“We are the accursed of the world,” laments K, a Korean high school alum of mine (class of 1956), “with no rallying national holiday that brings Koreans together like Christmas for Christians or Fourth of July for Americans.”
“What about today, Aug 15, 2019, 74th anniversary of liberation from Japan?” I ask.
“Liberation? More like a day of infamy staging a change of the guards from Japanese to Soviet and American. For once North Korea has the right idea, erasing the day from memory. Unlike the Americans throwing out the British and gaining independence, we did zilch to ouster Japan.”
“But on Mar 1, 1919, the country rose up to march and shout hooray to Korean independence, nearly 10,000 getting killed.”
“Accomplishing nothing, only consolidating Japan’s hold on Korea, which would have gone on forever, unless WW II had come along and wrenched it off. No wonder there is no enthusiasm for it among Koreans, especially overseas Koreans like us who or whose ancestors have fled the country to live elsewhere like America.”