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Hanseongsinbo’s Perceptions of Civil Rights Movements in Korea

  • The Review of Korean History
  • 2017, (126), pp.315-350
  • Publisher : The Historical Society Of Korea
  • Research Area : Humanities > History

Kim Jong Jun 1

1청주교육대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Hanseongsinbo was a government source-based newspaper published in the capital of Korea by Japanese Ronins in 1895. The newspaper had its own opinions about the political reality and force of Korea and was active to express its opinions for some cases. There is no saying that it was a neutral and objective observer in such cases. It reflected the Japanese people’s prejudices and showed a clear political bias, trying not to deviate from the diplomatic policy framework of Japan because it was funded by the Japanese government. There is, however, a need to focus on the fact that the newspaper took the enlightened intellectuals of Korea as the objects of its speech. It secured its legitimacy by interpreting the political reality of Korea based on the experiences with the civil rights movement of Japan, thus trying to influence the enlightened intellectuals of Korea in the process. It can be observed in its perceptions of relations between the royal power and the civil rights. The newspaper spoke highly of King Gojong’s achievements and, at the same time, kept the strengthening power of the king in check. It connected him to the disloyalty of corrupt subjects and further advised the Korean people to think about what true patriotism meant by pointing out that being loyal was different from being patriotic. Arguing that patriotic people could be raised to the status of citizens, it considered the Independence Club as the venue of such civic movements. When The Independent issued a negative article about the Japanese people, it would express how uncomfortable it felt about it. When the conflicts escalated between the Independence Club and the government of Daehan Empire, it found the significance of civil rights movements in excluding disloyal subjects and connecting the monarch directly to the people. Hanseongsinbo also showed huge interest in the activities of Ilchinhoe as there were people in conflicts over the concerned subject with the royal family, the government, and the ruling power. It was unique in that it observed Ilchinhoe in the aspects of civilization, reform, civil rights, regions, and social classes. It is also noteworthy that it maintained an unfavorable view of Ilchinhoe by reflecting the viewpoint of Japanese legation basically. It consistently reported the injustice of the government’s oppression based on a conspiracy theory. It saw Ilchinhoe as part of civil rights movement, which position was well revealed in its articles issued in late October, 1904. Paying special attention to its combination with Chinbohoe, it spoke highly of its efforts to protect and save the life and property of people. Interpreting its efforts as a symbol of civilization, the newspaper demanded that the government should rectify and improve its policies. The newspaper also raised a doubt about a conspiracy hidden in the process of challenges to the established order being considered as “trouble,” thus distinguishing itself from other Korean media those days.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.