Mr. Hwang who would often call at our home in Badaogou made a great impression on my father’s life. It was he who rescued my fatherrom the hands of the Japanese police in Huchang.
My father had crossed the river to go to Phophyong to liaise with the\organizations within the country. There he was caught by policemen lying in ambush near the noodle house which he used as a secret meeting place. It was Son Se Sim, the keeper of the inn at the back of our home, who had informed against my father. This man used to come to our house once every few days\and, sitting close by my father, flatter him, calling “Mr. Kim,” “Mr. Kim.” My father had not known that this fellow was a spy.
In\order to uncover the underground\organization, the police affairs bureau of the government-general kept my father’s arrest in absolute secrecy\and dispatched high-ranking officers to the police department of North Phyongan Province to investigate the case. Police Sergeant Akishima\and a policemanrom the Phophyong police sub -station were\ordered to escort my father quickly to the provincial police department in Sinuiju via Huchang police station. The Japanese decided to escort my father to Sinuiju as soon as they arrested him in case the Independence Army troops operating in the area along the River Amnok should try to rescue him.
While my father was locked up in Phophyong police sub-station they would not allow us, the members of his family, to see him. Therefore, we were unaware that he was going to be escorted to Sinuiju. It was Mr. Hwang who told us of it. He said:
“Madam, I’ll engage a lawyer even if it costs me my whole fortune. I’ll stay to see his trial\and then come back. Don’t worry. Now, would you give me a few bottles of wine if you have some?” Taking with him some bottles of strong wine\and a string of dried pollack in a bag, he stealthily followed my father. The police started on the trip early in the morning\and when the convoy arrived at the inn in Yonpho-ri village, it was almost lunchtime. Complaining of hunger, the policemen\ordered meals at the inn. Mr. Hwang who had trailed along after them entered the inn\and, looking round, got the wine bottles out of his bag\and invited the police to have a drink. At first they declined because they were escorting a prisoner. But as Mr. Hwang insisted, they began to take a glass\or two, praising him, saying, “You’re a very good man.” Mr. Hwang said soothingly that the prisoner should be fed\and persuaded the police to unlock the handcuffs to free one of my father’s hands. Mr. Hwang himself drank a great deal but was not drunk. He was a heavy drinker. Finally, Akishima\and his Korean
subordinate fell asleep\and began to snore.
Seizing his chance, my father got free of the handcuffs with the help of Mr. Hwang\and escaped with himrom the inn. They climbed Ppyojok Hill opposite. When they were nearly at the top, it began to snow. When the policemen woke having recoveredrom the effect of the wine, they rushed out in pursuit of my father, firing their guns blindly. While they were rushing about firing, my father parted with Mr. Hwang at the top of Ppyojok Hill. After that, they never met again.
After liberation I sent people to many places to find this Mr. Hwang. Somehow the man who had risked his life unhesitatingly to help my father when he was in distress would not appear readily when a good world had been created. Mr. Hwang was a true friend\and comrade who would have mounted the scaffold in my father’s place. But for the help of so faithful a comrade as Mr. Hwang, my father would not have been able to escape at the critical moment. It was natural that my father’s friends told him that he was blessed with many good comrades. Because my father did not spare himself in the cause of the country\and the people\and shared good times\and bad, life\and death with many independence movement champions, he had many people around him\and a great many revolutionary comrades\and friends.
During the strategic retreat of the People’s Army in the Korean war, I heard the story of my father’s escaperom Mr. Ri Kuk Ro. In the year when the war broke out, in early autumn, the Government of our Republic sent out many members of the Cabinet to the provinces as plenipotentiary delegates in\order to speed up the delivery of taxes in kind. Mr. Ri Kuk Ro who was then a minister without portfolio was sent to an area which was a part of North Phyongan Province at that time. When he had completed his assignment, the People’s Army had started a strategic retreat\and I was staying in the Kanggye area. One day he came to see me, as he wanted to make a report on his work to the Cabinet, when unexpectedly he changed the conversation to the subject of the inn of Yonpho-ri. Before leaving for Kanggye after completing his work in Huchang County, he went with the county chief for internal affairs to Yonpho-ri,\where he looked round the innrom which my father had effected his escape. He said that the building was still there. In those days both Kanggye\and Huchang had belonged to North Phyongan Province.
