The March First Movement is a big moment in history for Korea. Korea is currently a flourishing country with influencers, singers, and of course, the food. These wonderful things are known today because of this movement. Without this event, Korea might not be the beautiful place it is today. It could still be controlled by Japan and Korean might not even be a language that is spoken. Because of this march, Korea found its freedom again without the forced labor or discrimination of the Japanese. The March First Movement was a mixture of sorrow, loss, and victory. Many lives were lost but its goal of regaining their freedom was achieved. This year is the 100th anniversary of this march and many events are taking place in honor of all the people who were a part of this and the victory that was gained.
Way before BTS and other influencers, was an event that occured in the early 1900s. It was a time when Korea was under the rule of Japan and there was discrimination, mistreatment, and forced labor by the Japanese. There were many speeches and crowds of people shouting for their freedom, but one particular event stood out from the others. A young girl named Yu Gwan-Sun, who was only 18 at the time, had been a lead organizer of one of the biggest moments of Korean history and she had thousands of people gather and start a rally through the streets. Together, they fought for their rights.
Although the outcome was positive, many people were massacred by the Japanese police force and army. About 46,000 people had been arrested, about 7,000 were killed, and about 16,000 were wounded. Yu Gwan-Sun had been one of them. Although she was brought to jail, that did not stop her from supporting the movement and as a result she was severely punished and tortured by the Japanese officers. Yu Gwan-Sun had passed away during her time in jail from injuries she sustained from torture and beatings. Yu Gwan-Sun and all of our ancestors had the courage of sacrificing their lives for the freedom Korea has today, and because of them we are able to spread the Korean culture with songs and food that spreads to other ethnicities as well.
Our Korean culture has spread throughout the world so much since the March First Movement. Other races try and learn Korean to sing along to songs and they love the food. Even a couple years ago, people did not like Korean food because it had a very strong scent that came with it. Now, the smell is like heaven to their noses and they would love to even just have rice with kimchi. Now, there are so many Korean restaurants and shops that little by little, help spread our culture and it attracts people from other cultures as well.
The 100th anniversary of the March First movement is a big celebration for Korea for it marks the day a movement was formed to regain the rights and freedom for the Korean People. To honor everyone that had been a part of this movement, there was a parade along the streets of Wilshire and Normandie on March 2nd.
It was like recreating the march, but with performances and other festivities. I was also a part of this parade and many came to join as we helped honor the people and walked to show everyone how our ancestors regained their freedom and helped make Korea the country we know today.
Joanne Son, Grade 8
St. Brendan School