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ISSN : 2384-0668(Print)
ISSN : 2384-0692(Online)
S/N Korean Humanities Vol.5 No.1 pp.47-56

Historical Meaning of the March First Movement and the Korean National Representatives

Kang Seong Eun
Korean University of Japan
December 20, 2018 February 1, 2019 March 1, 2019


The independence movement during the Japanese Military Rule during 1910s was definitively not occlusive. Movements toward Korean independence continued both within and outside the peninsula during this period, and the energy of resistance was continually accumulating. Because of capabilities for autonomy, the March First Movement could respond more efficiently to international context after the end of World War I. Compared to the May Fourth Movement of China or the Rice Riots of Japan, the March First Movement was peculiar in that it was a relatively large-scale, pan-Korean independence movement. The experience of the March First Movement for the Korean people served as the fundamental matrix of subsequent independence movements and as part and parcel of their ethno-national, historical memory, was transported through liberation from Japan’s colonial rule down to today’s unification movement. Analysis of the specific plans for independence movements and the actual activities of the Korean national representatives vis-à-vis records of examination from the police, prosecution, and each level of the judicial court as well as pilot studies demonstrates that at the outset, the plans for the movement did not envisage pan-Korean demonstrations or coalition with students. The limitations of the independence movements by the national representatives were in fact overcome by the actual conduct of the masses that began at T’apgol Park on March 1, 1919.