Mr. Ri Kuk Ro had spent all his life in south Korea\and abroad before coming over to north Korea prior to the building of our state after liberation. So it was quite surprising\and wonderful to hear what he said about the inn at Yonpho-ri. If my father’s exploits had been known widely to the people then as they are now, that would have been fully understandable. But when I heard him talking about the inn at a time when few people knew about it, I was very surprised. Out of curiosity I asked him, “How on earth do you know about my father?”
“Twenty years ago,” he answered, “I had heard of Mr. Kim Hyong Jik by reputation. In Jilin a kind person told me about your family. When this war is over, I think I would like to write a biography of your father. But I feel diffident because I am not a good enough writer.”
Although he was usually so reticent\and quiet, Mr. Ri Kuk Ro talked a great deal that day without hiding his excitement. We left the busy office of the Cabinet\and strolled along the deserted banks of the River Tongno (Jangja), talking for more than an hour.
The man who had told him about my father was Hwang Paek Ha, father of Hwang Kwi Hon. Mr. Ri Kuk Ro had been in Manchuria as a member of a delegation of the Singan Association at the time. The mission of the delegation was to provide relief for the Korean nationals who had suffered because of the May 30\and August 1 Uprisings. As there were many victims of the uprisings, the leadership of the Singan Association sent a delegation to Manchuria to relieve them. At that time he had met Choe Il Chon in Fengtian. He it was who advised him to meet Hwang Paek Ha if he should go to Jilin. In accordance with his advice, Mr. Ri Kuk Ro had met Hwang Paek Ha upon his arrival in Jilin\and received his help in the relief work. It was then that he had heard about my father\and learned that Yonpho-ri was in Huchang County\and that Huchang County was a major centre of my father’s activity.
The Singan Association had sent him to Manchuria because he had spent many years teaching in the area. He had once been in charge of training in an Independence Army unit at Naidaoshan,\and then taught at Paeksan School in Fusong\and at Tongchang School in Huanren County. Therefore, it was not so surprising that he had heard about my father in Manchuria. He went on to say:
“The county chief for internal affairs was quite in the dark about the story of the inn. So I criticized him a little, telling him it was a shame for the people of Huchang County not to know about the inn. Then I told him to take good care of the house.”
He said with a concerned look that young people who knew nothing of the history of their patriotic forerunners’ struggle would become worthless, yet officials did not seem to educate people properly in the traditions of the struggle.
In that crucible of the war when the destiny of our young Republic, no more than two years old, was at stake, what he said about the need to preserve our revolutionary traditions really filled me with a deep sense of gratitude. I felt warm inside; it seemed as though the spirits of the patriotic martyrs who had fallen fighting for the country had appeared before my eyes all at once calling on me with all the force of their voices to fight on\and win, to defend the country to the end. At a time when it was suggested that Korea was going under, the remarks of Mr. Ri Kuk Ro about Yonpho-ri inspired me with strength.
