Announcement – The Classical Chinese Poetry of Korean Independence Activists

Daehan Dokrip

One way to view Hangul supremacy and exclusivity is that it is an expression of insecurity about Koreans have about their identity as Koreans. There is an tendency among Koreans to try to distinguish themselves and their identity from their neighbors. Consequently, many Koreans, especially Hangul exclusivity advocates, go to great depths performing mental gymnastics to disparage and disassociate Hanja from Korean culture — and replace it with something newfangled to stand in as if it were “traditional.” However, this was not always the case. Previous generations of Koreans, proud of their Korean identity and patrimony, embraced the script.

In arguments concerning Hangul exclusivity with his Korean friends and colleagues, this blogger has found it helpful to show that many Korean independence activists, including household name ones such as Ahn Junggeun (安重根, 안중근, 1897-1910), Yun Bonggil (尹奉吉, 윤봉길,1908-1932), and Kim Gu (金九, 김구, 1876-1949), wrote Classical Chinese poetry. This tends to show that Hanja is not a “threat” to Korean identity, and most importantly not foreign, thereby neutralizing some of the skepticism concerning Hanja. It should be noted that unfortunately, while the blogger has found references stating that some of these Korean independence activists wrote Classical Chinese poetry, he has not been able to find the original text online.

  1. Great post! I have visited the Ahn Jung-geun Memorial museum in Namsan, Seoul. It was fascinating and insightful. There are some photographs on display that are unwittingly controversial — at least I thought it was interesting some of them depicted Ahn with fellow patriots who were in Qing Chinese attire. Wondering if you had insight into this visual? Many thanks. ^^

    • 歸源 said:

      I am not too sure. He was well liked by the Anti-Japanese Chinese activists from what I read. The Chinese Catholic clergy even held a requiem Mass for him, while Korean Catholic hierarchy effectively excommunicated him.

  2. jeff said:

    Anh wrote this Chinese poem where you can find at

    I went searching using his Hanja name. Hope you find it useful

    丈夫處世兮,其志大矣。 장부가 셰상에 쳐함이여 그 뜻이 크도다
    時造英雄兮,英雄造時。 때가 영웅을 지음이여 영웅이 때를 지으리로
    雄視天下兮,何日成業。 천하를 웅시함이여 어니 날에 업을 일울고
    東風漸寒兮,壯士義烈。 동풍이 졈드 차미여 쟝사에 의긔가 뜨겁도다
    憤慨一去兮,必成目的。 분개히 한 번 가미여 반다시 목젹을 이루리로다
    鼠竊伊藤兮,豈肯比命。 쥐도젹 이등이여 엇지 즐겨 목숨을 비길고
    豈度至此兮,事勢固然。 엇지 이에 이랄 쥴을 시아려스리요 사셰가 고여하도다
    同胞同胞兮,速成大業。 동포 동포여 속히 대업을 이룰지어다
    萬歲萬歲兮,大韓獨立。 만셰 만셰여 대한 독립이로다
    萬歲萬歲兮,大韓同胞。 만셰 만셰여 대한 동포로다

    • 歸源 said:

      That one is well known. There are plenty of others.

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