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북녘 | [Reminiscences]Chapter 19 8. In the Forest of Nanpaizi

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작성자 편집국 작성일20-09-06 19:05 댓글0건




[Reminiscences]Chapter 19 8. In the Forest of Nanpaizi





8. In the Forest of Nanpaizi 

 In the latter half of the 1930s when the anti-Japanese armed struggle was at its height, the Japanese imperialists stepped up their military offensive against the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army, while at the same time doggedly pursuing a scheme they had cooked up to get what they had failed to get with guns. They figured that if they set in motion a “hunt for surrender” by sending traitors to the revolution as emissaries to the guerrilla army, they would be able to undermine the revolutionary fighters ideologically. They made turncoats\and those who had\dropped out of the revolutionary ranks their “surrender hunters”. Among these stooges were some of the great leader’s schoolmates\and others who had had some connection with his revolutionary activities.

Whenever he referred to the meeting at Nanpaizi, the great leader mentioned Ri Jong Rak\and Pak Cha Sok, his mates at Hwasong Uisuk School as well as his comrades in the days of the Down-with-Imperialism\union, for it was these two who had come to the secret camp on a mission to hunt for the great leader’s “surrender”.

I think I will touch in passing upon Ri Jong Rak\and Pak Cha Sok who came to see me at the time of the meeting at Nanpaizi. They were my mates at Hwasong Uisuk School,\and joined me in\organizing the Down-with-Imperialism\union\and the Society for Rallying Comrades13. They had also worked with me in raising the Korean Revolutionary Army. People working together for revolution over several years become bonded to each other as closely as if they were blood brothers. These two schoolmates were also my comrades in the revolution for four to five years.

Pak Cha Sok\and Ri Jong Rak became my close companions a little earlier than Kim Hyok\and Cha Kwang Su\and other comrades in my Jilin days. When we were forming the DIU at Huadian, Kim Hyok\and Cha Kwang Su had not yet joined us. Pak Cha Sok\and Ri Jong Rak were the core of the\organization. I can say, therefore, that they were my earliest comrades\and companions in the revolution.

It’s a highly significant moment when people who were committed to a student\and youth movement\and an underground struggle happen to meet again after many years of forced separation. People who have been unable to hear rom one another\and have no idea whether the other was alive\or dead because one might have been fighting arms in hand in the mountains while the other was locked up behind bars by the enemy–such people will have a deeply meaningful reunion.

To my regret, however, our reunion was not even pleasant, because Ri Jong Rak\and Pak Cha Sok had come to the secret camp on a mission rom their Japanese bosses to cajole us into “surrender”. They came to see me not as old comrades of the revolution, but as marionettes of the Japanese under\orders to bargain for my capitulation. That these erstwhile prisoners had undertaken such a bargain meant they had betrayed not only me but the revolution as well. Hence they could not be seen as honourable guests.

I found it a bitter experience to sit together with these old schoolmates who had betrayed the revolution.

I seem to remember it was in the latter half of the 1930s that the enemy launched their “surrender hunting” campaign against the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army on a large scale\and in a more atrocious manner than ever before.

In the early days the Japanese imperialists had not yet adopted “surrender hunting” as the basic strategy in their war against the anti-Japanese armed forces. They had concentrated all their efforts on armed attacks against the young anti-Japanese guerrillas\and the Chinese anti-Japanese nationalist forces. They had not recognized\or used\or permitted any other method than the armed attack. They had concentrated only on the policy of the “punitive” attack. In this context, Japanese army headquarters had not even approved of “surrender hunting”, probably considering such a thing to be childish\and contrary to their samurai spirit. As a matter of fact, they had actually enforced a rule they called “strict prohibition of inducing surrender”.


From this we can see that Japanese army headquarters had looked upon the anti-Japanese armed forces in Northeast China as a target capable of being destroyed by armed attack alone\and countered us only by that means. No doubt it had boosted their confidence in their military capabilities when they saw Zhang Xue-liang’s 300,000-strong army collapse overnight at the time of the September 18 incident.

However, their armed strike had failed to check the growth of the anti-Japanese guerrilla army\and the development of the armed struggle against them. In these circumstances, the Japanese imperialists invented what they called “cultural punitive operations”, by which they meant “rooting up basic evils”, “ideological indoctrination”\or “surrender hunting”.