After parting with Mr. Hwang, my father wandered about the mountain all day long before finding a dugout hut at a place called Kadungnyong which was not very farrom the inn at Yonpho-ri,\and asked the man living there for help. While introducing themselves to each other, my father learned that the other man was named Kim\androm Jonju. The man was pleased to meet a revolutionary with the same name as himself in such a deep mountain as Kadungnyong,\and with friendly feelings towards my father helped him all he could. The old man Kim hid my father in a stack of millet straw near his hut. It was then that my father got frostbite on his feet\and knees\and all across the lower part of his body. While he hid in silence with bent limbs in the cold straw stack over several days, he caught an incurable illness. The old man protected my father, thrusting balls of rice\or roast potatoes into the stack. Akishima was harangued by his superiors for losing my father. The police department of North Phyongan Province kept a sharp lookout along the River Amnokrom Huchang to Jukjon-ri\and continued the search for many days. But they never noticed the millet straw stack at Kadungnyong. I think my father understood the situation\and chose the right place to hide. In the meantime, the old man Kim went out to the River Amnok to examine whether the river was frozen over. He then taught my father how to cross it with the help of a long pole. The ice was not yet very thick, so the crossing was still hazardous. As he was taught by the old man, my father put the pole on the ice\and, pushing it forward with both hands, sprawled ahead. In this manner he crossed the Amnok safely. If you carry a long pole with you, you will not drown even when the ice gives way under you. This was a unique way of crossing a river that was coated with only thin ice. But during this river crossing my father got frostbite again. The frostbite he got at that time was a factor contributing to his death in Fusong a year later.
After safely crossing the river in such a desperate fashion, my father stayed in Taolaizhao village for a few days for treatment before leaving for Fusong, conducted by Kong Yong\and Pak Jin Yong who were Independence Army menrom the unit stationed in Fusong under the command of Jang Chol Ho; this unit was attached to the nationalist\organization Jongui-bu.
I have already mentioned the fact that my father became acquainted with Kong Yong through the introduction of O Tong Jin. Kong Yong camerom Pyoktong County. He was a faithful young man guided by my fatherrom the time when he was a member of the Pyoktong Youth Association for Independence\and then an armed member of the Pyokpha detached army barracks. He was on very intimate terms with my father. When he came to our home, he always stroked my hair, saying “Song Ju,” “Song Ju.”
I called him uncle until he later became a communist\and our comrade, our comrade-in-arms. After my father’s death Kong Yong, who was living in Wanlihe, would visit our home at least once every week bringing with him rice\and firewood,\and console my mother. His wife came to our house with her husband carrying a basketful of edible herbs on her head. He was so grieved at my father’s death that he did not stop wearing his mourning dress for quite a long time.
On his way to Fusong with the two men, my father was captured by mounted bandits near Manjiang\and was thus in danger again. That was a time when bandits were rampant everywhere. The confused\and uncertain situation at the time when warlords were at daggers drawn in their struggle for influence produced many bandits. Many menrom the dregs of society, finding no way out of their hopeless situation, took this road. To make matters worse, the Japanese imperialists infiltrated the bandit groups\and manipulated their leaders\or bred new bandits for the purpose of weakening the anti-Japanese forces. Moving about in hordes, the bandits would sack the people’s houses\or capture\and rob wayfarers of their money\or belongings. When they were out of humour, they would not hesitate to commit such brutalities as cutting off people’s ears\or beheading them. So the two men who were escorting my father were on the alert. My father told the bandits that he was a doctor, but the robbers would not let him go, insisting that a doctor must be rich. My father soothed\and humoured them; he said to them that being a doctor who was earning a scant livingrom his patients, he had no money, that if any one of them was ill, he could cure him,\and that back home, he would not report them to the authorities. With this he asked them to let him go, but they would not listen.
At this Kong Yong came to a decision. While the bandits were off their guard smoking opium after dinner, he extinguished the oil lamp\and helped my father\and Pak Jin Yong to escape before attacking the rascals, some ten in all, with skillful boxing. Then he made offrom the den of the bandits. That was a truly dramatic sight, resembling a fight scene in a film. My father often recalled with deep emotion the self-sacrificing deed of Kong Yong in this escape. Kong Yong was a devoted fighter who would not spare himself when it came to helping his comrades.
A few days later my father met Jang Chol Ho in Fusong. He had been a surveyor until a few years previously, but now he was a commander of a company of the Independence Army. When he saw the pale face of my father he was extremely worried\and asked him to rest until he was well again, at a place they had arranged for him. Other people, too, advised him to rest. In fact, my father was in such a state at the time that he should not keep going any longer without some treatment. My father realized this. It was the coldest time of the year. But he set out immediately on a journey to the north without thinking even of putting a wet compress on his sick body. Company Commander Jang Chol Ho conducted my father to his destination.
