“If we can’t achieve our objective in the first attempt, make a second attempt. If the second attempt ends in failure, make a third, fourth… a tenth attempt. Even if we are foiled a hundred times, never give up ~ omitted ~ We must be resolutely determined to regain the sovereign independence of Korea.” – quoted from Martyr Ahn Jung-geun’s autobiography written in prison.
Ahn Jung-geun was born in 1879 in Haeju, Hwanghae-do province. Influenced by his father, an enlightenment reformer, he formed a grand vision at an early age of Korea recovering its national sovereignty and achieving an era of enlightenment by nurturing national vigor and devoted himself to such educational movements as establishing schools. After realizing that it would be impossible to nurture Korea’s national power under Japanese imperialist rule which willfully suppressed the education of the Korean people, he went abroad to raise an army to fight in the cause of justice of reclaiming national sovereignty through armed resistance.
In March 1909, he and his 11 like-minded comrades formed a finger-cutting fraternity to display their commitment to the fatherland’s independence by cutting off their left hand ring-fingers and writing, with the resulting blood, the letters “Daehandongnip” (independence of Korea from Japanese colonial ruling) on the Taegeukgi (the national flag of Korea).
In October that year, he plotted an attack upon hearing that Ito Hirobumi, the chief ringleader in the Japanese deprivation of Korea’s sovereign independence, would visit Harbin. In October 26, 1909, he aimed his gun at Ito Hirobumi, as he stepped into the Harbin railway platform. This was the moment when a historical, heroic deed occurred.
After his arrest, he never lost his fortitude up to his very last day when his death sentence was carried out. Now, 100 years after his death, he remains vividly alive in the hearts of the Korean people as a proud son of Korea, just as written in the calligraphy he wrote when was alive.
In commemoration of the centennial of the death of patriot Ahn Jung-geun, a commemorative stamp is issued, featuring his thumbprint and the letters written on the Taegeukgi with his blood. In the stamp, the will he left is expressed as minute letters on the image of his ring-finger, while “the cherished intentions of Ahn Eung-chil (patriot Ahn’s childhood name)” written in prison, are also written on the image of the Taegeukgi.
Title: Centennial of the Death of Martyr Ahn Jung-geun
Date of Issue: 26 March 2010
Denominations: 250 won x 2