It is interesting to see what the Japanese imperialist aggressors had to say\and to discover why they came to employ the tactics of “cultural punitive operations” which were supposed to “eradicate the basic roots” of the anti-Japanese armed struggle\and “prevent the regrowth of these roots”.

The Thought Monthly, published by the criminal bureau of the Japanese Ministry of Justice, has the following to say in its issue No.77 (pp. 139-41, November 1940):

“As for the reason why it is so difficult to punish the communist bandits, this is because the communist army burns with a fanatical fighting spirit based on communism. It uses cunning propaganda as well as guerrilla tactics expressed in phrases such as, ‘We retreat when the enemy attacks,\and we advance when the enemy withdraws.’ It operates rom the guerrilla zones, that is, dense forests in deep mountains,\and wins over the people by means of clandestine propaganda activities. That is why it is understandable that armed punitive attacks alone are unsuccessful. ...

“Recourse to armed forces alone may be effective for a time, but will never eradicate the basic roots\or prevent their regrowth; it will have no more effect than brushing away flies rom food,\or cutting off weeds at the shoot.

“In other words, the main reason for the failure to prevent them rom acting as they please in spite of repeated punitive operations is that so far only armed efforts have been made. We have neglected the work of eradicating the basic roots, that is, ideological work,\and have left the matter to the army alone, without enlisting the cooperation of all the state machinery.”


While conducting “surrender hunting” on a large scale in the name of “cultural punitive operations”, the enemy pursued the policy of “wiping out bandits by using bandits”. They formed “punitive” forces with those who had deserted the anti-Japanese armed ranks\and surrendered\or defected to the enemy, putting them to work conducting “punitive” operations against their former comrades-in-arms, superiors\and subordinates.

The fact that the enemy stepped up the use of such a non-military method as “cultural punitive operations” in the latter half of the 1930s is a clear indication of the total failure by that time of their one-sided policy of military action, a ploy they had considered unbeatable at that time. That was why they had to resort to the despicable scheme of “surrender hunting”.

In the 1937-38 period our anti-Japanese armed struggle was in full swing. Our force was very strong,\and our battle results were brilliant. We could even attack a number of large walled towns without difficulty. Under the influence of the armed struggle, the mass struggle also increased in intensity. However, the anti-Japanese revolution, which was at its peak thanks to our unremitting efforts, suffered a tremendous setback with the expedition to Rehe. Yang Jing-yu’s 1st Corps\and many other units of the Anti-Japanese Allied Army in Northeast China lost the bulk of their troops in the expedition. Deserters\and defectors appeared among the anti-Japanese forces. Several commanding officers abandoned the armed struggle\and surrendered to the enemy.

With these developments the enemy judged that the anti-Japanese armed forces in Northeast China were on the verge of collapse. They believed that we had been demoralized into a rabble\and were divided among ourselves beyond remedy,\and that one way\or another, they could wipe us out.

I think that a few instances of success in their “surrender hunting” also stimulated their appetite for these “cultural punitive operations”. The surrender of some major commanding officers rom our side left the enemy with the belief that there was a\limit to the faith\and will of the communists. With this assumption, the enemy undertook a campaign to demoralize the People’s Revolutionary Army.


The Japanese imperialists made the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army the main target of their “cultural punitive operations” by intensifying the military offensive on the one hand, while on the other persisting in “surrender hunting”.

Why did they direct their main “punitive” efforts at the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army? Obviously, because the KPRA was their main enemy, having threatened the Japanese imperialists most dangerously all through the first half of the 1930s,\and also because the KPRA was the strongest of the anti-Japanese armed forces in Northeast China, the most difficult enemy to destroy.

That was why the operations of the KPRA so often appeared in press reports. The news of our struggle even reached the United States.

An article published in Sinhan Minbo, a newspaper for Korean compatriots in the United States, reads in part:

“A detailed Tianjin news dispatch says that the most courageous\and efficient fighting force among the Korean\and Chinese volunteers is the Korean division under the command of General Kim Il Sung, a Korean. (According to newspapers in Japan\and news rom Korea, Mr. Kim Il Sung’s armed force, operating rom its base in Jiandao, crossed the border last June\and attacked Pochonbo, Kapsan, to strike terror into the hearts of the Japanese army\and police. The subsequent actions of his army were frequently reported by Dong-A Ilbo\and other newspapers.)...

