgwang was from GyeGwang-sun and Jin Seung-rok, who were taken to Pyongyang but returned. They said that he had been imprisoned in Pyongyang until September 15th. Four years ago, Mrs. Myeong saw a letter sent from Pyongyang to Japan and then to Korea,which Lee Hwal was said to have received from Ilgwang, but it was not his writing.
○...The Myeong family had gone to Jeju Island during the Retreat on January 4. After much hardship, the family bought a house worth 80,000 won near a stream under Baegundae Mountain, though it was only half-built because they did not have enough money.Ilgwang’s 4 children, Dae-seong (31, works at Everett Steamship), Hae-seong (24, works at Hevru Infant Home), Geum-seong (18, 1st grade at Jeongshin Women’s High School), and the youngest, Jang-seong, were only children when Ilgwang was abducted. Now, they have grown up. Mrs. Hong thought she would die without her husband, but like the old saying, “One is born with enough food to eat,” she is still strong.

○...Ilgwang left many anecdotes. He was the eldest son of a wealthy local family in Yeongbyeon. When he was four years old, he was scolded for eating food set aside for a memorial ceremony. However, Ilgwang asked, “Are the dead important, or the living?” and his grandfather answered, “Of course, the living are more important.” Then, Ilgwang said, “So it is okay for me, who is alive, to eat this, right?”Thus he persuaded his grandfather when he was but a boy. Also, he was a very mischievous boy. He led a movement against superstition, and whenever he saw a statue of a house guardian deity, he would smash it. When he organized Bulbyeondanfor thepurposeof liberating the country, he cut his wrist and mixed blood with his comrades. They all drank the blood and yelled, “Never change!” He lamented Korea’s lagging industry and created both the Society for the Promotion of Korean Production and Society for the Promotion of Domestic Production. He never even glanced at objects made in Japan. He always wore a hanbok (traditional Korean clothing) and a long beard, so that anyone could spot him even from a distance. These stories were told to Jang-seong by many different people.
However, Mrs. Myeong sadly says that the best years were when they lived as slash-and-burn farmers in Pyongyang for 10 years. She reminisces about the old days when she was loved.

<Picture: Mrs. Myeong telling her son, Jang-seong, and daughter, Geum-seong, about how their father was a legendary fighter for national independence and a patriot.>

<IlgwangMyeong Je-se’s Profile>
▲1885= Born in Yeongbyeon, North Pyeongan Province ▲ Graduated from Vladivostok Foreign Language School ▲1908= Participated in political movements in China ▲1919= Came back to Korea during the Independence Movement ▲Went back to China and became the Head of Bulbyeondan ▲1921= Secretly came back to Korea, but was caught by Japanese policemen ▲1924= Released from jail ▲After the liberation, took part in the Preparatory Committee for National Construction, served as Vice Chairman of the Gukmin Party, a Central Executive member of the Korea Independence Party, and one of the executive members of the National Society for the Rapid Realization of Korean Independence ▲September, 1948= Chairman of the Board of Audit and Inspection ▲December, 1948= Left the Korea Independence Party ▲1949= Became Supreme Advisor of the National Society for the Rapid Realization of Korean Independence
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