Kim Jin-Woo(1883.03.10.~1950.12.24.), Painter and Calligrapher
Kim Jin-Woo continued his independence movement with “pictures” and “writing” along with direct armed struggles.
In 1894, when he was 12 years old, he entered Uiam Yoo In-Seok, who started the anti-Japanese righteous army, and took him as a teacher and participated in righteous army activities in Manchuria and Primorsky Krai.
After returning to Seoul and running a calligraphy and painting studio in 1917, he helped the anti-Japanese movement by being invited to various people’s homes to paint and send the money he received to the independence movement.
Then, in March 1919, when the National Liberation Movement continued to take place, he painted the Nanjukhwa
Later, he was elected as a representative of Gangwon-do in the 6th session of the Provisional Assembly of the Republic of Korea and worked with independence activist Yeo Woon-Hyung. While serving as a member of the Provisional Government, he sponsored the funds he received for painting and selling as funds for the independence movement.
In 1921, while crossing the Yalu River, he was caught by the Japanese police and sentenced to three years in prison and tortured, but he did not divulge any information. Rather, during his three years in prison, he learned how to paint ‘Sagunja’ (the Four Gracious Plants = plum, orchid, chrysanthemum and bamboo), and after his release from prison, he expressed his anti-Japanese will by drawing bamboo, which symbolizes constancy and integrity, sharply like bamboo spears.
In 1926, he presented to the Joseon Art Exhibition a work of writing poems of Great Master Seosan during the Japanese Invasion of Korea in 1592, along with sharp bamboo paintings.
“The capital of the world is like an ant’s bank, and the hogul (a man of broad mind and high spirits) of numerous houses is like a fruit fly. (萬國都城如蟻垤, 千家豪傑若醯鷄)”
– Poetry by Great Master Seosan, a Buddhist monk general of the Imjin War
In the competition judged by the Japanese Empire, works comparing the Japanese Empire and its workers to ants and fruit flies are submitted to show the spirit of anti-Japanese along with criticism of the Japanese Empire.
Having established himself as a master of Sagunja through special selection, winning the first prize in the competition, and social activities through the production of works, he drew sharp wooden bamboo and solidified his position as a painter and continued to help the independence movement. With donations and sales proceeds, he continued to fund the independence movement, continue exchanges with various national activists, and donate works to sponsor school funds established to save the country through education.
Kim Jin-Woo’s sharp wooden porridge is his belief and his independence movement in resisting Japanese colonial rule.
In 1944, he formed the Joseon Foundation Alliance with Yeo Woon-Hyung, an independence activist, but after the liberation of Korea, he did not engage in political activities. Later, during the Korean War, he was misunderstood as a North Korean soldier and was imprisoned in Seodaemun Prison, and died while in prison.
Kim Jin-Woo, a calligrapher who devoted his whole life to the Four Gracious Plants and the Independence Movement, now become the 21st-century Kim Jin-Woo and complete Korea that he dreamed of!