“They are solidly united\and determined to share life\and death with each other. Their unity is all the stronger because it is supported by a sort of systematic family rule\and by traditional spiritual training leading to self-sacrificing cooperation, loyalty\and courage. Under the Commander’s\orders the men will go through fire\and water. ... Their aim is to destroy the enemy to save their nation,\and their strategy is based mostly on guerrilla warfare–appearing rom God knows\where\and disappearing to God knows\where–to throw the enemy off balance.

“A Soviet military expert observed, ‘If China\and Japan declare war formally against each other, the Japanese will need 200,000 troops to cope with the volunteer forces in this one corner of Manchuria.’ If this observation is reliable, then they are truly a great force.” (Sinhan Minbo, September 30, 1937.)


The Japanese imperialists tried to wipe out the KPRA by resorting to military means, misleading propaganda\and so forth, but they failed. They were literally helpless.

The more the enemy intensified their offensive, the stronger our forces grew,\and the wider the news of our fighting spread.

Failing in both their “punitive” operations\and their lying propaganda, the Japanese imperialists adopted the idea of “surrender hunting” because they were at their wits’ end. How much they pinned their hopes on this method can be seen in the fact that they went\and dragged out my grandmother for this purpose.

The enemy\selected the main targets for their “cultural punitive operations” rom among important persons. Their scheme was not simple.

Their scheme to “hunt for the surrender” of Yang Jing-yu was undertaken by the “Provincial Surrender Hunting Section”, while the “hunt” for me was in charge of the “Central Special Surrender Hunting Section” that belonged to Police Headquarters under the Public Security Ministry of Manchukuo.

It was said that an official document of the Japanese imperialists existed dealing with their military\and police attempts to use my teacher rom my days of Fusong Primary School for the purpose of their “surrender hunting”. But there was no instance of my teacher coming to see me\or sending a message to me.

Pak Cha Sok\and Ri Jong Rak appeared at the Nanpaizi secret camp in the midst of the enemy’s “surrender hunting”. When the enemy failed in their scheme to use my relatives, they sent my old schoolmates to do the job.

I guessed that the Japanese had sent Pak Cha Sok to sound out my reaction to their “surrender hunting”\and that they had kept Ri Jong Rak for a showdown at the end.

Pak Cha Sok came to our secret camp when my unit was at Nanpaizi. One day the security NCO at the guard post sent an\orderly to notify me

that a man, Pak Cha Sok by name, had come to see me. I was surprised at the news. He had been captured by the enemy while operating in the homeland in the summer of 1930. I became suspicious of his purpose in coming to Nanpaizi rom prison all of a sudden. Even if he had been released after serving his term, how could he, who had to be on the blacklist, evade the strict surveillance of the enemy\and slip into this secret camp through double\and triple rings of Japanese troops? If he had come all the way to work for the revolution again, I might have hoisted him on my shoulders\and called for cheers, but it was not normal for the enemy to have given him such freedom. Despite my suspicion, however, I decided to see him, since he had come all this way. I also thought he could tell me how Uncle Hyong Gwon\and Choe Hyo Il were getting on in prison,\and many other things I wished to know.

I found a different man in Pak Cha Sok, although his appearance was the same as before. He was glad to see me as if he had met a member of his family rom whom he had been forced to separate. But at the time, he looked dispirited somehow.

I asked him\where his former high spirit had gone,\and why he had become so timid. I told him to look into the future\and pluck up his courage now that he had survived penal servitude.

He said, however, that he had become a turncoat in prison,\and confessed in tears how he had become a stooge of the enemy\and why he had come to Nanpaizi. While suffering in prison for several years after being sentenced, he had lost his confidence in the triumph of the revolution\and had begun to waver. When he saw Uncle Hyong Gwon tied to a cross\and being beaten he had completely lost his spirit to resist. Sensing that Pak Cha Sok was vacillating, the enemy had moved him to another prison. Releasing him before his term expired, they had forced him to switch sides\and involved him in the “surrender hunting team”.

Pak Cha Sok was recruited by Jang So Bong specifically for the “surrender scheme” aimed at me. Jang So Bong, himself a turncoat, had distinguished himself earlier in revolutionizing Kalun, working together with Kim Hyok\and Kim Won U when we were pioneering in central Manchuria. He was also arrested with Ri Jong Rak at the Changchun railway station in early 1931 while working to obtain weapons. The enemy put a geisha in his service\and made a home for them in Changchun, then went on to use him as their full-time special agent. As the Japanese espionage\organization searched for people who had been closely linked with me, Jang So Bong recruited Ri Jong Rak, who in turn picked up Pak Cha Sok.

