페이지 정보작성자 편집국 작성일20-09-11 20:36 댓글0건
[Reminiscences]Chapter 20 5. The Tano Festival at Yushidong
5. The Tano Festival at Yushidong
After the Battle of Taehongdan, the main force of the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army shifted the theatre of its activities to the northeastern part of Mt. Paektu\and conducted brisk military\and political activities along the Tuman River. Typical of its military actions in that period was the battle of Wukoujiang,\and its most conspicuous political work among the masses of people was the Tano15 festival at Yushidong.
Yushidong in Helong County, China, is a mountain village across the Tuman Riverrom Musan County in Korea.
Years later, during an on-the-spot guidance tour of the Taehongdan area, on the Tuman River, the respected leader Comrade Kim Il Sung recalled with deep emotion the historical events that took place in the course of the KPRA’s military\and political activities in the northeastern part of Mt. Paektu after the operation in the Musan area.
I remember the football game played at Yushidong on the Tano festival in 1939. Over 30 years have gone by, but I can still recall that particular event. Some people may not believe that we guerrilla fighters took time out to play football; nevertheless, we didn’t spend every day of the year shooting\and battling. While fighting, we also had a life of culture\and leisure suitable to the characteristics of a guerrilla army. In the first half of the 1930s we frequently held sport events in the guerrilla zones. There were quite a few good football players in the Wangqing guerrilla unit.
Later, we had football games in Luozigou before our second expedition to northern Manchuria, as well as at Yushidong; they were quite interesting. The Korean residents in Jiandao were good footballers. The best among them were those living in Longjing.
After the Battle of Taehongdan, we moved the theatre of our struggle to the area northeast of Mt. Paektu, as planned, to build a strategic base for our revolution in that area. At the meeting of military\and political cadres, held at Dagou, Antu County, late in May that year, I set out the policy of building another strong bulwark of our revolution in the area northeast of Mt. Paektu through intensive military\and political activities in this area.
Our revolutionary bases, which had been newly established after the dissolution of the guerrilla zones, were mostly in West Jiandao\and in various parts of the homeland centring around Mt. Paektu. Given the situation, if we set up new revolutionary bases in the area northeast of Mt. Paektu\and the northern part of Korea along the Tuman, we would be able to extend the area of KPRA activities\and operations, as well as its bases in the rear, over the whole territory of Korea,\and while relying on those bases, give a stronger impetus to the Korean revolution as a whole.
Developing the revolution over a wider area is not a special undertaking. It is mainly a matter of building up the ranks of people who can be the motive force of revolution, extending the bases of activities,\and obtaining more weapons. In other words, solving the problem of manpower, land\and weapons to suit the objective situation\and increasing them steadily means developing the revolution in depth. As long as there are people, territory\and weapons, we are fully able to defend revolution, expand\and develop it.
In\order to establish bases, it is necessary above all to overwhelm the enemy through active military operations\and to create favourable cir-cumstances for free political work\and activities, so that\organizations among the local inhabitants of the areas concerned can be built. Only then will the enemy be preventedrom hampering the activities of the revolutionary army. Immediately after crossing the Tuman River following the Battle of Taehongdan, we struck the enemy at Dongjingping, Huifengdong, Wukoujiang,\and Qingtoucun,\and raided the lumber station near Qingshanli. All these battles were aimed at overwhelming the enemy militarily\and creating conditions favourable for KPRA activities.
After each battle we conducted political work among the masses\and built new\organizations. The joint celebration of the Tano festival by both the army\and people at Yushidong was a particular example of our political work.
Whenever we were in a new area, we stepped up the revolutionary transformation of the masses\and strengthened mass foundations for the armed struggle through lively political work among the local inhabitants by applying a variety of forms\and methods suited to the area. This was our traditional work method\and consistent mode of activities.
At first we had no plans to celebrate the Tano festival at Yushidong, so no preparations were made. The enemy’s suppression in the area was so harsh\and the situation so grave that no one even thought of holding a celebration. We only decided to celebrate the festival after we had met the residents of Helong,\where we moved after our offensive in the Musan area.