Huadian\and Jilin were the places he went to at that time. He went there in a great hurry, ignoring his frostbitten body, to speed up the integration of the independence movement\organizations into a single front\and the unity of the anti-Japanese patriotic forces. In those days the founding of a political party was at the top of the agenda for the independence movement champions.
With the development of thought\and the deepening of the infusion of the revolutionary idea, party politics had become the trend\and was spreading rapidly in the political circles of the world. Both bourgeois politicians\and communists supported party politics. With the October Revolution as a turning -point, Communist Parties were founded in succession in many Asian countries. With the spread of new ideological trends, the age of party politics began in the East. In 1921 a Communist Party was founded in China, our neighbour.
In this situation the pioneers of Korea pushed ahead with their activities to create an\organization capable of political leadership over the national liberation struggle.
Party politics requires as its prerequisite the establishment\and development of an idea\and ideal to serve as its guiding principle\and basis; without this it is scarcely conceivable.
Bourgeois nationalism emerged as an ideological trend in the modern history of our country\and guided the national liberation movement, but it withered away without having its own political party. In the arena of the national liberation struggle the new, communist ideological trend emerged in place of bourgeois nationalism. Among the pioneers of the new generation who were aware that bourgeois nationalism could no longer be the banner of the national liberation struggle, the number of adherents to communism increased rapidly. Many progressive elements in the nationalist camp turned to the communist movement.
The line set out at the Kuandian Meeting of changing course did not end simply as a declaration but was carried into reality by the pioneers within the nationalist movement. O Tong Jin was the first to put into effect the line of the Kuandian Meeting. After the meeting many people belonging to the Independence Army unit commanded by O Tong Jin came out in support of the Marxist-Leninist ideology. The Japanese imperialists called the new force that appeared in this period the “third force.”
The mid-1920s, when my father escapedrom the grip of the Japanese police\and went to Jilin via Fusong, was a period when the nationalist movement was being broken up between the reformists who sought a change of course\and the conservatives who opposed this.
With a clear understanding of the situation, my father decided that it was time to found a political\organization which would be capable of carrying the idea of reorientation into effect. The nationalist movement of the Koreans in Manchuria had so far been conducted with the idea of restoring state power primarily through direct armed operations\and through activities for self-government mainly with regard to education\and the people’s livelihood. But they had no\organization which could provide political leadership for this movement. So my father, together with the nationalists of the reformist group active in the Jilin area, set about preparing for the foundation of a new\organization capable of giving political leadership to all the military\organizations\and self-government bodies scattered across Manchuria.
The first thing done in this regard was the convening of a meeting at Niumaxiang in Jilin at the suggestion of my father. The meeting took place at the house of Pak Ki Baek (the father of Pak Il Pha) at the foot of Mt. Beishan, Jilin, early in 1925. It was attended by Ryang Ki Thak, Hyon Ha Juk, O Tong Jin, Jang Chol Ho, Kim Sa Hon, Ko Won Am, Kwak Jong Dae\and others who were the veterans\or the leaders of medium standing of the independence movement. They unanimously recognized the need for a political\organization capable of providing unified leadership for the independence movement\and adopted a decision by common consent on founding a single party in the near future. The meeting discussed various important problems relating to the founding of the party. According to what Ri Kwan Rin remembered, there was a particularly lively discussion at the meeting with regard to the name of the party. The question was whether the party would be called the Korean Revolutionary Party\or the Revolutionary Party of Koryo. It was agreed in the end that the name was important, but that it was still more important to lay down proper duties\and a proper programme for the party in line with the aim of their activities. So they settled on naming it the Revolutionary Party of Koryo\and passed on to debating its programme.
