Korean independence outbreak beginning March 1st 1919

([S.l. :  s.n.,  1920?])

Tools


 

Jump to page:

Table of Contents

  Page E14  



S14
'—-(JProar Sha)» •Jii&i--0»2ette
April £ch,1919)

"INTERVIEW WITH THE CIVIL GOV .MIOE OF KOHS,."
3y our- Special Correspondent

Seoul, Korea, MSrch 25th.

With the view to securing an official statement and view of what is
happening in Korea at the present time, I presented the letter of intro-^
duction with v*iich I had been furlifiahed in Peking to the foreign office
to day. I was received very courteously by Mr. Saburo Klsamidzu, chelf
of the Forwign Affairs Bureau, and after talking to him for some tims a
messenger oame in and in formed me that His EKCollency, Mr. Yamagata,
the Civil ,3ovemor, would be pleased to see me, but that as he was
leaving for Tokio on the morrov; he was only able to give me but a short
interview. After the customary introduction I told His Excellency that
while I had oome to Korea principally for my health it waa also my in¬
tention to learn as much ae possible the present movement of the Koreans
for Independence, and that it was my Intention to travel through Korea
for that purpose, I told him also that I had come aa a neutral observer,
and that I was anxious to obtain as far as my capablities would allow
a fair and honest account of the present demonstration^, their cause,
etc., and asked him, aa far as his liaited time would allow, to give me
his owa views on the subject.

His JExcellency said that if I v/ent into the country at tho preatent
time it would be impossible for me to obtain a true idea of -the work
that Japan had carried out in Korea during the past eight years on aoc-

o-unt of the disturbed state of the country.  He explained that the
Government, against groat opposition, had attempted to carry out reforms
covering a large field of operations. He also explained the conserva¬
tism that had to be overcome, and as an Instance explained the old methods
of the Korean farmers in clearing land cultivating the same for various
crops. The attempt of the Japanese Government to persuade the farmers
to use better seeds for the grov/ing of rice and other grains was me-t
at first with strong opposition, the Koreans maintaining that this was
an attempt to interfere with their domestic affairs. Although today the
majority of them had discovered that it was to their advantage to use
the seeds procured fwr them by the government, still in many of the jr-e-
mote oo-untiy districts there were many farmers Y/ho persisted in using
their own seeds and cultivating the land in the old fashioned manner.

He also pointed out that the schemes for the improvement of the land
were too numerous to be discussed at this presant moment on account of
the limited time available for the interview, but in every walk of life
the Koresuis were in a far better condition than they had ever been be¬
fore was evident to any one who cared to go through the country, even
$0 ;^e most remote villages.

Concerning the present demonstrations by the Koreans, His Excellency
made a very Important statement. He said it v/as started by the society
or organisation knovm as the Chundokyo (Heavenly Ways Religion), that
they had been followed by the christians, the 3uddhhftts and others.
Ihe movement, he stated, waa practically under the control o-i~ the people
in the large tovms who had beoa given the advantage of a good education
in schools established by the Japanese since they first took ovee the
cotintry, and that it viaa in the main supported by the younger members
of the population. He went on to explain that he was extremely sorry
for the innocent people in the interior who he knew were entirely l^o-
rant of the cause of the demonstration and like sheep were following the
lead of others. He asked how was it possible for the people of their
type to know anything about Racial Self-Determination.
  Page E14