페이지 정보작성자 편집국 작성일20-08-01 21:39 댓글0건
[Reminiscences]Chapter 14 5. Samil Wolgan
5. Samil Wolgan
Throughout the passage of time man has always acknowledged the impact publications have on human life. Some people even assert that the whole world, apartrom some uncivilized countries, was dominated in the past by a few volumes of books. History has already proved the great role played by publications in transforming\and developing society. I think it is no exaggeration to say that, as long as man moves the world, he will be motivated by publications by conscientious intellectuals, who speak in the name of justice\and truth, as well as by the pioneers of the times.
We refer to such a publication as an educator, propagandist\and\organizer of the masses.
A revolutionary publication can also be called an excellent means, linking the leader, party\and masses by a single tie.
When publishing the newspaper Iskra, Lenin gave its first issue a banner headline, “A spark will flare up.” This aphorism aroused the sympathy of the whole world. The spark mentioned in the banner headline later flared into the flames of the October Revolution\and spread throughout Russia.
I can truly say that publications exerted a great influence on me along the road of revolution.
There is another world-famous proverb. “The pen is mightier than the sword.” When we published Saenal11, Bolshevik12\and Nong-u13, we realized the real worth of publications\and pinned as much hope on those publications as on the rifle\or sword.
A publication is a powerful weapon in the revolutionary struggle. The range of this weapon is infinite.
When we made an appealrom Mt. Paektu through such publications as Samil Wolgan\and Sogwang, not to forget the motherland\and compatriots in the homeland, it was heard by the guerrillas\and people in northern\and southern Manchuria. There is probably no other form of propaganda\and agitation in the world more powerful than publications in their ability to quickly disseminate among millions of the masses the same ideology\and fight slogans at the same time, rally them\and give them\organizational\and ideological training.
During the anti-Japanese armed struggle, our men used to call\oral propaganda “mouth gun”, propaganda through art performance “drum gun”\and propaganda through publications “brush gun”\or “letter gun” in a plain language.
Oral\and artistic media have a relatively quick effect\and strong appeal, compared to the message of a book. However, the latter has a lasting effect\and is free of geographical\limitations.
As the enemy was gagging the press\and resorting to bayonets\and truncheons to suppress, without exception, any words\and actions they considered “seditious”, the\organizational\and propaganda activities, aimed at providing unified leadership to revolutionary\organizations, had to be conducted in a secret, illicit manner. This situation compelled us to seek the form of propaganda\and agitation most suitable for guerrilla warfare,\and pay due attention to firing the “brush gun”, which we thought the best means. Consequently, after the establishment of the Paektusan Secret Camp, we set up a printing shop there\and started publishing Samil Wolgan, the\organ of the Association for the Restoration of the Fatherland.
At the time of founding the ARF in Donggang, we also discussed the launching of its\organ. To unite the massesrom all walks of life in the anti-Japanese national united front\and develop the great anti-Japanese war by nationwide efforts, we had to make effective use of the “brush gun” in particular, along with the “mouth gun”\and “drum gun”.
Our political activities for the national united front in the first half of the 1930s had assumed by\and large regional characteristics. Our effort for the united front had not gone beyond the bounds of Manchuria\and the northern area of Korea in most cases. However, the ARF had planned to fly the flag of the anti-Japanese national united front in the whole of Korea, China proper, Japan, the Soviet\union, the United States\and all other places overseas,\where our compatriots were living.
For this purpose, we frequently dispatched our operatives to various places, albeit in\limited numbers to our regret. As we left in northern Manchuria quite a few military\and political cadres experienced in the united front movement in eastern Manchuria in the early days of the guerrilla struggle, we experienced a dearth of workers.
Publications provided an important way of compensating for the shortage. I was sure that if a paper loved by the masses was published skilfully\and distributed here\and there, each issue could take the place of an operative.
But we were unable to start publishing the paper in time for inevitable reasons. We had fought many battles\and moved frequently in those days. We had always been surrounded by the enemy\and had been forced to march dozens of miles a day carrying loads on our backs. The enemy had not permitted us any time to launch a publication.
Only once the Paektusan Secret Camp was built\and a printing shop was set up there could we start the Samil Wolgan, the magazine of the ARF. The Samil Wolgan was a popular political\and theoretical magazine, aimed at contributing to the ideals of the ARF to win national independence, by mobilizing the 20 million compatriots.