As seemed to be the case everywhere we went, the people in Jiandao at that time were full of fear\and in low spirits.
The first people we met in Helong were two young peasant brothers, both addicted to opium-smoking. In those days the northeastern area in China was infested with opium addicts\and opium was even used as money at that time. The more misruled the country is, the more prevalent are drugs like opium. The peasant brothers had drifted to Jiandao on the wind of emigrationrom Korea.
I wondered why these young people of fine appearance took pleasure in opium-smoking. I asked them why they were interested in a terrible habit that sapped their strength in both body\and mind, a strength so essential to their work as farmers.
They replied without any compunction: “How can we live in this rotten world without smoking opium? We are living simply because it’s impossible to die,\and opium is the only thing that helps us forget the world. We first tried to console ourselves with drinking, but drinking needs companions to make it fun. The Japanese ban gatherings of people for pleasure even on holidays, calling it illegal, so we can’t drink liquor, can we? That’s why we decided to smoke opium.”
They continued: “In a few days, it will be the Tano festival, but what’s the use of such a holiday when people are not allowed to get together even for a bit of home-brewed liquor? In the past when we were at our native village, we used to have a good time on this day, wrestling, playing on the village swing\and eating rice cakes mixed with mugwort. Now that we are deprived of our country, we can’t even think of such a holiday.”
Listening to their complaints, I felt my heart ache. A human being without dreams is as good as dead. We live for the sake of meaning in life, not simply to eat\and sleep. By life’s meaning I mean its worth, the pride one feels in one’s life. A worthwhile life means that one lives the life of a worthy person, exercising one’s rights as a human being\and creating one’s own course in life. The lives of the young brothers who were addicted to opium were worth nothing. What life was there for people confined by a wall\or a wire fence? That was mere existence, not life. Existence without life is worthless\and without meaning.
From my childhood I had not liked opium-smokers, but I felt a certain sympathy for the young peasant brothers.
I persuaded them: “It’s a crime for you as Korean young people to idle away your time, smoking opium, when the nation’s destiny is at stake. Look! These young\orderlies\and even these women fighters have taken up arms to save the nation. Shame on you! You must give up opium-smoking.”
The elder of the two scratched his head, saying that he did feel quite ashamed of living without a purpose.
After meeting the peasant brothers, I decided that we should conduct military\and political activities more energetically in\order to invigorate the people\and encourage them to live with more hope in freedom. Political activities through speeches alone would not inspire the people. The people wanted to see\and hear about the victorious revolution. Fighting made the revolution tangible for them. The 1930s was a period when a gunshot made a far greater impact than a long-winded speech.
We therefore stepped up our military actions along with our political work. First we attacked the enemy at Huifengdong,\where the peasant brothers were living,\and a nearby internment village. Our attack was so strong that the enemy was unable to fire even a single shot, but ran off into the mountains in disarray. At this sight the inhabitants of Huifengdong were beside themselves with joy.
Alarmed at our move to the area northeast of Mt. Paektu\and the ensuing battles, in which we killed several hundred enemy troops through successive attacks on more than ten internment villages situated along the Tuman River, the Japanese imperialists made frantic efforts to hold us in check. This was the time when the Kwantung Army had provoked the brush-fire war in Khalkhin-Gol. When the war broke out, tens of thousands of Japanese troops moved to the front,\and the enemy made a great fuss, saying it was really a time of emergency. Right at this time of emergency, the revolutionary army made one attack after another in their rear, thus adding to their confusion.
The Japanese were everywhere in the mountains around Helong. Their forces for the “punitive” operations were so large that one day my chief of staff who had watched the enemy through his field-glasses returned, his face pale with alarm. He told me that we would incur heavy losses if we fought any more battles. He meant that enemy strength was incomparably greater than ours.
