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Korean People’s Awareness of Japan’s Aggression

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  • hwangseong shinmun

Hwangseong Shinmun

"Ugyeonggo (Warning Again)," Hwangseong Shinmun (October 3, 1904)


“Ugyeonggo (Warning Again)”
Alas, though Korea was nominally a vassal state situated on the periphery of China for 500 years since the foundation of Joseon by King Taejo and its kings had to be officially ratified by the Chinese Emperor, all it had to do was pay tribute on a few holidays each year. Korea handled its domestic and foreign affairs on its own, and there was no harmful effect of China’s interference at all. As such, Korea was a vassal state only in name, and in reality, it was an independent state. In the 503rd year of Joseon’s foundation (1895), Korea freed itself from vassalage as a result of the First Sino-Japanese War and clearly became a completely independent state. It exchanged envoys with other nations around the world and officially recognized equal bilateral rights, greatly boosting the nation’s glory and honor.
If we the Koreans are to fully implement our independence, resolve our chronic ills, and gradually move toward enlightenment to fully shore up the foundation of independence, we would be more than able to make our country rich and powerful despite being a small country stretching a mere 3,000li (1,178km) and easily stand shoulder to shoulder with other powers. Then, in the future, we would be able to exercise prime influence over Japan, rather than worrying about its aggression against us.
To date, Korea has been independent only for about a decade, and the Japanese have openly mentioned the word “protection” [in the context of Korea being under its protection] in many media outlets and proclaimed such to many nations. It is not only in its words, but as proven by its recent actions, that Japan is interfering with Korea’s rights in domestic and foreign affairs. As a result, Korea’s independence is so damaged that it is virtually gone. Korea is only independent in name; in reality, it is a de facto vassal state. Even being a protectorate would be better. Its humiliation and disgrace as a state could not be greater.
Alas, according to an article I recently saw in a Japanese newspaper, even slaves in other nations say that they are as ashamed as the ministers of the Korean government. How have we come to suffer such an insult from foreigners? Is there any official who laments deeply for the Korean people to the point of coughing up blood and aching in the bones? Rather, despite the current situation, they (the ministers of the Korean government) are still involved in factional strife competing for power. Alas, if this is the way they are, will they end up being “mistresses (collaborators)” of a vassal state? Then, how will they face the late monarchs in the otherworld, and how will they face 20 million Korean people?

〔Original Text〕

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