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An Independent Activist’s Self-Description during the Japanese Rule : With a focus on Jang Ji-rak’s “Guangzhou memories” in Arirang

Eunkyung Cho 1

1독립기념관

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This study set out to examine the characteristics and strategies of Jang Ji-rak’s self-description based on Arirang published on the basis of his oral statements as an independent activist in Yan’an, China in the summer of 1937. This Arirang mentions Jang’s experiences as he joined the Guangzhou Uprising and Hailufeng Soviet activities during his stay in Guangzhou, China in 1925∼1927. Compared with other records, it offers descriptions about the situation of the Korean community in Guangzhou in the middle 1920s and Jang’s unique “Guangzhou memories” of Guangzhou Uprising. Arirang offers some information about the Korean community of Guangzhou in the middle 1920s, recording that 800 Koreans gathered in Guangzhou to participate in the Chinese Revolution until 1927, that these Koreans had something to do mainly with communism, and that a group called K.K. was formed around Korean communists. Other records, however, estimate that 300∼400 Koreans, which were half the estimation of Arirang, gathered in Guangzhou to enroll in Huangpu Military Academy, thus having differences from Arirang. While Arirang mainly mentions Jang's experiences with Guangzhou Uprising, its descriptions do not cover the Koreans at the Saha battle and the sacrifice of 150 Koreans under Teukmuyeong at Huangpu Military Academy led by Choi Yong-geon during the withdrawal of the uprising combatants, as well as the roles of Kim Seong-suk during Guangzhou Uprising. Unlike other records, Arirang offers Jang’s unique “Guangzhou memories” because of his “self-description strategy” of some sort reproduced in the oral statement process. Jang, however, made it sure that Arirang contains even his mistakes and limitations in Guangzhou, which suggests that he wrote Arirang as a “lesson” from his experiences after he decided to move to Manchuria during the oral statement rather than a means of simply “showing off” his achievements or “restoring his place at the party register.” Despite its essential nature as a “collection of Jang’s unique memories,” Arirang established itself as part of the “mainstream” memories of Korean people’s Independence Movement in Guangzhou in the 1920s in the Korean society after its liberation. It was not an outcome of Jang’s strategy, but an “unexpected result” of “silence” among other participants that experienced Guangzhou in the prevalent anti-communist atmosphere of Korean society after its liberation.

Citation status

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