Empress Myeongseong

Have you heard of Operation Fox Hunt?
It involves a tragedy that happened in Korea.

It was about 120 years ago.

A queen of Korea was brutally assassinated.
The assassin was hired by the Japanese government.

The Eulmi Incident (1895)
Murder of Queen Myeongseong

Japan wanted to reinforce its influence on the Korean peninsula.

For this purpose, Japanese Consul Miura Goro masterminded the murder of the queen.

Japan called this secret plan “Operation Fox Hunt.”

Japan considered Queen Myeongseong to be the biggest obstacle to its annexation of Korea.

Japan killed the queen to eliminate the obstacle.

The queen tried to inform the world about Japan’s plan to incorporate Korea.

She wanted to protect Korea by appealing to the international community.

She used all her international connections.

The queen did more than diplomats in raising global awareness of the situation in Korea.

There were some foreigners who watched her closely.
The following will show how they assessed her qualities.

“She was well informed about international politics. She was a competent diplomat, who was exceptional at proving the weaknesses of the opposition.”

The queen disapproved of Japan. She was also patriotic and devoted to serving the country.

She was not like other queens in Asia.
- Mrs. Lillias Horton Underwood, the wife of Missionary Horace G. Underwood

“The queen was ambitious, brilliant and shrewd. She was very charming and lovely in many aspects.”
- Mrs. Isabella Bird Bishop

“The queen was a well-read, intelligent and strong-willed woman.”

“She was an exceptional politician and diplomat, who devoted her life to Joseon’s independence.”
- Mr. William Franklin Sands, US diplomat to Korea

For the Japanese government, Queen Myeongseong was undoubtedly the biggest obstacle.

They referred to her as an old fox, and made an assassination plan named “Operation Fox Hunt.”

On October 8, 1895, twenty Japanese assassins snuck into the Gyeongbokgung Palace.

They used their swords to kill the queen and mutilate her body.

They burned her body near the Hyangwonjeong Pavilion.

The queen’s murder shocked and angered the people of Korea.

After her death, Japan accelerated their diplomatic efforts to justify their annexation plan.

Japan intensively lobbied the world powers.

The Taft-Katsura Agreement
A secret agreement reached in 1905 between Japan and the United States

The U.S. agreed to Japan’s dominance over Korea in return for Japan’s support of U.S. rule over the Philippines.

The Treaty of Portsmouth
A treaty signed in September 1905 between Japan and Russia

Russia agreed to Japan’s control of Korea.

Japanese imperialism left deep scars in the minds of Korean people. 

Japan left another lasting scar on the Korean peninsula.

Japan’s incorporation of Dokdo

On February 8, 1904, Japan launched a project to remove Russia’s influence from Korea.

Japan waged the Russo-Japanese War to strengthen Japan’s control over Korea.

Japan threatened the Joseon court to support their war.

Japan coerced Korea into signing a protocol that gave Japan the right to use Korean territory for military purposes.

Japan soon recognized the military strategic value of Dokdo.

“Now is the time to initiate the annexation of Korea.”
“Dokdo is in a great strategic location to establish a watchtower and install radio or submarine cables to detect the movements of enemy ships.
- Yamaza Enjiro, Director of the Political Affairs Bureau, Japan 

Japan decided to incorporate Dokdo to use it as a logistics base.

On February 22, 1905, the Shimane Prefecture issued Public Notice #40.

By doing so, Japan incorporated Dokdo.

They defeated the Russian fleet and won the war.

The incorporation of Dokdo was only the beginning of Japan’s imperialistic activities.

In November 1905, Japan forced Korea to sign the Eulsa Protectorate Treaty and took away Korea’s diplomatic rights.

Five years later, in 1910, Japan colonized Korea.

Exploitation of resources
Slaughter of civilians
Forced conscriptions
Military sex slaves (“comfort women”)
Torture and abuse

Until independence in 1945, Korean people were scarred and deeply wounded.

Japan attempted to suppress Korean national identity.

Koreans were forced to change their surnames to Japanese names.

Schools were forced to teach Japanese instead of Korean.

Japan also distorted Korean history to destroy its national identity. 

Japan tried to brainwash Korean people into believing the justification of the annexation.

The Manchurian Incident in 1931
The Sino-Japanese War in 1937
The Pacific War in 1941

Japan sent young Korean men to battle to fulfill its imperialistic ambition.

As the war became unfavorable, Japan made them into suicide bombers, the Kamikaze.

Korea’s natural resources were taken to be used as war supplies.

Korean people were made into soldiers and slaves.

The entire peninsula became a logistics base for Japanese wars.

The incorporation of Dokdo was the beginning of all this suffering.

For Koreans, sovereignty over Dokdo is not just about a small island.

In the 1900s, many Asian countries suffered from imperialism.

Korea was also deprived of its sovereignty and history.
Dokdo is a symbol of the full recovery of our national sovereignty.

“Japan will be expelled from all other territories which she has taken by violence and greed.”
- Cairo Declaration (November 27, 1943)

Japan’s surrender in 1945
Japan promised to acknowledge that Korea shall be free and independent.

In the Potsdam Declaration, Japan agreed to implement the Cairo Declaration.

On January 29, 1946, the Supreme Commander for Allied Powers issued SCAPIN 677.

This document commanded Japan to abandon its administrative authority over Dokdo.  

Japan shall recognize the independence of Korea, renounce all right, title and claim to Korea, including Jejudo, Geomundo and Ulleungdo. 
- The Treaty of San Francisco (1951)

The international community clearly recognized that Dokdo is a Korean territory.

Over 60 years have passed since the independence of Korea.

Japan is again claiming sovereignty over Dokdo.

This indicates that Japan is still trying to deny Korea’s full independence and sovereignty.

Japan is asking for rights to a territory that it took by force during its imperial period.

Thus, Japan’s claim over Dokdo is the same as its justification of its imperialistic history.

In Dokdo, there is a special rock in the shape of the Korean peninsula.
This rock, called Korea Rock, indicates who Dokdo belongs to.

For Koreans, Dokdo symbolizes the independence of Korea.

After the incorporation of Dokdo in 1905, Korea lost its sovereignty and all of its rights.

During the Japanese occupation, many innocent lives were lost.

The Japanese Occupation Period left unforgettable scars on the Korean people.
Japan is now making aggressive moves to claim sovereignty over Dokdo.

Reinforcing the imperialistic past is like moving history backward.

This is the very reason why Koreans cannot tolerate Japan’s claim over Dokdo.

VANK is here with its 100 thousand Korean members.
Our goal is to prevent tragedies such as what happened to us. 

This is why we are promoting Dokdo to the world.

Historically, geographically and legally, Dokdo is undoubtedly a Korean territory.

Protecting Dokdo is our effort to protect peace in Asia.




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