Memorial events for the 75th anniversary of Jeju 4·3 held in the nation’s capital

At 3 p.m. on April 3, a memorial ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of Jeju 4·3 was held at Sinchon Station, on the so-called Street of Youth. The Seoul event is organized by the Jeju 4·3 Pan-National Committee (Chairman: Baek Gyeong-jin), and this year, it deviated from the format of a memorial service to feature a cultural event that publicly told the truth about Jeju 4·3 in a space used daily by many people. The ceremony began in Changcheon Cultural Park with the theme song that is sung on Memorial Day of the nation’s March 1 Independence Movement.

Players of musical instruments, coming out one by one from the crowd, gathered on the stage, and Spanish singer Lara Benito sang “Sleepless Southern Island” and the theme song of Mr. Sunshine, a popular TV show about Korean independence activists. Seo Taehwa, a Jeju-born actor, reenacted the scene of the 1947 Jeju event to commemorate the March 1 Independence Movement, adding a theatrical narration. His acting was followed by a choral performance, and the ceremony ended with a commemorative speech by historian Jeon Woo-yong. The event especially drew attention because it presented a crossover musical drama on the truth about Jeju 4·3, excluding any formal rituals and a host.

The ceremony was held under the themes of “unification” and “independence.” The Jeju 4·3 Pan-National Committee stated that years of effort put into finding the legitimate name of Jeju 4·3 have yet to reach a clear conclusion. In the announcement, the committee also said: “Now is the time to gather our courage and responsibility to approach the complicated truth about Jeju 4·3. At this juncture, we will begin to take a step closer to the legitimate name of Jeju 4·3 by suggesting a campaign with the slogan, ‘Jeju 4·3 advocates unification and independence.’”

Meanwhile, the committee prepared various exhibitions and lectures. Prior to the ceremony on April 1, lectures were given on the topic of “Why do we discuss Jeju 4·3?” by novelist Hyun Ki-young, Bishop Kang Woo-il of the Catholic Jeju Diocese, lawmaker Kim Jong-min, who is a member of the Central Jeju 4·3 Committee, and Dr. Han Sang-hee, who specializes in education studies. Historian Jeon Woo-yong also gave a lecture on “Independence and Jeju 4·3.” The lecture on April 5 featured Dr. Kim Nuri, a scholar of German literature who spoke about the “Past Liquidation and Unification.” On April 8, former Justice Minister Choo Mi-ae and lawmaker Kim Jong-min, a member of the Central Jeju 4·3 Committee, discussed “Jeju 4·3 and the Struggle of Memory,” followed by a lecture given by Yang Jo Hoon, former president of the Jeju 4·3 Peace Foundation.