For Korea’s Independence and National Liberation
Born on July 10 1894 in Mangyongdae, Kim Hyong Jik devoted his all throughout his life to the country’s independence and the emancipation of the Korean nation.
With a high ambition to liberate his country without fail from the Japanese military occupation (1905-1945) he studied the historical lessons of the anti-Japanese national liberation movement, which had been experiencing repeated failures, and advanced an idea of Jiwon, or Aim High, the idea that one should defeat the Japanese imperialists by building up one’s own strength so as to win back the lost country and set one’s aim high to that end.
He believed that the one and only way for the country’s independence and national prosperity was to achieve nationwide unity and set it an urgent task to form an organization which can rally all the patriotic forces as one around it. He organized the Korean National Association on March 23 1917, in Haktanggol in Pyongyang.
The KNA was an anti-Japanese underground revolutionary organization embracing the masses from all walks of life, and set it as its aim to liberate the country and establish a genuine civilized state through the united efforts of the Koreans themselves. Its affiliated organizations spread at home and abroad including China.
In the autumn of 1917 he was arrested by the Japanese imperialists and put in jail in Pyongyang prison, where he made an analysis of the historical lessons of the anti-Japanese national liberation movement of Korea.
He had come to the conclusion that the main force of the anti-Japanese patriotic forces was the proletarian masses who were thoroughgoing in their anti-imperialist class stand, and that a civilized state where the working masses can lead a happy life should be built by relying on the strength of the unpropertied class. After being released from the prison, he convened a meeting in the then Chongsudong in Uiju County, North Phyongan Province in July 1919, and proved the historical inevitability of the proletarian revolution. In August that year, he convened a meeting of district leaders and liaison agents of the KNA and leaders of independence movement organizations in Kuandian County, China, and clarified that only through the proletarian revolution can the Japanese imperialists be defeated, Korea liberated and a new society which champions the interests of the working masses built.
This meeting occasioned the development of the anti-Japanese national liberation movement from the nationalist movement to a proletarian revolution. Workers, peasants and other working masses, gradually awakened with advanced ideas, joined anti-Japanese organizations and armed units commanded by KNA members were organized, with the result that armed activities against the Japanese imperialists were conducted briskly in various parts of Korea.
Kim Hyong Jik also paid close attention to expanding and strengthening the mass basis of the independence movement by putting an end to the division of the anti-Japanese independence organizations, which had been engrossed in factional strife to expand the spheres of their influence causing conflicts and bloodshed, and by realizing their unity.
Under his leadership the Association for Promotion of Nationalist Organizations was formed (August 1925) in Fusong, China. As a result, independence movement organizations that had been working in isolation could launch a unified national liberation struggle, firmly rallied on the principle of national unity, and anti-Japanese struggle.
Regarding education as an important undertaking for the country’s independence and the future of the nation, he made sure that schools were built wherever he waged the revolutionary struggle, personally compiling teaching materials and teaching the sons and daughters of workers, peasants and other working people so as to bring them up into dependable pillars who would steadfastly carry on the revolution.
He made painstaking efforts to train his sons to be ardent patriots and great revolutionaries.
The valuable revolutionary heritage he bequeathed to his son Kim Il Sung was the idea of “Aim High,” preparedness for three contingencies (death from hunger, from a beating and from the cold), the idea of gaining comrades and two pistols.
Kim Hyong Jik died at the age of 32 from an illness caused by the enemy’s torture in prison and frostbite.
Cherishing as the creed of his life the last words left by his father that he must win back the lost country even if his bones were crushed and his body was torn to pieces, Kim Il Sung organized an armed unit and led the anti-Japanese revolutionary struggle to victory, thereby accomplishing the historic cause of national liberation in August 1945.
Decades have passed since then, but the immortal exploits performed by Kim Hyong Jik, the outstanding leader of the anti-Japanese national liberation movement in Korea will shine for ever in the hearts of the Korean people.