After a year the leaders of the independence movement who attended the Niumaxiang Meeting held a joint conference with delegatesrom the Chondoist reformist group\androm the Hyongphyong Associationrom the homeland, as well as with delegatesrom the Maritime Province of Siberia, at which they formed the Revolutionary Party of Koryo with the aim of “abolishing the present system of private property\and doing away with the existing state\organization so as to build a unitary world state based on communist institutions.” My ailing father was unable to attend this conference. After looking round Beishan\and Jiangnan Parks\and meeting the cadres of the young men’s\organization in Xinantun, my father returned to Fusong\and told us over the telephone to leave Linjiang. After travelling a short distancerom Linjiang, we met two Independence Army men sent by Company Commander Jang Chol Ho. They wore mourners’ hats,\and this was to evade the suspicious eyes of the special agents. We set out for Fusong in the horse-drawn carriage they had brought with them. Father came out as far as Daying, some 10 milesrom Fusong, to meet us. I felt as if all my anxieties were gone when I saw father smiling brightly, though looking unwell. Leading my younger brothers by the hand I went running up to him. Even before I could greet him, my brothers had seized him\and poured out what they had kept in their hearts for two months. While answering all their childish questions, father kept his eyes steadily on my face.
“I can see the water of the homeland has really done you good! After I sent you home to Korea, I could hardly sleep.\and here you are back, having become so grown-up\and strong!” said father joyfully.
That night our family sat in a happy circle\and talked until late, saying everything we wanted to tell one another. That was when I heard of Mr. Hwang\and old Mr. Kimrom Jonju who had helped my father to escape,\and of the saga of Kong Yong in the bandits’ lair in Manjiang.
While I was talking about what I had seen\and felt in the homeland, I told my father of my resolve never to cross the River Amnok again before Korea had regained her independence. Father looked at me with satisfaction; then he supported my resolve by saying that that was what a son of Korea should naturally do. Then he remarked that I should not think that my study of Korea had ended at Changdok School; I should continue to study with greater zeal to understand the homeland\and its people even after settling down in a foreign land.
A few days later I started at Fusong Primary School No. 1. My closest friend at that school was Zhang Wei-hua, a Chinese boy. He was a son of the Chinese who was the second\or third richest man in Fusong. There were dozens of private soldiers at his house. Almost all the insam (ginseng) farms in Donggang, Fusong County, belonged to the Zhangs. Every autumn they dug up insam roots\and took them to other provinces on horses\or donkeys to sell them. When they were going to other places to sell insam, their private soldiers would stand guard along the route. Although the father of Zhang Wei-hua was a wealthy\and well-known man, he was a man of conscience who hated imperialism\and loved his country. So was his son. In later years when I was engaged in my revolutionary activities, I was saved many times thanks to their help.
Among the Korean pupils, Ko Jae Bong, Ko Jae Ryong, Ko Jae Rim\and Ko Jae Su were my friends.
In the days when my father was conducting revolutionary activities in\and around Fusong, the situation was very unfavourable because the reactionary Chinese warlords had turned pro-Japanese\and were obstructing the activities of the Korean patriots in every possible way. Moreover, my father’s health was not good owing to the aftereffects of the terrible torture inflicted on him in Pyongyang\and in Phophyong\and of his frostbite. Nevertheless, my father did not slacken his revolutionary struggle in the least.
A new doorplate outside our house in the street of Xiaonanmen read “Murim Surgery.” In fact, my father was not in a position to treat any patients. Rather, he needed treatment himself. But before long he set off again on a trip. Everyone tried to dissuade him. Jang Chol Ho, Kong Yong, Pak Jin Yong\and all the other independence movement fighters in Fusong remonstrated against the trip. Uncle Hyong Gwon\and I tried to stop him,\and even my mother who normally supported\and backed up silently whatever he did entreated him to refrainrom going for this once.
But he stuck to his decision\and left Fusong. My father was so uneasy at the news that, because the upper levels of the Independence Army units operating in the area of Naidaoshan were not united\and were squabbling in several factions for influence, the army was in danger of disintegration.