I told him: “From the moment it was\organized, our army has fought an enemy dozens\and even hundreds of times larger than us. It’s absurd to give up our planned operations simply because our force is smaller than the enemy. In such a situation we must strike the enemy even harder, without giving them a breathing space\and by employing diverse tactics.”
Around that time our Headquarters obtained reconnaissance information that a Japanese officer, who had been awarded his emperor’s commendation for distinguished services at the front in northern China, had arrived in Bairiping to command the “punitive” forces. The officer was said to be on his way to Japan on leave for his military exploits. Hearing the rumour that the main force of the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army had appeared in Antu\and Helong, attacking the internment villages there, he bragged; “It is the shame of the Japanese army\and nation that we have been suffering one defeat after another, unable to deal with a guerrilla army. I will wipe out this disgrace by annihilating Kim Il Sung’s army.” It seemed he was rather full of himself.
I was told the Japanese officer liked to pass himself off as a commander of matchless valour. He had even had his chest tattooed with Asura, a buddhist “demon fighter”.
Our scouts, who had been to Bairiping, brought, in addition to the story about Asura, the strange piece of news that the Japanese police in Helong County were preparing some Tano festival gifts to us. How comical it was that the “demon fighter” who had been awarded the emperor’s commendation\and was on his way to his native village on leave should come to Bairiping of his free will to “punish” our army on the one hand,\and for the police to be preparing festive gifts for us on the other! If this was true, the enemy’s gift preparation was surely a comedy without a precedent. It was obvious that the gifts would be a fake.
I decided that the enemy was so impudent as to prepare gifts because they had simply not been hit hard enough by the revolutionary army. I therefore planned alluring themrom Bairiping towards the Wukou River\and annihilating them at a blow.
The battleground we had chosen was a reed field not farrom Bairiping. The field bordered the Wukou, along one side of which was a motorway. On both sides of the river\and the motorway were forests favourable for ambush. The enemy appeared on the shore of the Wukou in the late morning as the fog was beginning to lift. Several hundred heavily-armed troops were marching in high spirits with a number of machine-guns at the head.
Just as the column entered our ambush area, a Japanese officer wearing a long sword at his side suddenly stopped by a ditch\and shouted that there were some strange marks. At his shout, the enemy column came to a halt. Some of his subordinate officers ran towards the ditch\and looked into it, cocking their heads. One of our comrades might have left footprints there. When the fight was over, our men searched the battlefield, uncovering the chests of the dead bodies of the Japanese officers; they found that the officer who had been wearing the long sword\and had first discovered our traces by the ditch was the Asura himself, the commander of the “punitive” force.
The moment the Asura roserom stooping by the ditch, I gave the\order to fire. In no time we had killed\or captured over 200 enemy troops. The Asura fell right there beside the ditch, without drawing his swordrom its sheath. Our soldiers sneered, saying that if he had gone home\and spent his leave in comfort, nothing would have happened to him. He died because of his blind arrogance.
That was the well-known Battle of Wukoujiang\or Bairiping. Jo Myong Son wrote his reminiscences about the battle\and I read it. After their bitter experience in that battle, the enemy did not dare to reappear in that area.rom then on, the people called the villages on the shore of the Wukou the “off-limits villages”, closed to the enemy.rom then on we could conduct our political work there freely.
The Tano festival that year turned into a festivity celebrating the KPRA units’ brilliant victories on the Wukou\and in various other battles fought on the Tuman River.
The villages on the Tuman were enveloped in a joyful atmosphere, as if on liberation day. The young\and middle-aged people prepared swings\and wrestling grounds, all set to enjoy the coming Tano festival day to their hearts’ content.
On our way backrom the Battle of Wukoujiang, an interesting event took place. A peasant called on us, bringing with him a variety of food, cigarettes\and wine. At first we thought they were aid goods sent by the people. To our surprise, however, the peasant waved his hands, saying that they were not his own gifts but holiday goods sent to General Kim Il Sung by the chief of police in Helong County. The information brought earlier by our scouts had proved to be true.
