Mun Se-gwang

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Mun Se-gwang
Revised RomanizationMun Se-gwang
McCune–ReischauerMun Segwang
Japanese name:
Nanjō Seikō ()

Mun Se-gwang (December 26, 1951 – December 20, 1974) was a Japanese-born North Korean sympathizer who attempted to assassinate South Korean president Park Chung-Hee on August 15, 1974. The assassination attempt resulted in the deaths of Park's wife, Yuk Young-soo, and a high school student, Jang Bong-hwa.


Mun Se-gwang was born in Osaka on 26 December 1951, where many Zainichi Koreans resided.

Attempted assassination of Park Chung-Hee[edit]

Stealing a Smith & Wesson .38-caliber revolver from an Osaka police box on 18 July 1974, he concealed it in his luggage and flew to South Korea on 8 August 1974,[1] using a Japanese passport to enter the country.[2] He then booked into the Chosun Hotel.[1]

Gaining entry to the National Theater in Seoul, on the day of a ceremony celebrating Korea's independence from Japan which was being attended by South Korean president Park Chung-Hee and his wife, Mun intended to shoot Park in the theater lobby. However, his view was obstructed; and, he was forced to enter and be seated near the back of the theater. During Park's address, he attempted to get closer to the President but inadvertently fired his revolver prematurely, injuring himself. Having alerted security, Mun then ran down the theater aisle firing wildly.[3] His second bullet hit the left side of the podium from which Park was delivering his speech. His third bullet was a misfire but the fourth struck Park's wife, Yuk Young-soo, in the head, seriously wounding her. His last bullet went through a flag decorating the rear of the stage. A bullet fired by Park Jong-gyu, one of the President's security detail, in response to Mun's attack ricocheted off a wall and killed a high school student, Jang Bong-hwa. Immediately following the capture of Mun, Park resumed his scheduled speech, despite the wounding of his wife and her being carried from the stage. Following its completion, he picked up his wife's handbag and shoes and left. Despite extensive surgery, Yuk died at 7:00 p.m. that same day.[1]

During his interrogation, Mun confessed to have been aided in his bid to assassinate President Park by an official of a North Korea aligned residents association in Japan. This, and the fact that Mun used a Japanese passport to enter South Korea, strained diplomatic relationships between Japan, North Korea, and South Korea; South Korea concluded that Mun was acting on behalf of North Korea, but Japan refused to accept South Korea's position. Consequently, Park threatened to break off diplomatic relations and to nationalise Japanese assets in South Korea. It required mediation by United States embassy officials before Japan issued a letter of regret, easing tensions between the two countries.[3]


Mun was hanged in a Seoul prison four months after his failed attempt to assassinate President Park.[3]


  1. ^ a b c Keon. Page 199.
  2. ^ Oberdorfer. Pages 53-55
  3. ^ a b c Oberdorfer. Page 53.


  • Jager, Sheila Miyoshi (2013). Brothers at War: The Unending Conflict in Korea (Hardback). London: Profile Books. ISBN 978-1-84668-067-0.
  • Keon, Michael (1977). Korean Phoenix: A Nation from the Ashes (Hardback). Prentice-Hall International. ISBN 978-013-516823-3.
  • Oberdorfer, Don (1997). The Two Koreas: A Contemporary History. Reading: Addison-Wesley. ISBN 978-0-20140-927-7.

See also[edit]