Dokdo, the First Victim of Japan’s Aggression Against the Korean Peninsula
03. “Siilya Bangseong Daegok (I Wail Bitterly on This Day),” Hwangseong Shinmun (November 20, 1905)
“Siilya Bangseong Daegok (I Wail Bitterly on This Day),” Hwangseong Shinmun (November 20, 1905)
“Siilya Bangseong Daegok (I Wail Bitterly on This Day)”
When Marquis Ito* visited Korea previously, our foolish people collectively said that he took the responsibility upon himself and arranged things for the coexistence and peace of the three nations of the East (Korea, China, and Japan), and believing his visit this time must be to recommend ways to solidify Korea’s independence, the Koreans, both officials and people and both the upper and lower classes from the port to the capital, extended a hearty welcome to him.
How difficult it is to predict things under the sun! Beyond anyone’s expectation, where did the five conditions [of the Eulsa Restriction Treaty] come from? These conditions are not only [detrimental to] Korea but will also cause a schism among the three nations of the East. What was Marquis Ito’s intention from the beginning? Nevertheless, as the divine intention of our Emperor was firm and he kept refusing the proposal, Ito would have realized himself that the treaty could not be concluded. Alas, the so-called ministers of our government, who are worse than pigs or dogs, seeking honor and advantage and cowering before empty threats, only shook with fear out of their indecision. In the end, they willingly betrayed their nation and transferred to Japan territory which has belonged to Korea for 4,000 years and a dynasty that lasted for 500 years, and drove 20 million living souls into slavery. Foreign Minister Park Je-sun and other ministers, who are worse than pigs and dogs, are not even worthy of our reproach. But what about the so-called deputy prime minister, the chief of the cabinet? Was it his intention to shift the blame and save face by just indicating his opposition instead of putting up strong opposition?
I can neither tear up the surrender documents and wail as Kim Cheong-eum** did nor commit suicide by disembowelment as Jeong Dong-gye*** did. Instead, I impudently continue to live on and join the world again. How can I face the Emperor, who is ever unyielding, and how can I face my 20 million compatriots? Alas! My heart aches; Alas! I am so bitter. My 20 million slave compatriots, should we live or die? Will the spirit of the nation that has lasted 4,000 years since the days of Dangun and Gija**** suddenly perish and expire overnight? It hurts and hurts. My fellow-countrymen, my fellow-countrymen.
* Hirobumi Ito: Prime Minister of Japan several times and the first resident-general of Korea
** Kim Sang-heon (1570~1652) expressed opposition to surrender to the invading Qing during the Manchu war of 1636 by tearing apart the surrender documents and weeping bitterly. Cheong-eum was his pen name.
*** Jeong On (1569~1641) tried to commit suicide by disembowelment to express opposition to the surrender. Dong-gye was his pen name.
**** Legendary progenitors of Korea