March 23 this year will mark the 95th anniversary of the formation of the Korean National Association by Kim Hyong Jik (1894-1926), an outstanding leader of the Korean anti-Japanese national liberation movement.
Nearly a century has passed since the formation, but the great exploits he performed for the Korean anti-Japanese national liberation movement is still in the memory of the Korean people.
As he was born to a poor family in the harsh period of national tragedy and grew undergoing bitter experiences as one of a ruined people to the marrow of his bones, he embarked on the road of revolution in his early days with an ambition to win back the lost country. On the basis of the bitter lessons of the past anti-Japanese struggle of the Korean people to regain the national sovereignty, he realized that what was essential was to rouse all the Korean people to a determination to win back the lost country and develop sufficient strength to repel the Japanese invaders and that this could not be done in a day or two, and advance the idea of “Aim High.” The idea of “Aim High” implies a revolutionary outlook on life in which genuine happiness is sought in the struggle for one’s country and nation, and a spirit of national independence that Korea’s independence must be achieved by the efforts of the Korean people themselves and an idea of continuous revolution and unbreakable revolutionary spirit to liberate the country without fail by fighting through the generations.
True to this idea of “Aim High,” he conducted patriotic educational activities and, at the same time, traveled around many areas in Korea and Northeast China and even to Shanghai to recruit comrades and stepped up the preparations for forming an underground revolutionary organization for rallying broad sections of the masses of the people in the anti-Japanese struggle. On the basis of these preparations he formed the Korean National Association on March 23, 1917. It was an anti-Japanese underground revolutionary organization which was the largest in scale and most staunch in the standpoint of anti-imperialist independence at that time. Its formation enabled Korea’s anti-Japanese national liberation movement to have a backbone organization for uniting the broad masses of the people with a correct objective of struggle and enter a new phase of achieving the unity of anti-Japanese forces.
After its formation he strove to lay a solid mass foundation of the anti-Japanese struggle by drawing the broad masses to it. In the autumn of 1917, he was arrested and imprisoned by the Japanese police. In prison, he came to the conclusion that Korea’s anti-Japanese national liberation movement must assume the character of the proletarian revolution which could satisfy both the class demand of the proletarian masses and the national demand of all the Korean people and, to this end, it was necessary to wage an armed struggle.
After he was released from prison, he clarified the strategic policy on the proletarian revolution, the attitude to be maintained in the national liberation movement and the policy of waging revolutionary armed activities and played the vanguard role in implementing them. As Japanese police tenaciously watched and persecuted him, he had to move the base of his activities several times to the northern broader areas of Korea and northeast China, but he never ceased to fight. His efforts gave birth to the Association for the Promotion of the Alliance of the National Organizations in August 1925. Its formation enabled the independence movement organizations which waged struggle, split in small groups, to be united under the banner of anti-Japanese imperialism, thus bringing about a fresh upsurge in the anti-Japanese national liberation movement of the Korean people and in-depth development of the switchover to the proletarian revolution.
Although he was ill, he exerted devoted efforts for the development of Korean anti-Japanese national liberation movement with indomitable willpower, in the course of which his illness advanced too far to be cured. On July 5, 1926, he passed away. At his death bed he said to his sons; “I am departing without attaining my aim. But I believe in you. You must not forget that you belong to the country and the people. You must win back your country at all costs even if your bones are broken and your bodies are torn apart.”
Although he died young, he left valuable heritage for the revolution-the idea of “Aim High”, being prepared for the three contingencies (death from hunger, death from beating and death from the cold), the idea of gaining comrades and two pistols. The heritage he left constituted the ideological and spiritual asset of the Korean revolution.
With the idea of “Aim High” as an ideological and spiritual source Kim Il Sung evolved the Juche idea that the masses of the people are the masters and driving force of the revolution and construction. And the two pistols made him to realize the truth that one must oppose armed robbers with arms and author the Songun idea of achieving the independence of Korea and advancing the revolution by force of arms. Pursuant to the idea of gaining comrades, Kim Il Sung regarded gaining comrades as the first procedure in the revolution. His warm love for comrades gave birth to the single-hearted unity of the people around him, unity in ideology, in will and moral obligation. The idea of being prepared for the three contingencies is now reflected in the ideological and mental traits of the Korean people who are overcoming all sorts of adversities of history in unyielding revolutionary spirit. Drawing strength from the inheritance, he waged an armed struggle against Japanese imperialism for 15 years and finally accomplished the historic cause of national liberation on August 15, 1945, and built a powerful socialist country, a people’s country, which is independent, self-sufficient and self-reliant in national defense.
By inheriting the ideology and cause of the President as they are, Kim Jong Il formulated Songun politics as basic political mode of socialism.
The exploits of Kim Hyong Jik who pioneered the Korean revolution and brought about the dawn of modern Korea will shine forever with prospering socialist Korea.
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