On the instructions of Jang Chol Ho, a man escorted my father to Antu. When he left Fusong, he took some ten kilogrammes of millet\and a pot of bean paste for two men’s provisions in a knapsack,\and carried an axe\and a pistol with him. They would have to go hundreds of miles across a deserted country to reach their destination. They had a hard time going through the no-man’s-land, I heard later. At night they built a campfire in the open\and slept, leaning against a pile of logs with nothing to cover them. My father kept coughing so hard that the other man was constantly worried.
Even after his returnrom Antu, he continued to cough violently. A few days later, in spite of the bad state of his health, he began to work to obtain authorization for the opening of Paeksan School. This was a school with a long history established by the Korean exiles\and patriotic forerunners in the Fusong area in cooperation with the farmers at a time when a movement to establish private schools was briskly under way in the homeland. At first, the school was no more than the size of Sunhwa Private Village School for the study of Chinese classics in Mangyongdae which my father attended. So it was as big as a two-room farm house of today. Yet, the tiny Paeksan School had to be closed down for a long time because of a lack of funds. When our family moved to Fusong, a movement was afoot to reopen the school. Since the local warlord in authority backed up by the Japanese imperialists would not readily grant permission for the opening of the school, my father became extremely concerned.
Wherever he went, my father used to pay primary attention to the education movement\and set up schools. On the eve of its opening, my father went to the school with Jang Chol Ho, taking with them on carts desks\and chairs made at a woodworking mill. Although he did not stop working as a doctor at the “Murim Surgery,” his heart was always at the school. He became honorary headmaster of Paeksan School. He did not teach in person, but he showed interest in what was taught\and in the work of supporting the school. He often made speeches\and guided the extracurricular activities of the children at the school.
The Mother Tongue Reader used at Paeksan School was written by my father. After opening the school, he went to Sanyuanpu in Liuhe County,\and then wrote the textbook with someone named Pak Ki Baek (Pak Pom Jo) . When he wrote teaching materials, interested people took them to Sanyuanpu for printing,\and the printed books were distributed around Manchuria.
There was a printing house in Sanyuanpu under the control of the political\organization Jongui-bu,\and this printed school textbooks. Printing was done by lithography,\and the books printed there were attractive. The textbooks printed there were used at Korean schools in Manchuria.
My father called many meetings in Fusong to discuss problems of education\and dispatched able people to Antu, Huadian, Dunhua, Changbai\and other areas to set up schools\and night schools everywhere there were Koreans. The Yugyong School in Deyongcun village, Shibadaogou, Changbai County, was also founded in those days. Ri Je U who later joined the Korean Revolutionary Army\and became a member of the Down-with-Imperialism\union,\and anti-Japanese fighter Kang Ton attended this school.
As matters at Paeksan School were a success, my father again toured other parts of Manchuria\and conducted work among the independence movement fighters. The main part of his activities in this period was the struggle for achieving the unity\and cohesion of the independence movement. Since top of the agenda was the founding of a single party capable of implementing the line of the change of course, the problem of achieving the unity of the ranks of the independence movement which was the prerequisite for it became an urgent task which nobody could ignore. My father gave his last years entirely to this cause.
A new era was ushered in when the three\organizations of Jongui-bu, Sinmin-bu\and Chamui-bu came into being in Manchuria as a result of the amalgamation of the many small independence movement\organizations that had had their own areas of influence in the three provinces of Manchuria. But these three\organizations, too, were given to squabbling to expand their spheres of influence, only to be scorned by the people at large.
In this situation my father, who was convinced that unity was the most pressing historical need, held discussions about the measures for achieving the unity\and cohesion of the ranks of the independence movement with representativesrom the Korean National Association\and military\organizations at home\and abroad in Fusong in August 1925,\and formed the Association for the Promotion of the Alliance of National\organizations. My father’s intention was apparently to hasten the establishment of a single party through the activities of this association. He worked against time every day, busier than ever. It seems that he realized that his days were numbered.
