At KORE, we draw inspiration from Korean culture and history to create designs that honor these impactful moments in our past. One of these moments is the March 1st Movement and the fight for Korea’s independence from Japan. The champions of this fight are known as Korea’s Freedom Fighters, as they kept the hope for a free Korea alive. We honored some of the most well-known figures in our Freedom Fighters design - available in a crewneck and tees from our FW ‘21 collection. But who are the names of those faces in our design?
Curious about the March 1st Movement? Learn more about it in our blog:
Yu Gwansun (1902-1920) was a patriot who joined the March 1st Movement while she was still only a high school student. She participated in peaceful rallies alongside other protesters in Seoul on March 1 and 5, 1919, and then helped to organize a rally in her hometown a few weeks later. Soon after, she was arrested by the Japanese military police for her actions and given a three-year sentence in prison. Yu later passed away at the age of 17 from injuries she received from being tortured. Though Yu was active in the independence movement for only 21 months, her name continues to inspire strength and pride in Koreans even today.
Ahn Jung-geun (1879-1910) was an activist who assassinated Itō Hirobumi, the Japanese official who had been appointed as Japan's first Resident-General of Korea in 1905 - when the country was held under Japanese jurisdiction but not formally annexed. Before doing so, he cut off his ring finger alongside eleven other activists, signifying a pledge to assassinate someone. With his own blood, he wrote “대한독립”, which means “Korean independence.” Ahn was later arrested for his actions, held in Japanese prison, and executed the following year. Though his act of shooting Ito Hirobumi did not immediately impact Japan's upcoming annexation of Korea, Ahn's act of patriotism served as a source of inspiration to the loyalists and independence fighters throughout the Japanese occupation.
Learn more about the March 1st Movement in our blog:
Yun Bong-gil (1908-1932) was a Korean independence activist who began fostering hope for independence in his hometown by educating people from rural communities about the issues they faced. He is most well-known for setting off a bomb that killed several Japanese dignitaries in Shanghai's Hongkew Park in 1932. In a letter he left behind in Korea before this incident, he stated to the Korean Patriotic Corps that his motivations were to “redeem the independence and freedom of our country.”
Ahn Chang-ho (1878-1938) was a Korean independence activist and one of the early leaders of the Korean-American immigrant community in the United States. Ahn Chang-ho is widely considered to be one of the key moral and philosophical leaders of Korea during this time. Before and during the Japanese occupation of Korea, Ahn called for the moral and spiritual renewal of the Korean people; and highlighted education as one of the important components in their struggle for independence.
Below is a photo of Ahn Chang-ho taken in prison in 1937. He was later released to Seoul National Hospital in December due to failing health; as authorities feared that if Ahn died in prison, it would inspire further patriotic acts of rebellion.
Ahn Chang-ho was known for his work as a Korean independence activist. Learn more about Ahn and other influential Korean figures in our blog:
Happy Korean-American Day!
In 2016, we at KORE, inspired by Ahn Chang-ho's life, decided to memorialize him by collaborating with artist Joseph Lee and Philip Ahn Cuddy - Ahn Chang-ho's grandson - to create a mural in Koreatown.
Kim Gu (1876-1949) was a Korean statesman, politician, and a prominent leader, who dedicated his life to lifting up and freeing his home country. Kim’s activist work spanned from before Korea had been formally annexed by Japan to after the country had secured its independence; culminating in his becoming the sixth, ninth, and last President of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea. To this day, Kim’s desire for a beautiful and independent Korea is remembered thanks to the famous ending passage in his biography, “If God asked me what my wish was, I would reply unhesitatingly, ‘Korean independence…’ My fellow brethren. This is my only wish. I have lived seventy years of my life for this wish, am living my life for this wish, and will live my life only to fulfill this wish.”