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Acta Koreana is published semi-annually on June 15 and December 15 by Academia Koreana, Keimyung University.
 
 
Title THE ROLE OF MODERN SHISHI IDEALS IN SYMPATHETIC JAPANESE APPRAISALS OF AN CHUNGGŬN
 
Author
LIM KYOUNGHWA
Volume Vol. 20 No. 1
Pages pp. 143~171 (all 29 pages)
Publication Date JUNE, 2017
Keyword An Chunggŭn, shishi, bushidō, anti-imperialism, socialism, Christianity
Abstract After Itō Hirobumi’s assassination by An Chunggŭn, Japanese media tended to urge the Japanese government to adopt coercive policies toward Korea, under which Japan suppressed “Korean riots” and finally annexed Korea. However, there were also some Japanese intellectuals who viewed An’s action sympathetically. They shared the Confucian ideal of shishi (gentleman activist), a universal ethico-political model in pre-modern East Asia. This article will attempt to analyze the logic of these Japanese who endeavored to understand An’s action from the vantage point of Korea’s subalterns. An Chunggŭn’s self-legitimization of his act, based as well on pan-regional Confucian ethics, was appropriated by his Japanese sympathizers as a sort of shishi consciousness, sometimes undistinguishable from the “bushidō (Way of the warrior) spirit”. The appropriations happened differently in diverse milieus, including socialist and Christian circles. Most of them limited themselves to sympathizing with An’s sacrifice for the sake of his country’s independence, without an attempt to criticize imperialist discourses. Although remaining a tiny minority, Baba Kochō (a progressive author and translator, 1869–1940), Kōtoku Shūsui (a socialist activist, 1871–1911) and Kashiwagi Gien (a Christian activist, 1860–1938) criticized Japan’s imperialist turn and its violations of Korea’s sovereignty which eventually precipitated the assassination attempts against Japanese officials. Kōtoku even went further offering a revolutionary strategy of anarchist communism and anti-imperialism aimed at building class solidarity between Asian peoples. While Kashiwagi did not renounce nationalism per se, he was in a position to relativize it based on the universal truth of Christianity. This article aims at grasping the meanings and historical significance of the expressions of sympathetic understanding towards An’s act in Japan.
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