Pak Cha Sok confessed to me honestly that when interrogated by the enemy, he had owned up to all the details of his connection with me–that he had been close to me in our DIU days, how we had formed the Anti-Imperialist Youth League, what he had done in Jilin\and its surroundings after the formation of the Young Communist League, how he had become a member of an armed group\and how he had been sent to the homeland.

I asked whether he was doing this thing on his own,\or on someone’s\orders.

He said that he had no official position, but was forced to come here by the Japanese. He added in tears–although he knew that such a trick would have no effect on me–that he had availed himself of this opportunity just to come\and see me in person. I thought he told the truth when he said he simply wanted to see me.

Pak Cha Sok gave us several pieces of information we needed. He also told me about his journey to Mangyongdae to wheedle my grandmother into “surrender hunting”. He was born in Pyongyang,\and as a boyhood friend of Uncle Hyong Gwon’s he often visited Mangyongdae to see my uncle. In the course of this, he had got to know my grandparents.

Pak Cha Sok said that Ri Jong Rak had informed the enemy of Pak’s background\and had suggested that Pak was the right man to play a big role in the scheme to “hunt” me. Pak said he deserved to be put to death a thousand times for the crime of dragging my grandmother around, but that he had taken care of her personal safety as best he could. He admitted that he\and Ri Jong Rak were worse than beasts\and said he wouldn’t complain even if he were punished with death a hundred times.

When among us, Pak had had a keen sense of justice\and had worked with great enthusiasm\and ambition as a young revolutionary strong in his anti-Japanese spirit. After the formation of the Korean Revolutionary Army, he had worked in a highly responsible manner.

When arrested\and put in chains, however, his ideology degenerated\and his human qualities crumbled. If anything at all remained of his old self, it was the thread of friendship that tied him to me.

Though on the payroll of the Japanese imperialists, he had not volunteered to cooperate with them, nor had he thought of gaining money rom such cooperation. He had simply failed to foresee victory in the revolution because he thought Japan was too strong. He had thought himself lucky just to stay alive. The hunger for life had led him to switch sides,\and as a turncoat he had had no other choice but to obey the Japanese meekly. Although involved in the “surrender hunting” scheme, he was acting against his will.

Having to obey the will\and\orders of the Japanese imperialists in spite of hatred for them was the tragic lot of a man like Pak Cha Sok, who had abandoned his revolutionary convictions.

Seeing Pak Cha Sok, I thought deeply about genuine human qualities. He had grown older, but the look of his face had not changed.\and yet he was a different man. His shell remained, but it seemed empty. He had lost his soul. I have to say that it’s a man’s ideology that makes him a real being. What can remain of a man who has lost his ideology? An empty shell. Once your ideology crumbles, your personality will also crumble. Pak Cha Sok became a soulless man because he had abandoned his ideology. Such a man’s face looks like the face of one who has lost his sight.

In spite of my knowledge that Pak had degenerated, I explained things to him\and advised him rom various angles, with the feeling of pulling him back rom the enemy’s grip. This was my reaction to the enemy who had deprived me of my old comrade. I wished to revive at least his love for his country, although it might be impossible to bring him back to the Pak Cha Sok of his days in the DIU. My heart also retained some of my old friendship towards him.

I said that a man guilty of crimes against his nation could neither live nor die like a man. Pak Cha Sok affirmed that it was true. He went on, “With my surrender to the Japanese imperialists, living itself has become a nuisance, my daily existence is a torture. What is the use of living like this? I have made up my mind to die, but I have no courage to kill myself. Seeing you\and talking to you today lightens my heart, but I have no wish to live any longer. Please kill me. I wish to die at your hands.”

“Would it make me feel better if I killed you?” I said. “Make a decent, fresh start with a clear conscience so as to atone for your wrongdoing. Do it for the sake of your moral obligation towards your old comrades in the revolution.”

Pak said he would keep in mind what I told him.

To tell the truth, my comrades were all set to execute the turncoat, but I dissuaded them. Because he had confessed\and repented honestly, I wanted to treat him humanely.

I feasted him on the meat of a wild boar my men had hunted down\and drank few glasses with him. While sharing sleeping quarters with him at the Headquarters’ tent overnight, I advised him to live like a man,\and then sent him back.

He lived up to his pledge to me. He delivered my letter to my grand-parents as I asked him to do.

