Heroic Corps

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The Heroic Corps (Hangul의열단; RREuiyeoldan; MRUiyoldan) was an organization founded in Korea in 1919, during the Japanese colonial period. Its activists believed in revolutionary uprising as well as egalitarianism.

After the March 1st Movement was crushed in 1919, many independence activists moved their bases to foreign countries. However, members of the Heroic Corps thought that those organizations were too moderate and would not contribute to independence in Korea, and instead took a more radical approach by opposing compromising solutions such as culturalism. The Heroic Corps wished for a violent revolution, reflected by the Manifesto of the Korean Revolution (조선혁명선언) by independence activist Shin Chae-ho.[1] The Corps struggled for independence by assassinating high-ranking Japanese officials and committing acts of terrorism against government offices. The Heroic Corps moved their base to Beijing, China and brought members to Shanghai where they had about 70 members in 1924. Kim Gu, Kim Kyu-sik, Kim Chang-suk, and Shin Chae-ho were engaged as advisers and Chiang Kai-shek, President of the Republic of China, supported the Heroic Corps.[2] However, as time passed, their movement evolved with the spirit of the times.

Targets and Doctrines[edit]

Leading the Corps was a 22-year-old man named Kim Won-bong (1898 – c. 1958). The organization was based on ten articles of resolution, which listed seven types of individuals who must be killed and five governmental structures that must be destroyed. Their aims were to defeat the Japanese invaders (Hangul구축왜노; Hanja驅逐倭奴), gain independence for Korea (Hangul: 광복조국; Hanja: 光復祖國), abolish class distinctions (Hangul: 타파계급; Hanja: 打破階級), and establish equal rights to arable land (Hangul: 평균지권; Hanja: 平均地權). Their ideals displayed a new wave of revolutionary public activity in the fight for independence in direct response to the March 1st Movement (Hangul: 3.1운동; Hanja: 三一運動).[3]

10 articles of resolution[edit]

  1. We aggressively pursue all acts of righteousness.
  2. We sacrifice our body and life for Korean independence and world equality.
  3. We only select members of loyal spirit and compassionate mind.
  4. We take the objective of the Corps as first priority and promptly execute the goals of its members.
  5. We select a leader of righteous character to represent the Corps.
  6. We present a status report, wherever or whenever the Corps may be, every month.
  7. We oblige to assemble upon request by a member of the Corps.
  8. We stay alive to fulfill the objective of the Corps.
  9. We as members devote ourselves to the Corps and the Corps devotes itself to every one of us.
  10. We execute all those who disobey the objectives of the Corps.

List of 7 types of people who must be killed[edit]

  1. Josean Governor-General
  2. Head of Japanese Troops
  3. Taiwan Governor-General and High Officer
  4. Traitors
  5. Pro-Japanese Leaders
  6. Secret Agents of Japan
  7. Anti-National Nobles and Large Property-Owning Landlords

List of 5 governmental structures that must be destroyed[edit]

  1. Japanese Government-General of Korea
  2. Oriental Development Company
  3. Office of Maeil-Shinbo
  4. All Police Offices
  5. Other Japanese Imperialism Governments[4]

Main Events[edit]

Carrying bombs into Miryang, Jinyeong[edit]

The Heroic Corps carried out their plan for the assassination of Japanese ministers and the destruction of public offices in March 1920. They attempted to carry bombs into Josean. Kwak Jae-ki, who was in Manchuria, sent bombs to Kim Byung-wan. However, the bombs were confiscated by Japanese police in Gyeonggi-do. Kwak Jae-ki, who was in charge, and 12 people related to this incident were arrested by Japanese police.[3]

Throwing bombs at Jogono Police Station and incident in Sampantong, Hyoje-dong[edit]

On January 12, 1923, bombs were thrown into the Jongno Police station. On January 17, Japanese police searched Sampanong (Hangul: 삼판통; Hanja: 三坂通), Kim Sang-ok's refuge. Surrounded by 20 police officers, Kim Sang-ok exchanged gunfire, killing the head of the criminal department and wounding several other police officers. He escaped the siege to hide on Namsan Mountain, disguising himself as a monk, and hid in Lee Hye-soo's house in Hyoje-dong (Hangul: 효제동; Hanja: 孝悌洞). On January 22, several hundred armed policemen besieged the house. By himself, Kim Sang-ok resisted the Japanese for over three hours. He killed several policemen, including executives, before committing suicide with his last bullet. Japanese police authorities did not identify Kim Sang-ok as the bomber until after he had died.[5]

Throwing bombs at Josean Sikesan Bank and Oriental Development Company[edit]

On December 28, 1926, at 2 p.m., Na Seok-ju entered Joseon Siksan Bank (Hangul: 조선식산은행; Hanja: 朝鮮殖産銀行) and threw one bomb. Later that day, he attacked the Oriental Development Company (Hangul: 동양척식주식회사; Hanja: 東洋拓殖株式會社) by throwing bombs and spreading gunfire at random. He killed several people in the company. Five Japanese policemen chased him, and he ultimately used his gun to kill himself and avoid arrest.[3]


  1. ^ "의열단".
  2. ^ "Doopedia(두산백과) : 의열단(Heroic Corps)".
  3. ^ a b c "The Academy of Korean Studies(한국학중앙연구원) : 의열단(Heroic Corps)".
  4. ^ [임종국(Lim Jong-guk) (1991. 02. 01). 《실록 친일파(Annals Pro-Japanese Group)》. 반민족문제연구소. 서울: 돌베개. 128p]
  5. ^ "네이버캐스트(Naver Cast) : 김상옥(Kim Sang-ok)".