After racking our brains to choose a title appropriate to the mission of the ARF, we chose Samil Wolgan.
Samil (March 1) referred to the anti-Japanese March First Popular Uprising. The uprising was a momentous independence movement of the Korean people, who offered nationwide resistance against the Japanese aggressors.
Therefore, the title, Samil Wolgan, incorporated the will of the nation. It represented our strategic intention to adhere to the Juche line of the Korean revolution\and, based on Mt. Paektu, expand\and develop the armed struggle throughout Korea,\and also signified the launch of an all-out resistance through the general mobilization of the whole nation.
Although Samil Wolgan was launched as the publication of the ARF, it also assumed the function of the mouthpiece of the Party Committee of the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army\and at the same time assumed\and fulfilled the mission of a popular political magazine, serving the whole country. Therefore, it had to be a pan-national magazine read\and loved by the soldiers of the KPRA\and the communist revolutionaries, as well as the national bourgeoisie, religious believers\and the soldiers of the Independence Army.
We\organized the editorial staff of the Samil Wolgan mainly with members of the Secretariat\and appointed Ri Tong Baek, owing to his journalistic experience, as editor-in-chief.
Under the charge of Ri Tong Baek, the editorial staff began preparing the first issue. They debated in detail the direction of editing\and practical matters for publishing the magazine. They studied the publicationsrom the homeland in depth to explore the ideal journalistic style.
In those days bans\or suspensions of newspapers\and magazines were widespread in the press world in the homeland. Magazines, imbued with the slightest patriotic elements, were all suppressed\and banned\and there were few magazines to refer to.
The editorial staff studied some magazinesrom the homeland for reference purposes only, with no intention of copying\or making them their standard. They always explored everything in a fresh\and creative way.
We decided to make the Samil Wolgan a popular political\and theoretical magazine, imbuing its content with the idea of patriotism\and great national unity,\and featuring an editorial in each issue. We also decided to establish regular columns for news of the independence movement of our nation, victoriesrom various parts of the anti-Japanese national revolutionary front, questions\and answers, major national\and international events, literature\and art.
The manus would be obtained mainlyrom the writing staff in the KPRA unit the Secretariat belonged to,\and also through other units of the KPRA active in various places\and ARF\organizations. To collect manus, we appointed special correspondents of the magazine in important places in eastern, southern\and northern Manchuria\and encouraged contributionsrom a wide range of subscribers.
Ri Tong Baek thought about ways of making the editing of the Samil Wolgan a concern of the readers themselves, enabling the peoplerom all strata to write for the magazine regularly\and offer advice to help enrich its content\and steadily improve its editorial style. After an earnest discussion he worked out rules governing contribution.
I read the rules\and found them very interesting. Everyone would on reading them feel like taking a pen\and writing something at a stretch, even if he had little literary talent. The rules said, at the heading, that contributions would be welcome, to obtain sound arguments\and excellent viewsrom patriotsrom all strata,\and then defined the number of words according to the manu content, the method of contribution, preferential treatment for enthusiastic contributors\and other details.
We sent down the rules through\organizations\and introduced them in the first issue under the caption, Contributions are welcome!
Soon after the rules had been sent down, a great amount of writings were contributedrom various places. I can still see clearly the old man “Tobacco Pipe”, who was beside himself with those contributions. I, too, read nearly all the manus with delight.
In a congratulatory message, the chief of staff of Ryang Se Bong’s Independence Army expressed its hearty welcome for the founding of the ARF. The news of the meeting between Ri Tong Gwang, representative of the ARF in southern Manchuria,\and Pak, representative of the compatriots residing in Shanghai, was also quite impressive. The representativerom Shanghai, who had worked for independence for some years in Beijing, Tianjin\and other places in China, came to southern Manchuria, on hearing of the founding of the ARF\and proposed the formation of a united front at home\and abroad on the axis of the ARF, the article read. This provided an excellent occasion to expand the\organizations of the ARF in the vast area of China proper. Soon after receiving the manu, we dispatched a skilful political operative to Ri Tong Gwang.
In this way the editorial staff of the Samil Wolgan, in its preparations for the magazine, played the role of communications section, rendering a direct contribution to expanding\and developing the network of the ARF.