The gift package sent by the enemy contained also a sealed letter to O Paek Ryong. The enemy addressed to O Paek Ryong in particular, probably because they knew that I held him in trust. The letter said: “Having fought the Japanese empire for nearly ten years, you have no doubt found out just how strong the empire is. As the Tano festival approaches, what about taking our gift, giving up your fight,\and paying an annual tribute to us? If you refuse to listen to this warning, you will be taught a bitter lesson.”
Later on we found out that the warning letter had been written by Unami, commander of the police “punitive” troops active in Helong County, on the instructions of the Japanese imperialists. Unami was concurrently holding the office of chief of the police affairs section in Helong County. When he was young, he had come over to Manchuria\and worked as a policeman for the Japanese consulate, pledging himself to devote his life to the fight against the communists.
We first met with him in the autumn of 1932. On our returnrom the expedition to southern Manchuria, we had attacked the Dunhua county town,\and he had fired back at us franticallyrom the police station of the Japanese consulate in the town. Thanks to his survival in that battle, he had been given a commendationrom his superiors.
The Japanese army had an institution\whereby the dead in battle, either in victory\or defeat, was promoted to one rank higher,\and received a large sum as a bonus. Even the wounded received a bonus. In a capitalist army controlled by money, there would be no other way of stimulating the fighters except with money. Ri To Son, too, got one more star on his shoulder-strap after his death.
Serving in different places in eastern Manchuria, Unami climbed up the police intelligence ladder\and around 1939 became commander of a police “punitive” force of several hundred troops.
In his interview with journalists years later, Unami referred to the letter as a “warning note”, but to us it was something of a request. Having failed in their military attempt, the enemy tried to placate us in\order to achieve their purpose.
To be effective, a warning note needs to be sent at an opportune moment: for instance, when the other side is on the defensive\and in confusion,\or when it is too exhausted to fight.
Unami, however, was mistaken both in his timing\and in choosing his object. In those days we were on the offensive rather than on the defensive,\and our armed struggle was at a high tide, not at a low ebb. The KPRA was strong in both its forces\and tactics. He was obviously afraid of us, yet at the same time he seemed to be regarding us as an army running short of resources.
Unami sent us his warning note at a time when Tsutsui, the chief of the police department of North Hamgyong Province, went down to Samjang Subcounty, Musan County on the instructions of Minami, the Governor-General of Korea, with a lot of comfort goods\and journalists. The purpose of the visit was to console the soldiers\and policemen who had been hit by us. After the Battle of Pochonbo, too, Minami had dispatched the so-called inspection team, headed by the chief of the police affairs bureau of the Government-General of Korea, to the battlefield on a mission to investigate the situation after the battle.
Even though Unami had hectored us in his so-called warning note with his talk of a “bitter lesson”, his words were nothing but a bluff. I told O Paek Ryong to write in reply to the letter. O Paek Ryong was not a particularly good writer, but that letter he wrote quite well. He said: “You have gone through all sorts of hardships for seven\or eight years to ‘punish’ us,\and\where the hell did it get you? You have only supplied us with arms\and food. What else did you manage to accomplish? It’s you who are wretched, not us. You poor sods, why don’t you stop your futile efforts\and go back home\where your wives\and children are waiting for you? In a few days it’ll be the Tano festival. I suggest you prepare some cake\and wait for me. I’ll be your guest\and I’ll teach you what you need to do.” His letter was worded rather strongly.
I instructed that on the Tano festival day all the inhabitants living along the twelve-kilometre Yushidong valley, as well as the people of Huifengdong\and its neighbouring villages, be invited to the sports event.
In Yushidong there’s a tableland several hectares wide. We set up goalposts there\and held our football game. The news that we had even held a football match, enjoying the holiday in a calm\and composed manner right in the heart of Helong at a time when the enemy was massing its “punitive” troops, would have a far greater effect than a few battles\or several hundred words of speech. The football match in the enemy-ruled area was another unique example of our political activities.