Seeing him return safely rom the secret camp at Nanpaizi, the enemy sent along Ri Jong Rak some time after. A small unit of the guerrillas who had been to Linjiang brought Ri Jong Rak back with them.

We had sent the small unit to Linjiang to procure clothing for the winter. While performing their mission, the unit met a trader who was a good wheeler-dealer. He was serving the Japanese\and at the same time supplying goods to the guerrillas, benefiting rom both sides. He entered into a bargain with our unit. He said he would offer the cloth\and the cotton wool we needed if they agreed to take a civilian in the service of the Japanese army to Headquarters of the revolutionary army in return.

The unit leader agreed to the bargain on condition that the trader approach his superiors\and let them suspend “punitive” actions for a while so that the bulky loads of supplies might be carried away without encountering trouble on the way. As a result, the enemy’s “punitive” forces, which had been operating over a wide area ranging rom Jiazaishui, Linjiang, to Nanpaizi, suspended their operations\and remained quiet for some time.

Taking advantage of this, the small unit was able to carry large amounts of supplies in safety to Nanpaizi. The civilian who came with the unit at that time was Ri Jong Rak.

Ri Jong Rak behaved arrogantly rom the outset, earning the dislike of our comrades. Without showing any sign of fear\and behaving with much imprudence in the camp of the revolutionary army, he laughed, talked wildly\and carried on like a thoroughly thick-skinned man. On meeting O Jung Hup, who was at the entrance to the secret camp in charge of the guards, Ri Jong Rak offered a present of a watch to him, saying that he must be having a hard time in the mountain in the cold. O Jung Hup produced his own pocket watch\and said he did not need another watch.

“Don’t stand on ceremony, take the watch!” Ri Jong Rak insisted. “It’s better to have two watches than one.” O Jung Hup retorted that one should keep time by one watch, not by two watches–by a revolutionary watch one day\and a reactionary watch the next. His words were a severe criticism of Ri Jong Rak’s treachery to the revolution.

Although Ri Jong Rak behaved in a supercilious way rom the moment of his arrival in the secret camp, I did not berate him for his crimes rom the start. It seemed to me that friendship could not be slashed off at a stroke\or burnt up at once. My old friendship with him was too deep for that.

Ri Jong Rak had been one of my closest friends in the old days.

In his days of the DIU he was a stalwart revolutionary with his own strong views. He was the most informed of us all on military affairs,\and was responsive to new ideological trends. Around the age of sixteen he had joined the Independence Army\and acted under the leadership of Tongui-bu. At that time he was strongly patriotic\and acted in a bold, impressive way. He was a man of feeling.

We recommended him to a responsible post in the Korean Revolutionary Army, an expression of our great hope\and trust in him. He was very popular among us. What a disappointment it was to us to hear the news of his becoming a turncoat, betraying our love for him\and confidence in him! Ri Jong Rak did not hide the fact that he was now a civilian employee of the Japanese army\and belonged to its “surrender hunting team”.

“Nothing would be better,” he said, “than destroying Japanese impe-rialism, liberating the country\and realizing communism worldwide, as the DIU programme said. However, that’s all just a pipedream. When I joined the DIU\and helped to form the Korean Revolutionary Army,\and even when I was jailed, I believed that the ideal could be realized. However, the September 18\and July 7 incidents changed my mind for me. In Korea the communist movement has already been wiped out,\and the motto ‘Japanese\and Koreans are one’ has become an established fact. Japan has become the master of East Asia. There is a saying that whoever is in possession of the Central Plain (area to the south of the middle reaches of the Yellow River– Tr.) will rule the\oriental world. Look how the Sino-Japanese War is developing! Beijing, Shanghai\and Nanjing have fallen,\and the operations against Xuzhou\and Wuhan\and the attack on Guangdong have been successful. How can you cope with the invincible empire of Japan, which has swallowed up three provinces in Northeast China\and has now occupied more than half the vast East Asian continent? Song Ju, you don’t know how the general situation is changing, because you are always in the mountains. I came here to help you out of your futile suffering here in the mountains.” He pretended to have come to do me a great favour.

His words\and behaviour were proof to me that he was rotten to the core\and that there was no hope of saving him.

In\order to keep the enemy who surrounded us rom disturbing us until we finished the meeting, I told Ri Jong Rak to send them a note. I dictated it to him, to the effect that on his arrival in the camp of Kim Il Sung’s army he found that Headquarters had moved towards Mt. Paektu, that it would take some time to get in touch with it since it was many miles away, that he was approaching one of Kim Il Sung’s units to get in touch with him\and that they should wait quietly until further notice rom him.