A letter sent by a district committee of the ARF, while making a congratulatory banner to encourage the KPRA, also included a moving story. It read, “Out of heartfelt sympathy, we patriotic compatriots each contributed one\or two jon\or one wonrom our humble purses. The total sum gathered so far in this way is 8 won 71 jon, which is too small to buy other military supplies. Therefore, we decided, with the unanimous opinion of all patriotic compatriots, to make a congratulatory banner\and send it to you....”
I ensured that all letters, overflowing with sincerity, were carried in the inaugural number.
As the manus he had been fretted about, during preparations for the publication of the magazine, had appeared in plenty, “Tobacco Pipe” worked with great animation. One day he came to Headquarters, beaming with satisfaction,\and produced a dozen sheets of blank paper in front of me, saying, “Manus are ready except the inaugural message\and the editorial, which are most important\and must be prepared before we start compilation. I am afraid that you will have to write them as the Chairman of the ARF. Here is the paper.”
“Then what will the editor-in-chief do? You mean that I must take your place when you, a renowned writer, are still alive? No, I can’t do that. The editor-in-chief must write the inaugural message.”
Partly, as I was under the pressure of work,\and more importantly because I wanted to give that faithful literary man, who had gone through so many\ordeals, an opportunity to give vent to his pent-up sorrow of national ruin\and shout to his heart’s content the passionate words he had been wanting to say to his 20 million compatriots, I entrusted the inaugural message to him.
However, I volunteered to write an editorial under the title Recollections of the March First Movement. As I was faced with a great deal of pressing business, I could not finish the manu quickly enough. When I happened to find time to write it, I received a report that an enemy spy had been captured\or that an enemy “punitive” force was swarming into our secret camp; I had to go out onto the battlefield.
I missed most of all in those days Kim Hyok\and Choe Il Chon. Kim Hyok, the editor-in-chief of the Bolshevik,\and Choe Il Chon, the editor-in-chief of the Nong-u, who had been my bosom friends in my days in Kalun\and Wujiazi, had been talented writers, forming two pillars.
The writings of Kim Hyok, a poet, had been vigorous\and passionate, like an overflowing, great river,\whereas those of Choe Il Chon had been highly intellectual\and keenly analytical, as well as rich in national tone. Kim Hyok had occasionally edited in the Bolshevik revolutionary songs he had personally written\and composed. I still recall, of his works in the Bolshevik, Curse to the Capitalist Society\and Anti-Factionalism. The former was a song, which criticized scathingly the exploiters, expressing hatred for the capitalist society, while the latter was a satirical song, which sharply exposed the true colour of factional flunkeyists, who attempted to found a party with the help of others, carrying seals engraved in potatoes.
Had Kim Hyok\and Choe Il Chon been alive, they would have been extremely helpful to “Tobacco Pipe”.
As I had done with the s of The Sea of Blood\and The Fate of a Self-Defence Corps Man, I had to write the inaugural documents of the ARF\and the editorial on the March First Movement during any spare time between fierce engagements with the enemy.
The most difficult problem remained even after the last stage of the preparation for the publication of the first issue of Samil Wolgan: the acquisition of printing equipment. At that time we had only one old mimeograph. We also lacked ink, roller, stencil\and paper. The workers of the printing shop solved the shortages by themselves. When ink was running short, they burned birch bark under a hood made of tin-plate\and scraped the soot gathered on the plate. They left the soot immersed in oil\and mixed it with ink manufactured in factories, before using it. When the roller was worn out, they boiled a mixture of glue\and resin\and poured it into a mould to make a roller; when the stencil pen became dull, they made it with a matting needle.
Their strenuous dedication to the Samil Wolgan deserves prominent mention as a prototype of self-reliance\and fortitude.
Their efforts bore fruit at long last. The inaugural number of the Samil Wolgan was published on December 1, 1936.
That day “Tobacco Pipe” brought me the first copy of the inaugural issue\and said, “If there is anything worthwhile I have done in my fruitless life, it is the publication of the Samil Wolgan. Although you are busy, General, please listen to the first cry of the Samil Wolgan.”