The football match between the soldiers of the revolutionary army\and the young villagers was great fun. Their technique was not worth mentioning\and their teamwork was loose, but the players of both teams did their best, kicking at the air now\and then,\or slipping\and falling down on the grassland, drawing bursts of laughterrom the onlookers.
The old folks said it was the first time since the village had come into being that the villagers of Yushidong were able to laugh\and forget their worries.
The match ended in a draw, but its political score was ten out of ten. Both the swinging competition\and the wrestling match were enjoyable to
watch,\and the joint amusement of army\and people\and art performances recorded a volley of encores, exceeding the scheduled time by far. The villagers expressed their gratitude to the revolutionary army for\organizing the festival.
On that day scores of young villagers in Yushidong joined our ranks, proof that our political work had hit its mark with the villagers. We must regard sports events\and entertainment as one form of political work.
In our country there are thousands of theatres, cinemas\and cultural halls. If the assembly halls in institutions\and enterprises are all added up, they will number tens of thousands that can serve as nice places for political work\and mass cultural activities. Our officials, however, are not using them effectively. These halls have been built with a large investment, yet they are often left vacant, except for times when important events\or meetings are taking place. How good it would be if officials were to\organize in those nice buildings lectures on scientific developments\or the current situation,\oratorical contests\or poetry recitals,\and public meetings with noted scientists, writers, artists, sportsmen, heroes\and labour innovators!
As guerrillas we had no microphones, theatres\or radio stations, yet in spite of our difficult situation we conducted uninterrupted political activities among the popular masses by doing our best with what we had.
In the years that followed, the inhabitants of Yushidong\and its vicinity helped our struggle actively. I think the young peasant brothers in Huifengdong must have given up opium\and joined the fight as\organization members.
The great leader’s activities for the revolutionary transformation of the villages on the Tuman River were not confined to Helong. He paid close attention to the revolutionary movement in the homeland as well. Some days before the Tano festival he had come over to Peak Kuksa in Korea\and held a meeting of the chiefs of underground revolutionary\organizations\and political operatives in the homeland. Peak Kuksa is situated on the Sodusu River, a tributary of the Tuman.
The principal architect of the meeting on Peak Kuksa,rom preparation to convocation, was Ri Tong Gol, who was the chief of the political operatives team. Whenever this meeting was mentioned, the fatherly leader used to recollect Ri Tong Gol with a feeling of special affection\and intimacy, always speaking highly of him as a loyal commander.
After the Battle of Taehongdan we moved to Helong,\where we immediately held the meeting of the Headquarters’ Party Committee\and wrote off Comrade Ri Tong Gol’s penalty. On the same day we entrusted him with responsibility for political work in the homeland.
The revolution in the homeland had a mountain of work lying ahead of it. The major task was to restore\and expand as soon as possible the underground revolutionary\organizations, destroyed in the “Hyesan incident”. We sent Ri Tong Gol to the Musan area to build a strong network of underground\organizations there similar to the ones Ri Je Sun\and Pak Tal had once built.
I told him that I had plans to hold a meeting of the heads of underground revolutionary\organizations\and political operatives in the homeland at a suitable place in the Musan area,\and I instructed him to make preparations for the meeting. Ri Tong Gol did a good job of the preparations. He first worked actively with the Korean inhabitants of the Chinese villages on the Tuman River; relying on their help, he then spent time in the homeland, finding out the\organizational line\and expediting the preparations for the meeting carefully.
Kim Jong Suk helped him greatly in those days, acting as a liaison between Headquarters\and Ri. We sent her to the frontier villages on the Tuman River for frequent contacts with Ri Tong Gol. She conveyed our instructions\and intentions to him in time. In those days the peasants in Samjang Subcounty, Musan County, did not have enough farmland. They used to go over to China to grow their crops throughout the summer, returning in autumn to Korea with the crops they had harvested. The inhabitants of Musan called this “Jiandao farming”. Even among the peasants of Kapsan there were quite a few engaged in “Jiandao farming”. Kim Jong Suk worked first with the peasants who came to China for farming\and through them got in touch with the homeland.