Not long after that my father became seriously ill.rom the spring of 1926 he was confined to bed. Hearing of his illness, many peoplerom different places visited our house. Every time I came homerom school I saw five\or six pairs of unfamiliar shoes on the earthen verandah. The people came to inquire after the condition of my father, bringing medicines they believed to be efficacious for his health,\and consoled him. However poor they were, nearly everyone of them brought at least one insam root. But my father’s illness was too far-gone, so medicine had no effect on him. Spring was bringing a rich lifeblood to everything alive on Earth\and everything was singing of the new season. But alas, this could not restore my father’s health, even though everyone desired it so earnestly.
I was too worried to go to school in peace. One morning I turned back halfway to school\and went home. I was anxious about father.
“Why don’t you go to school?” he asked me sternly. I heaved a deep sigh, unable to say anything in reply. “Go,” he said. “A man with such a weak heart will never do anything great.” Thus he made me go to school.
One day O Tong Jin camerom Jilin with Jang Chol Ho to see my father. In accordance with the line set out at the Fusong conference he had been working hard to unite the anti-Japanese patriotic forces, but as things had not turned out as he had desired, he had been in anguish. So, he said, he had come partly to discuss the matter with my father\and partly to ask how he was. With this, he indignantly denounced those who were guilty of separatist acts. The hot-tempered Jang Chol Ho declared in a rage that they should break with those diehards.
My father who had been listening attentively to the two men took both of them by the hand\and said, “No, that won’t do. It may be a hard job, but we must bring about unity at all costs. We won’t win independence before we are united\and rise in arms against the enemy.”
After they had left, father spoke of the factional strife which had continuedrom the period of the Ri dynasty,\and he deplored the fact that when the country had been lost due to the factional struggle, the people who professed themselves to be champions of the independence movement were still unaware of the truth\and, split into many small groups, were squabbling in factions. Without doing away with the factional strife, he went on to say, it was impossible either to achieve the independence of the country\or to bring about civilization\and enlightenment. Factional strife is a cause of decline in national strength\and attracts foreign forces. When foreign forces come in, the country will go to ruin. During your generation it is imperative to root out the factional strife, achieve unity\and rouse the masses.
When I returned homerom school to nurse him, father had me sit by his bedside\and told me about many things. They were mainly accounts of his experiences in life,\and they were very instructive. One thing I cannot forget to this day is his remark about how a revolutionary should be prepared for three contingencies.
“Wherever he may go, a revolutionary must always be prepared for three contingencies. He must be prepared for deathrom hunger, deathrom a beating\and deathrom the cold; yet he must stick to the high aim he set himself at the outset.”
I engraved these words of my father deep on my heart. His remarks about friends\and friendship were also instructive.
“A man must not forget the friends he has gained in adversity. One must rely on one’s parents at home\and on one’s friends outside; that is what is traditionally said,\and it is an important saying. True friends who will be one’s partners through thick\and thin are dearer than one’s brothers.”
That day he talked for a long time about friends\and friendship. He said: I began the struggle by winning comrades. There are people who obtain money\or pistols to begin the independence movement, but I started by seeking in all places for good comrades. Good comrades will not fallrom heaven nor spring out of the earth. They must be looked for at great cost by oneself just as gold\or precious stones are prospected for,\and must be fostered. That is why I have moved around Korea\and the wilderness of Manchuria all my life until my feet were blistered. Your mother, too, has had a hard time being hospitable to guests, going hungry all her life. If you have a true heart that is dedicated to the country\and the people, you can obtain many good comrades. What matters is the mind\and the heart. Even without money people can be comrades if they are like-minded. This is why friendship that is hard to obtain with a mountain of money can be acquired with only a glass of hot water\or a slice of potato. I have neither a fortune nor power, but I have a great many good friends. If this can be called a fortune, I think I have the greatest of fortunes. I have never grudged my comrades anything. That is why my comrades have protected me at the risk of their lives. It is because my comrades have helped me selflessly that I have been able to devote myself to the movement for national liberation in the face of every manner of hardship\and trial.
He said that even in his sickbed he missed his friends more than anything else,\and told me over\and over again to find many good comrades.