He passionately read out loud the first part of the inaugural message:
“Ever since our Korea has been occupied by the brigandish Japanese,\and the ruined 23 million white-clad nation became the slaves of Japanese imperialism, our life\and human rights have become worse than those of dogs\or hogs.”
The Samil Wolgan evoked a splendid response soon after publication. The response of the guerrillas\and people to the inaugural issue was great. ARF\organizations in various places sent us messages, congratulating the publication of the Samil Wolgan\and written requests for increased circulation.
Some people subscribed for the next issue on behalf of their\organizations. When we were trying to find ways of obtaining the equipment, needed for publishing the Samil Wolgan, after making a list of the necessary items, Pak Tal obtained two new, highly-efficient mimeographsrom a man studying in Japan. I was told that they had brought them on a cart as far as Kapsan by concealing each of them in potato sacksrom the railway station in Tanchon,\where the mimeographs had arrived,\and had taken them to Ophung-dong, the seat of the printing section of the national liberation\union, late at night, after lying in hiding for a whole day on a mountain, owing to strict police surveillance.
Pak Tal had intended to send both of them to our secret camp. But I instructed that we only receive one of them\and that the other be left at Kapsan for the printing of the mouthpiece of the Korean National Liberation\union. The\union was publishing its mouthpiece under the title of Hwajonmin (slash-and-burn peasants—Tr.).
The mimeograph was very efficient. As it was several times as efficient as the old one, we could publish hundreds of copies for succeeding issues.
The popularity of the Samil Wolgan exceeded our wildest hopes. In my opinion, the readers were keen on the magazine, because the style of its edition was fresh, but mainly because its content was permeated with the idea of a national united front. In other words, the magazine reflected most keenly\and impeccably the historic task facing the nation. It was up to the Korean revolutionaries, first\and foremost, to counter the fascist offensive of the Japanese militarists by rallying the peoplerom all walks of life solidly behind the anti-Japanese national united front in preparation for a popular resistance.
The publishing of Samil Wolgan occasioned rapid expansion of the ARF network. The number of volunteers for the People’s Revolutionary Army\and supporters\and sympathizers for our cause quickly increased. Even the gunners of the “brush gun” were amazed at its effectiveness.
Pak In Jin once said to Kwon Yong Byok that the Samil Wolgan had been extremely helpful in embracing all the Chondoist believers in the area north of the Machon Range in the network of the ARF within a short period of time.
The man, who rendered the most distinguished service to publishing the magazine was, needless to say, Ri Tong Baek. He had taken much trouble when the ARF had been formed; however, his work here is incomparable to his efforts to start\and publish the magazine. He literally lived his remaining days with Samil Wolgan.
In my life of 80 years I have never seen a man, who economizes on paper like Ri Tong Baek. He kept even a piece of paper as small as a tree leaf\and put it to effective use, by writing fine characters on it when needs be. When he saw a man rolling tobacco on a blank paper\where letters could be written, he would scathingly criticize him for wasting paper. He always smoked with a pipe. Apparently he began pipe smoking to avoid wasting paper. Whatever the motive, his pipe did indeed enable him to save much paper. Otherwise, he might have wasted thousands of pieces of paper in his lifetime.
Ri Tong Baek, editor-in-chief of Samil Wolgan, wrote a diary; he never missed a day, collected with assiduity documents within his reach\and kept them carefully in his knapsacks, saying that he should write the history of our anti-Japanese revolutionary struggle, when the country was liberated. He was killed in the secret camp in Yangmudingzi in a surprise raid by an enemy “punitive” force. The enemy shot “Tobacco Pipe”, along with the weak\and old, who had failed to escape,\and set the secret camp on fire. A great number of documents, photographs\and diaries he treasured were all burned away with his body.
The thought of the historical documents, which he regarded as the most precious present he could make to the liberated motherland, reduced to ashes in an instant, still rankles in my mind. If only his diaries could be found in his big knapsacks, how glad our younger generation would be!
When I went to the secret camp in Yangmudingzi later, I recovered his remains at the site of the burnt straw-thatched cottage\and buried them in person. But I failed to find the pipe he had loved so much in his lifetime. As everything burned to ashes, nothing remained as his memento in this world. Only one thing remained uncharred of the outstanding, old revolutionary intellectual: his unfading image enshrined in the memory of anti-Japanese revolutionary veterans. A few years ago the trees, bearing slogans he had written, were found when the Paektusan Secret Camp was explored. I felt as if I were seeing once again the editor-in-chief of the Samil Wolgan\and therefore stood in front of them for a long time.
