By Lee Jong-hwan
Seoul, June 28 (World Korean News)= "We moved back to Ban-seok county's house. We moved five times a year. Then there was nothing stored as furniture or objects. The new house had eight rooms and was very sloppy. One day, five guests came to my house. One had several names as Lee Cheongcheon, but after Japan's defeat, it was changed to its original name, Ji Cheongcheon. And Kang Jae Shin-sook, Mong Ho Hwang Hak-soo, and Cheol Ki Lee Beom-seok also came. I don't remember the other one's name. These people came to our shabby house and stayed for two nights. There was nothing to eat at home even though it was cold in February."
This is from the book "I Still Hear the Wind of Manchuria" (Oral Heo Eun, Record Byun Chang-ae). It was at Imcheonggak in Andong, where I encountered the book.
Imcheonggak is the birthplace of Seokju Lee Sang-ryong, who served as the first Prime Minister of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea in Shanghai. When I visited his birthplace, I found this book on the wooden floor, along with the books of Seokju Lee Sang-ryong, and Donggu Lee Jun-hyung, the eldest son of Seokju. These books were for sale for visitors to Imcheonggak.
Heo Eun, who dictated "I Still Hear the Wind of Manchuria" is the granddaughter-in-law of Seokju Lee Sang-ryong and Lee Joon-hyung's daughter-in-law. She was born at the end of the Joseon Dynasty, and married into a famous noble family, Goseong Lee's in Andong. However, Heo Eun's life was most sharply exposed to the ups and downs of Korea's modern and contemporary history.
"The new bride's marriage began in Hwajeon County, China, unfamiliar and muddled. On the first day, I went into the kitchen and tried to prepare food, but I couldn't find soy sauce. There was no firewood, no food in the kitchen. No soy sauce or soybean paste was the same as in my home. The salt was precious because it was deep inland. At that time, Seokju was leading the korean military government. Every month, rice was given as a family allowance, but it was always lacking."
She recalls the death of Seokju Lee Sang-ryong.
"Seokju didn't let me bring porridge even though his condition was getting worse. Drinking only cold water for a few days, he said, "Water is the best medicine." He died on May 12, 1932. In the fall of the previous year, he heard that his acquaintances, Yeo Si-dang and Lee Jang-nyeong, were shot, and he was heartbroken and sick. He died after being ill for eight months. He said, 'you shouldn't carry my skeleton home until we recover our land. Bury it here and wait.' Fifty-eight years later, his ashes were returned to the fatherland with the government's efforts, but his nationality was not restored."
This dictation was made in 1995. The remains of Seokju in Manchuria returned to Korea in September 1990. 62 patriots, who had remained unregistered due to their rejection of Japanese citizenship, recovered their citizenship by implementing the "Act on the Honorable Treatment of Persons of Distinguished Service for Independence." Lee Sang-ryong was also included among the 62 members.
The World Korean News visited Andong with the Northeast Asian Community Research Foundation (Chairman Lee Seung-ryul) on November 10th and 11th. The name of the event was "A tour of the history and culture of Yeongju, Andong, which re-evaluates the historical spirit of Lee Sang-ryong."
The event consisted of a visit to Imcheonggak and an academic symposium. 150 people from Seoul, Daegu, and Busan, including Kim Jung-nam, Yoo Joo-yeol, Lee Seung-ryul, and Kim Hee-gon, participated in the event.
In Seoul, we took two chartered buses to Andong on Nov. 10. It was around noon when we reached Imcheonggak in Andong. Lee Hang-jeung, the great-grandson of Seokju Lee Sang-ryong, was waiting at Imcheonggak. The deputy mayor of Andong City also came out to encourage people from all over the country.
A railroad was crossing in front of Imcheonggak. It is said that the Japanese hated Seokju, who left the independence movement, and laid the railroad in the middle of the house of Seokju, which reached 99 rooms. Work is now underway to remove the railroad tracks and restore the house.
** (This translation was sponsored by Dokko Youngsik, the president of the Midwest Korean American Association.)