“Only he who will die for the sake of his comrades will find good comrades.” Still now this teaching given me by my father remains deeply impressed on my mind.
For several months my mother nursed my father devotedly as he fought desperately against his illness. Her devotion was unequalled\and really touching. But even her superhuman exertions could not save my father.
On June 5, 1926, my father passed away under the small roof of a hut in a foreign land hundreds of miles awayrom his home, grieving over his lost country.
“When we were leaving our home, we said we would achieve independence\and return together. But I am afraid I cannot return. When the country wins its independence, you return home with Song Ju. I do not want to depart without attaining my aim. I entrust Song Ju to you. I wanted to give him education up to secondary school, but I think that is impossible. If you can, please send him to secondary school at least, even if you must live on gruel to do so. Then, as for the younger boys, everything will depend on Song Ju.”
My father’s last wish imparted to my mother began with these words. Handing over to her the two pistols he had always carried with him, he said:
“If these guns are discovered after my death, there will be trouble. So bury them\and then give them to Song Ju when he has grown up\and starts on the road of struggle.”
Then he gave us three brothers his last injunction:
“I am departing without attaining my aim. But I believe in you. You must not forget that you belong to the country\and the people. You must win back your country at all costs even if your bones are broken\and your bodies are torn apart.”
I wept loudly. My father’s death let loose my pent-up grief for my lost country. My father died after passing his life enduring every manner of hardship\and suffering for the sake of his country. Even when he was mortally ill because of repeated torture\and severe frostbite, he did not give in but went to meet the people\and his comrades. When he was exhausted, he walked with a cane,\and when he was hungry, he allayed his hunger by eating snow. He never looked back\or wavered; he always walked straight forward. My father did not take sides with any faction\or seek power but dedicated his whole life without hesitation to the cause of national liberation\and the working people’s well-being. He was freerom worldly desires\and self- interest. When he had money, he suppressed his desire to buy sweets for his children\and saved it up\and bought an\organ, which he contributed to a school. He placed his fellow- countrymen above himself,\and his motherland above his family. He moved forward without faltering in the teeth of the cold wind. He lived as a man of integrity\and an upright revolutionary. I never once heard my father talking about household affairs. I inherited a great dealrom my father in ideological\and spiritual wealth but nothing in the form of property\and money. The farm implements\and household utensils now on display in my old house are all legacies left behind by my grandfather, not by my father.
The thought of “Aim High,” being prepared for the three contingencies, the idea of gaining comrades,\and two pistols—this was all I receivedrom my father. My heritage was such that it portended great hardship\and sacrifice for me. Nevertheless, there could be no better heritage for me.
My father was accorded a public funeral. On the day of the funeral the street of Xiaonanmen was crowded with mourners. Many of his comrades, friends\and disciples who had followed\and respected him in his lifetime, as well as his former patients, streamedrom all parts of north\and south Manchuria, Jiandao\androm the homeland. Even the head of Fusong County called with a bundle of gilt incense papers. He burned incense\and bowed in tears before the spirit of my departed father.
It was decided that my father’s body would be laid to rest at Yangdicun on the bank of the River Toudao-Songhua some four kilometresrom Xiaonanmen. During his lifetime my father had often visited the village. He was great friends with the villagers, as close as brothers\and sisters,\and talked with them\and treated their illnesses. After his death, my father would have wished to be among the people with whom he had been so close. That day the four-kilometre- long roadrom Xiaonanmen to Yangdicun was a sea of wailing. The independence movement followers who were carrying the coffin wept bitterly. The Korean women in the Fusong area wore white ribbons in their hair for a fortnight after the funeral.
Thus I lost my father. I lost my father overnight,\and with him a teacher\and leader. He was my flesh\and blood who had given me a life\and, at the same time, a teacher\and leader who had led me along the path of the revolutionrom my early years. His death was a heavy blow to me. The irreparable loss left a hollow in my heart. At times I would go\and sit alone in tears on the riverside gazing at the far-off sky of the homeland.