Ri Tong Baek was one of the most conscientious, revolutionary\and well-informed intellectuals I met in the days of the anti-Japanese revolution.
The progressive representatives of intellectuals in all nations\and ages have played no small role in social revolution\and transformation. The role played by Korean intellectuals in the development of the revolutionary movement in modern days is very great. Despite their various\limitations, they rendered contributions to the national liberation movement\and communist movement in our country through different channels\and methods.
Ri Tong Baek was one of them. He was a representative of the revolutionary intellectuals who, after treading the most general\and universal path, which could be traversed by intellectuals in our country in the 1920s, joined the ranks of the armed struggle against the Japanese imperialists. He had been an irresolute, wavering intellectual\and became a true revolutionary intellectual serving the most active armed resistance.
Kim Yong Guk was another literary man in the publishing circle in the KPRA in the days on Mt. Paektu. He joined our unit through the good offices of Pak Tal\and Ri Je Sun, after working in a Red peasant\union in the homeland.
As a soldier, he was not ranked A category; however, he was a talented individual with an unsurpassed writing ability. Seeing his stencil writing, everyone would exclaim that it looked like type. He used to write a dozen stencils in one night\and yet his writing was regular as if it had been typed; this always earned him praiserom “Tobacco Pipe”.
Liberalistic tendency\and forgetfulness could be called his fault. He was so forgetful that on one march he left his rifle at a spot\where we had a break,\and went on another eight kilometres, before remembering it\and going back to pick it up, saying, “How forgetful I am! My rifle!” He was severely criticized\and punished.
When the punishment was removed, I asked him, “Your rifle is as dear as your own life\and you have left your life behind. How can you write with such an absent mind?”
Kim Yong Guk replied brazenly, scraping the scruff of his neck, “Almost all the world-renowned literary giants were so forgetful.”
“Tobacco Pipe”\and I burst into laughter at his reply.
A passionate writer, Kim Yong Guk would write a poem\or a story, whenever he had a spare moment. Several of his works were carried in Sogwang, the newspaper we launched in 1937 as the mouthpiece of the KPRA. I still have a dim memory of the words of a song comprising four\or five stanzas, carried in the first number of Sogwang, which read in part, Other woman’s man went to the revolutionary army\and my man went to the Self-Defence Corps. Publishing the text of the song, he stated that it should be sung to the tune of Arirang. The second, third\and fourth issues of Sogwang carried in a series a short story he had written. He was editor-in-chief of Sogwang. The young\and talented writer was shot by a sharpshooter of an enemy “punitive” force in autumn 1938 when he went with Kim Ju Hyon to collect honey for the weak\and wounded,\and departed our company so early to our regret.
Sogwang, a weekly political paper, carried on many occasions materials for political\and military study of the guerrillas. The Tasks of the Korean Communists I had written was also carried in the weekly.
Another conspicuous man among the zealous writers for Sogwang was Rim Chun Chu. Rim actively helped Kim Yong Guk edit\and publish the weekly.
Jongsori (The Bell Tolls—Tr.) was a weekly paper of the KPRA, launched at the beginning of political\and military studies in the secret camp at Matanggou. It mainly carried materials, which would help political\and military studies\and moral education.
Choe Kyong Hwa was editor-in-chief of Jongsori. Although he had not received higher education, he managed the publication of the weekly in a skilful way, although this was a difficult job. I think he was successful, because he had always studied hard to acquire a multilateral education. In the days at his hometown he had studied a guide to university education on his own.
No one found his stories tedious, even if he had heard him telling them the whole day. Even a dime novel which readers would use to read themselves to sleep, became a masterpiece once recited through his mouth. The art of speaking was his greatest talent\and fortune. Consequently we persuaded him to make speeches for agitation on many occasions. The audience would hang on his lips.
Choe had been deeply engaged in a student\and youth movement in his hometown, before taking refuge in Changbairom the pursuit of the enemy. In Changbai he had been absorbed in mass enlightenment as teacher at a village school. Needless to say, he soon had joined the ARF. After establishing contact with the\organization, guided by Kwon Yong Byok, he had worked as chief of the\organizational section of the party branch in Shiqidaogou\and as political worker in charge of the Songjin (Kimchaek City) area; as he could not continue underground work owing to a momentary blunder, he had joined the guerrillas.
