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