Ri Tong Gol\and Kim Jong Suk played the leading role in converting Musan\and Yonsa to a revolutionary line.
Less than 20 days after he had been assigned the task, Ri Tong Gol had already finished the preparations for the meeting.
On the day of the meeting, Ri Tong Gol took me across the Tuman River over a dam built by raftsmen,\and we climbed up Peak Kuksa, the prearranged meeting place. At the meeting we discussed measures to expand underground revolutionary\organizations\and to set the Korean revolution on a path of continuous expansion.
After the meeting Ri Tong Gol made two suggestions to me: one was to expand\and develop the\organization he had set up in Samjang into the Yonsa area, as pointed out at the meeting, thus developing it into a model of Party\and ARF\organizations; the other was to invite the heads of the homeland\organizations\and all the other participants at the meeting to the Tano festival at Yushidong so that they could see for themselves our methods of political work.
I agreed to his suggestions.
After the meeting Ri Tong Gol accompanied us to Yushidong\and celebrated the Tano festival. He then went to a secret rendezvous to pass on the policy set forth at the meeting on Peak Kuksa to ARF\organizations. As he was preparing to leave for the Yonsa area in touch with a member of homeland\organization, he was surprised by the enemy, wounded\and captured.
After his arrest an\organization member came to the Wukoujiang Secret Camp, carrying a secret note Ri Tong Gol had entrusted to him. The note contained the ciphered account of the state of the underground\organizations in Dagou, Antu County,\and in Yushidong, Helong County, as well as in Samjang\and Yonsa in Korea, together with his plan of activities in the Yonsa area. Apparently, Ri Tong Gol had made a note of necessary informationrom time to time\and handed it over to the\organization member as a precaution.
According to Pak Tal, even behind bars Ri Tong Gol encouraged the revolutionary comrades to struggle, communicating with them by knocking at the walls of his cell. He also fought well in court. Whenever he appeared in court, he demonstrated the spirit of a communist by shouting the slogan, “Long live the Korean revolution!”
Ri Tong Gol, like Kim Ju Hyon, had committed a serious mistake in the course of his work, but had corrected his error through revolutionary practice\and ended his life honourably. A human being is not a machine, so he may commit errors in his work. How he corrects his errors depends on his ideology\and preparedness. Ri Tong Gol had not only criticized himself sincerely for his errors, but had also trained himself ideologically after his dismissalrom the post of regimental political commissar. That was why he was trusted again by his comrades before long.
A man’s true worth reveals itself most clearly when he has been punished. When punished by his\organization, an ill-prepared person usually complains about the punishment, saying it is too severe\or undeserved\or exaggerated instead of accepting it honestly.\and he takes revenge in one way\or the other upon those who have criticized him. He also gives a wide berth to his comrades in the revolution. What pleasure is there in such a life? If he keeps his heart shut to his comrades, he will drift awayrom his collective\and end up dreaming of something else.
Enlightened people, however, always accept their comrades’ criticism honestly\and seriously, no matter how severe it may be. Such people regard criticism as a tonic.
Even after they were given the heavy penalty of being dismissedrom the post of commander, Kim Ju Hyon\and Ri Tong Gol did not lose heart\or degenerate, but corrected their errors instead, for they had fully absorbed their comrades’ criticism\and regarded it as something invigorating.
One’s ability to accept comrades’ criticism is a barometer of one’s personality\and self-enlightenment. Ri Tong Gol was a communist who can be held up as a model in terms of personality\and edification.
Even after his death his painstaking efforts became hundreds of sparks on the Tuman River\and in the depth of the homeland. After Ri Tong Gol’s arrest, Kim Jong Suk went to the Yonsa area in his place to link the members of the Party\and ARF\organizationally\and to develop these\organizations as Ri had intended. The\organizations constituted a great force in the all-people resistance.
As you can see, the Tuman River should never be viewed with indif-ference.
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