Kim Taekyeong – Upon Hearing Ahn Junggeun’s Feat of Repaying the Foe of the Nation

Kim Taekyeong Letter

Kim Taek’yeong (金澤榮, 김택영, 1850-1927) was a late Chosun dynasty literati bureaucrat and later a Korean independence activist, albeit not as well known as the others in this series of translations. He was of the Hwagae Kim Clan (花開金氏, 화개김씨); his courtesy name (字, 자) was Urim (雨林, 우림); and his pen name was Changgang (滄江, 창강). He passed the civil examinations at a fairly late age in 1891 and advanced up the civil service ranks. After despairing over the Japanese Protectorate Treaty of 1905 (乙巳條約, 을사조약), in 1908 Kim Taek’yeong decided to flee to China and resided in Nantong (南通, 남통, Namtong) in Jiangsu Province (江蘇省, 강소성, Gangso Seong). While in China, he became acquainted Chinese reformists such as Liang Qichao (梁啓超, 양계초, Yang Gyecho, 1873-1929) and Zhang Binglin (章炳麟, 장병린, Jang Byeongrin, 1868-1936). Kim Taek’yeong also wrote extensively on Korean Classical Chinese literature and on Korean history. He passed away in 1927 and is buried near Shanghai (上海, 상해, Sanghae). In the following poem, he expresses his joy upon hearing Ahn Junggeun’s assassination of Ito Hirobumi. Note that this event was widely celebrated among Korean independence activists and various Chinese groups, including the Nationalists and Communists.

聞安重根報國讐事 문안중근보국수사

Upon Hearing Ahn Junggeun’s Feat of Repaying the Foe of the Nation

平安壯士目雙張 평안장사목쌍장
快殺邦讐似殺羊 쾌살방수사살양
未死得聞消息好 미사득문소식호
狂歌亂舞菊花傍 광가란무국화방

The grand hero of Pyeong’an (平安, 평안) glared with his two eyes,
Gratifyingly slaying the nation’s foe, like the slaying of a lamb.
He has not yet died, I have heard; this news is good.
Crazily I sing and dizzily I dance next to chrysanthemum flowers.

Definitions:

Peace • tranquil • splendid • man • eyes • pair • to extend
Gratifyingly • to kill • country • foe • like • to kill • lamb
Not yet • to die • to obtain • to hear • news • to be good
Crazily • to sing • dizzily • to dance • chrysanthemum • flower • adjacent

Notes:

  • 平安(평안) – Pyeong’an is a province in northeastern Korea. Although Ahn Junggeun was born in Hwanghae Province (黃海道, 황해도), he did work in Pyongyang before joining the Korean Independence Movement.
  • For more Classical Chinese poems written by Korean and Chinese authors in praise of Ahn Junggeun’s assassination of Ito Hirobumi, there is a collection on this website (in Korean).
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