Facts & Truth


The material for this section is taken from the “What is the Jeju April 3rd Uprising and Massacre?” booklet published by the Memorial Committee for the 70th Anniversary of the Jeju 4·3 Uprising and Massacre. This booklet was published in English and Korean to mark the 70th anniversary of the tragedy in 2018 in partnership with the Jeju 4·3 Peace Foundation, Jeju 4·3 Archives, the Association for 4·3 Victims and Bereaved Families, the Jeju 4·3 Research Institute and others.

The publication aims to provide an accessible resource on the key findings of the National Committee for Investigation of the Truth about the Jeju 4·3 Events. This truth commision was established in 2000 and continues to carry out research into what happened on the island between 1947 and 1954 making it the longest-running truth commission in the world. The material this chapter draws from can be found in the much more extensive “Jeju 4·3 Incident Investigation Report” published in 2003.

Due to inconsistencies in the English translation edition of the booklet, minor edits were made for its inclusion in this chapter. Additional changes were made where information was regarded as ambiguous by the editors, with some text removed for the sake of clarity. The final text reproduced here was reviewed by the Memorial Committee for the 70th Anniversary of the Jeju 4·3 Uprising and Massacre before publication.

Jeju 4·3 Timeline from
Liberation to the Korean War

The Political Situation in Jeju

  • 1945

    15 Aug.

    66,780 Japanese soldiers remain on Jeju.

  • 9 Sept.

    Proclamation No. 1 by General of the Army Douglas MacArthur to the People of Korea is declared.

  • 22 Sept.

    Jeju People's Committee is established.

  • 1946

    3 June.

    Syngman Rhee argues for establishing a South Korea-only government.

  • 1 Aug.

    Jeju Island is raised to the status of a province.

  • 1 Oct.

    Autumn Uprising begins.

  • 1947

    10 Feb.

    Around 1,000 high school students in Jeju protest the American presence in Korea.

  • 1 March

    Around 30,000 people join the 28th commemoration ceremony of the March 1 Independence Movement. Police shoot protesters, killing 6 people and wounding 8 others.

  • 10 March

    General strikes protesting against the March 1 Shooting Incident begin. By March 13, 41,211 people from 166 organisations had joined in the strike.

  • 12 March

    Vice Chief Choi Gyeong-jin (National Police Agency) alleges in his report regarding violent incidents on Jeju that 90% of Jeju residents were politically left leaning.

  • 15 March

    Chief Jo Byeong-ok (National Police Agency) orders the arrest of protest ringleaders.

  • 7 Sept.

    Park Tea-hun, head of Jeju Food Affair Office, is attacked at his home by the Northwest Youth Association.

  • 2 Nov.

    The Northwest Youth Association Jeju headquarters is established.

  • 1948

    22 Jan.

    Jeju police conduct a surprise raid on a meeting of the Jocheon branch of the South Korean Labor Party at Sinchon-ri, arresting 106 persons and seizing documents planning a rebellion.

  • 1 Feb.

    Kim Ik-ryeol, lieutenant commander, is appointed as new chief of the 9th Regiment, succeeding Lee Chi-eop, lieutenant colonel.

  • 6 March

    Jocheon Middle School student Kim Yong-cheol is tortured to death at Jocheon police station.

  • 14 March

    Yang Eun-ha is tortured to death at Moseulpo police station.

  • 3 April

    An armed uprising begins in Jeju.

  • 28 April

    Peace negotiations between Lieutenant Commander Kim Ik-ryeol and guerilla leader Kim Dal-sam begin.

  • 29 April

    William F. Dean, U.S. military general, visits Jeju on a secret mission. This is followed by a policy of heavy suppression.

  • 1 May

    An arson attack is committed against Ora-ri.

  • 6 May

    The U.S. military government dismisses Kim Ik-ryeol from his position as chief of the 9th Regiment.

  • 10 May

    Two out of three constituencies in Jeju boycott the general election.

  • 9 Sept.

    The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) is established.

  • 11 Oct.

    Jeju Security Headquarters is established.

  • 17 Oct.

    It is announced that all land more than 5 k.m. from the coastline is restricted and any individual found therein is subject to summary execution.

  • 17 Nov.

    Martial Law is announced in Jeju.

  • 31 Dec.

    Martial Law in Jeju is lifted.

  • 1949

    17 Jan.

    Around 400 villagers are killed by the army in Bukchon-ri village.

  • 2 March

    Jeju District Command Post is established.

  • 15 May

    Jeju District Command Post is dissolved.

  • 7 June

    Lee Deok-gu, general commander of the armed resistance, is executed by police.

  • 2 Oct.

    249 people sentenced to death by court martial in 1949 are executed near Jeju airport and secretly buried.

  • 1950

    16 July

    The 5th Army Training Station is established in Jeju.

  • 27 July

    Detainees under preventative custody at a distillery in Jeju are secretly dumped into the sea off the coast of Sarabong.

  • 1954

    21 Sept.

    The ban on access to Mt. Hallasan is lifted.