We sent the note, in Ri Jong Rak’s handwriting, to the surrounding enemy\and continued the meeting with calm\and composure.


One day I said to him that he looked well, that his hands were plump\and smooth,\and that he seemed to be faring pretty well. He replied that he was living well on the payroll of the Japanese,\and that he owed his good fortune to me. He said that because Kim Il Sung was a great man, the Japanese were trying hard to bring him round to their side,\and for this purpose they had gathered his close acquaintances\and old friends\and were according them high treatment.

“If men like me are given such high treatment,” he went on, “think of the honoured position you would hold if you came over to the Japanese! They are ready to give you, General Kim, whatever post you want, if you come round to them, the post of the commander of their Korea army\or anything else you may ask for. You may administer Korea as their Korea army commander,\or have Manchuria under your command here. You can do as you please. They want you to cooperate with Japan in either way. They say that in future the United States will most certainly extend its force to the west coast of the Pacific\and try to gulp down Japan, Korea\and Manchuria,\and they want the Asian people to join hands with each other in containing\and fighting back the United States for the sake of Asian co-prosperity.”

The Japanese were very foxy. When they sent Ri Jong Rak to me, they knew that the word “surrender” would have no effect on me. So they told him to negotiate with me in terms of “cooperation” as a compromise.

The idea of Asian cooperation to contain the force of the United States was the expression of the doctrine of “great Asia” which the Japanese loudly advertised in those days. They fussed about building “a prosperous Asia for the Asians” under Japan’s leadership. Who would be foolish enough to believe such nonsense? Their doctrine of “great Asia” was simply a cloak to hide their own greed for their monopoly over Asia.

Whenever they invade others, imperialists cook up a pretext to justify their aggression. The Japanese imperialists loudly preached the superiority of the “Yamato race”\and spread the idea of a “world family”, with Japan at its centre. When they were invading Korea, they said Japan would “take charge of this nation, which is incapable of independence,\and lead\and protect them.” When they were occupying Manchuria, they claimed to be exercising their “right to self-defence”; when they were fabricating Manchukuo, they fussed about the “concord of five races”\and the construction of a “royally blessed land”;\and when they were provoking the Sino-Japanese War, they shouted the mottos, “Punish the mobsters’ land!” (which meant meting out punishment to China which had turned into a land of mobsters),\or they talked about the “construction of a new China”,\and the “union of Japan, Manchuria\and China”.

As Ri Jong Rak persisted in preaching the doctrine of “great Asia”, I said, “If we push into Japan, keep the Japanese under our iron fists\and declare that we will enforce the doctrine of ‘great Asia’ under Korea’s leadership, what will happen? Will the Japanese accept the doctrine as valid?”

I also asked why the Japanese, if they were really so invincible, had been suffering such a headache for so many years, unable to defeat the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army,\and why they were using such a childish trick as “surrender hunting” through a man like him instead of fighting honourably against us.

Ri Jong Rak could not give me a plausible answer to that question either. He said that it was probably because the Japanese meant to spare Kim Il Sung’s life, there would be no other reason. He insisted that the strong defeating the weak was an immutable law of nature; that I should give up my idea of resistance, which stood no chance of success,\and accept the Japanese proposal;\and that if we continued our resistance, the three Japanese divisions that surrounded Nanpaizi in tight rings might destroy us to the last man by using poison gas\or a new type of high-performance gun.

I declared that even if the Japanese were to make me their prime minister rather than merely their Korea army commander, we would continue fighting,\and that even if they fired poison-gas bombs\or high-explosive shells, the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army would never yield to them.

He then went on to tell me about Han Yong Ae. When they were preparing the “surrender” scheme for me, he said, the Japanese intended to bring her into the scheme. But she flatly refused to cooperate.


Ri Jong Rak said that he\and Han Yong Ae had been in the same prison in Sinuiju,\and that she remained unusually loyal to me. By\order of the Japanese, he said, he had asked her to cooperate in the scheme, but she rebuffed him. She had severely criticized him, saying, “I won’t do such a dirty thing. You shouldn’t either. Kim Song Ju is not a man to be fooled by a stupid ‘surrender’ trick.”

