March 1st Independence Movement 100th Anniversary Generation

21st Century Freedom Fighters

The experience and memories of the March 1st Independence Movement encouraged many Koreans to continue to fight for independence from Imperial Japan. Let us introduce you to the March 1stIndependence Movement Generation, who led the movement and inspired people to take to the streets.

What generation do you belong to?


A group of people who are born and living at about the same time and share similar values

Each generation experiences different sets of challenges and social changes.

Such shared experience creates the culture of the generation.

A new generation leads change by challenging the culture of the old generations.

People of each generation overcome challenges together.

386 Generation

The generation of people in Korea who were born in the 1960s, fought for democracy during their college years in the 1980s, and entered their 30s in the 1990s.

Generation X

The generation of people who were born between the mid-1960s and the early 1980s. They challenge the status quo by refusing to abide by conventions and traditions.

The Millennial Generation

The generation of people who were born between the early 80s and the early 2000s. They used the internet since a young age.

Do you know what generation led change in Korea 100 years ago?

From 1910 to 1945, Korea was under Japanese rule.

On March 1, 1919, Korean people took to the streets to demand national independence.

The March 1st Independence Movement was the largest nationwide uprising in a colony after WWI.

Despite Japan’s brutal suppression, people of all ages, classes, genders, and religions come out.

Over two million, about one tenth of the population at the time participated in thismovement.

The March 1stIndependence Movement Generation

The generation of people in Korea who experienced the March 1st Independence Movement that asked for independence, freedom, and peace.

People of this generation became freedom fighters to recover Korea’s independence and defend peace in Asia.

They fought against Imperial Japan in Korea and around the world.

The March 1st Independence Movement turned two young men into respected freedom fighters.

After growing up, they led the Korean independence movement.

Lee Bong-chang (1901 ~ 1932)

Lee visited Kim Koo, a leader of the Korean independence movement.

“I’m 31 years old. My life will have no meaning even after living another 31 years.”

“If the purpose of life is pleasure, I experienced all kinds of pleasures for the past 31 years.”

“I am now ready to give my life for eternal pleasure.”

“Give me a mission that will change the world.”

Kim gave him the mission to assassinate the Japanese Emperor, the symbol of Imperial Japan.

On January 8, 1932, Lee went to the Sakurada Gate of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.

He threw a hand grenade toward Japanese Emperor Hirohito on the way back from a New Year military parade.

The grenade exploded next to the carriage of his servant, leaving the emperor unharmed.

Lee was arrested on the spot and executed later that year.

Although he failed, his attempt to kill the emperor shocked the world.

His bravery inspired many people who had lost their country.

Yun Bong-gil (1908 ~ 1932)

Japan invaded and occupied Manchuria and Shanghai of China.

After its successful invasion of China, Japan’s influence soared.

On April 29, 1932, Japan held a grand victory ceremony.

The ceremony was held in Hongkou Park, Shanghai.

It was also to celebrate Emperor Hirohito’s birthday.

More than ten thousand Japanese soldiers attended the event.

Among the VIPs was General Yoshinori Shirakawa, who led the invasion of Shanghai.

As the anthem was ending, Yun approached the stage.

He threw a bomb disguised as a water bottle toward the stage.

The bombing caused immense damage to the Imperial Japanese Army, including the deaths of the general and senior military officers.

This incident made the headlinesin major international newspapers, including the New York Times and the Daily Mirror.

The international community started paying attention to Korean voices.

“Japan claimed that it developed the economy and administration of Korea, but Koreans don’t like Japan.” – from a British news report

Yun’s action exposed the falsity of Japan’s claim about Koreans’ support for Japanese rule.

Koreans’ voices were finally heard around the world.

“A young Korean man accomplished something a million-soldier Chinese army and 400 million Chinese men couldn’t.” – Chiang Kai-shek, leader of the Chinese Nationalist Party

Afterward, China provided enormous support to the Korean Provisional Government.

Rhee Syngman, the first Korean President, wrote about the impact of Yun’s action on Korean history.

Impressed by Yun, Chiang convinced the leaders of the Allies to support the Korean side.

As a result, the Cairo Declaration (1943) included a special clause that promised to free Korea.

On September 2, 1945, an old Japanese man boarded the USS Missouri.

He limped onto the deck with a walking stick.

His name is Shigemitsu Mamoru.

He signed the agreement that formalized Japan’s surrender to the Allies.

With this agreement, Japan recognized its defeat in WWII.

Japan became subject to punishment for its war crimes.

How did Shigemitsu lose his leg?

Most people don’t know what happened to this Japanese representative.

Shigemitsu was one of the Japanese officers wounded by Yun’s bombing on April 29, 1932.

Lee Bong-chang, the man who reignited the spirit of independence.

 Yun Bong-gil, the man who paved the way for independence.

The March 1st Independence Movement Generation brought Imperial Japan to justice.

The March 1st Independence Movement will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2019.

What is your hope for Korea?

About 100 years ago, the March 1st Independence Movement created a new generation.

They hoped for Korea’s independence and fought for it.

They took part in a new chapter of history.

VANK wants to celebrate the 100th anniversary with you.

We follow in the footsteps of the March 1st Independence Movement Generation.

You are the March 1st Independence Movement 100th Anniversary Generation.

The March 1st Independence Movement was ultimately for peace.

Together, we build peace in Korea and the world.

We are the March 1st Independence Movement 100th Anniversary Generation.

Let’s change the world, once again!