When he joined, the women guerrillas all whispered that a handsome man had joined the unit. But I was charmed by his talent\and personality more than by his appearance. He was unusually talented, with distinct literary\and drawing ability. Most of the illustrations carried in Jongsori were drawn by him. He was a lecturer at political study sessions\and a fighter in the vanguard of battle. During the battle of Jingantun in early 1938 he volunteered for the charging party\and achieved a breakthrough in the enemy’s defence. At that time he was fatally wounded\and breathed his last.
I grieved over the loss of such an excellent comrade-in-arms as Choe Kyong Hwa the whole night, writing the memorial address in tears. We held a solemn ceremony in his memory in the bitter cold.
Cholhyol (Iron Blood—Tr.), the mouthpiece of the Anti-Japanese Youth League, was a weekly paper in the form of a field bulletin. It was launched in anticipation of large-unit circling operations at the end of 1939. As such talented writers as Ri Tong Baek, Kim Yong Guk\and Choe Kyong Hwa had already passed away, we had to assign its editing\and publishing to beginners.
With a view to training him on the job, I entrusted Kang Wi Ryong with the task of publishing Cholhyol. Kang was in charge of the party branch\and youth league in Headquarters. At first he declined, asking me to give the assignment to another person as he could not handle this task. However, he was compelled to receive the assignment\and did the work pretty well with the help of his comrades.
LIKE Samil Wolgan\and Sogwang, Cholhyol was dedicated to editing positive materials. Typical materials introduced Ri Ul Sol\and the battle story of a recruit, who had captured a Czech-made machine-gun of a new model by killing the gunner with a bayonet; they were carried in the first number of Cholhyol.
Towards the end of political\and military training in the secret camp at Baishitan, we instituted a system of conferring a red sash of honour to young guerrillas, who distinguished themselves in battle, in\order to encourage bravery\and boost morale among the young guerrillas. Soldiers, who were conferred the sash, would wear it on holidays\or on an auspicious day of special importance for our unit.
The special issue of Cholhyol, published on the occasion of the review of the study, carried articles on the review\and news of the institution of a new system of commendation, inciting the interest of its readers.
In this way our revolutionary publications were not only an excellent source for propagation\and educator of the reader masses; they also inspired the soldiers to heroic exploits, helped them in the struggle\and acted as an intimate companion in their daily routine.
Samil Wolgan\and other publications we put out during the anti-Japanese revolution featured the most important characteristic; they were not published under the auspices of a few talented people, but were instead written, edited\and printed with the active participation of a broader readership.
As in all other undertakings, we regarded it as an iron rule to enlist the masses\and rely on them to launch publications.
As far as I recall, this happened when we were staying in Nanpaizi.
One day, while taking a stroll in the secret camp, I found a woman soldier sitting alone in the forest\and writing something on a book with all her heart. She was so absorbed in her work that she did not notice my presence; she was writing the letters with much difficulty, wetting the lead with the tip of her tongue. When I asked what she was writing, she answered that it was propaganda material for some rural villages.
I was much surprised to read what she had written. It was quite a liberal\and polished style for a\drop-out of a primary school. The material titled Appeal to the Korean Youth in Manchuria was logical\and its argument was convincing. So I touched it up a little\and made sure that it was carried in Samil Wolgan. Apparently the magazine had a considerable impact on the readers.
In this way even an\ordinary cooking-unit soldier, who had not attended primary school properly, became a contributor to our publications. Thanks to the active participation of the masses\and their support, we were able to publish such publications as Samil Wolgan, Sogwang, Jongsori\and Cholhyol, in difficult conditions,\where we had no source of regular supplies,\and we laid a solid foundation for the traditions of revolutionary publications.
Our country today has instituted a system of conferring the Samil Wolgan Prize as the highest award on officials in the mass media, who have rendered distinguished service. Had Ri Tong Baek been alive, the No. 1 prize would have been conferred on him.
I want to ask mass media staff not to forget the first generation of the revolutionary publishing circle, who have passed away without even being conferred a medal.
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