Hearing this, I felt thankful to her\and detested Ri Jong Rak all the more. I told him, “See! A woman like Han Yong Ae refused to turn traitor\and remains honourable. By contrast, you not only abandoned the revolution, you’re also acting as a Japanese dog. Shame on you! You’ve turned into a thoroughly vile person!”

Realizing it was impossible to persuade me, he tried to hook some of my men. He asked one of my guards if he had parents at home,\and if he didn’t want to see his family. He tried coaxing him, saying that formerly the Japanese used to kill all the guerrillas they captured, but that now they would not only keep them alive but also give them a chance to start a new life. He suggested that if the guard wanted to lead a comfortable life close to his parents\and with a handsome woman by his side, he should go with him, Ri.

Hearing about this, I gave up on him as a dog, a loyal servant of the Japanese. Unlike Pak Cha Sok, who was running errands for the Japanese against his will, Ri was serving the enemy of his own free will, not caring a straw about his country\or nation.

At the unanimous verdict of my men, Headquarters branded Ri Jong Rak a traitor to the nation\and executed him. We covered his dead body with a warning that traitors, whether they were my schoolmates\or anybody else, would be executed in the same way.

My account of the interviews with Ri Jong Rak\and Pak Cha Sok at Nanpaizi has been seen by many people as similar to a fictional story. If the event were described vividly, it would make an excellent story. It’s a rare real-life event in which a man who has pledged to share life\and death on the road of revolution becomes a turncoat, spreads a propaganda about the strength of Japan\and stresses the futility of resistance, then tries to get the commander of the revolutionary army to turn traitor\and join the enemy. This was one of my most extraordinary experiences.

Frankly speaking, both interviews cut me to the quick. If total strangers had come on such errands, I would not have been so bitterly hurt.

Both of them had been so spirited when we were forming the DIU. We all pledged to share life\and death, none of our oaths portended treachery. However, the two people I loved most dearly\and held in deepest trust betrayed me.

When the revolution is going strong, many people take part in the struggle\and seldom waver\or\drop out of the revolutionary ranks.

But when the situation is disadvantageous to the revolution\and difficulties start to crop up, waverers, deserters\and capitulators appear. This is why officials must carry out ideological work properly among the people when the situation is grim\and the country is in difficulty. True, people’s ideology is not visible. Nobody has his ideology branded on his forehead, so it is hard to pick out waverers\and defeatists who have lost their revolutionary faith. However, people’s ideology will never fail to reveal itself through some aspects of work\and life. Officials must do ideological work prudently to suit an individual’s state of preparedness in\order to consolidate his revolutionary faith.

What is the lesson here? It is that one’s ideology must be made one’s conviction. If it remains mere intellectual awareness, it will be of no avail. An ideology that is not also one’s conviction is liable to degeneration. If one’s ideology degenerates, one will become like Ri Jong Rak\or Pak Cha Sok. So: if you acquire an ideology you think is just, you must make it your unshakeable conviction. Intellectual knowledge can serve as a genuine tool for creating that which is new only when it is supported by revolutionary belief. One’s eyes see the present reality,\whereas one’s belief looks into the future.

If one’s belief breaks up, one’s spirit will die;\and if one’s spirit dies, one will lose all value as a human being. A person’s morality\and conscience are both based on his faith. People without faith cannot hang on to their conscience\and morality, nor can they maintain their humanity. Only with strong faith can they shape their destiny properly, remain loyal to their comrades\and contribute truly to the Party\and the revolution, to their country\and their fellow citizens.

Comrade Kim Jong Il declared that loyalty must be kept as our faith, conscience, moral obligation\and everyday concern. This is profound philosophy. I fully agree with this proposition.


 Related articles

[Reminiscences]Chapter 18. In the Flames of the Sino-Japanese War 6. My Experience of the “Hyesan Incident”

[Reminiscences]Chapter 19. Overcoming Trials  1. The Matanggou Secret Camp

[Reminiscences]Chapter 19. Overcoming Trials  2. The Weasel Hunter

[Reminiscences]Chapter 19. Overcoming Trials  3. The Last of the Independence Army Forces

[Reminiscences]Chapter 19. Overcoming Trials  4. Village Headman Wang\and Police Chief Wang

[Reminiscences]Chapter 19. Overcoming Trials  5. Expedition to Rehe

[Reminiscences]Chapter 19. Overcoming Trials  6. My Meeting with Yang Jing-yu

[Reminiscences]Chapter 19. Overcoming Trials  7. Grandmother Ri Po Ik


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