Proclamation of Korean Independence
Declaration (Proclamation) of Korean Independence
吾等은 玆에 我朝鮮의 獨立國임과 朝鮮人의 自主民임을 宣言하노라 此로써 世界萬邦에 告하야 人類平等의 大義를 克明하며 此로써 子孫萬代에 告하야 民族自存의 正權을 永有케 하노라
半萬年歷史의 權威를 仗하야 此를 宣言함이며 二千萬民衆의 誠忠을 合하야 此를 佈明함이며 民族의 恒久如一한 自由發展을 爲하야 此를 主張함이며 人類的良心의 發露에 基因한 世界改造의 大機運에 順應並進하기 爲하야 此를 提起함이니 是ㅣ 天의 明命이며 時代의 大勢ㅣ며 全人類共存同生權의 正當한 發動이라 天下何物이던지 此를 沮止抑制치 못 할지니라
舊時代의 遺物인 侵略主義强權主義의 犧牲을 作하야 有史以來累千年에 처음으로 異民族箝制의 痛苦를 嘗한지 今에 十年을 過한지라 我生存權의 剝奪됨이 무릇 幾何ㅣ며 心靈上發展의 障礙됨이 무릇 幾何ㅣ며 民族的尊榮의 毁損됨이 무릇 幾何ㅣ며 新銳와 獨創으로써 世界文化의 大潮流에 寄與補裨할 奇緣을 遺失함이 무릇 幾何ㅣ뇨
噫라 舊來의 抑鬱을 宣暢하려 하면 時下의 苦痛을 擺脫하려 하면 將來의 脅威를 芟除하려 하면 民族的良心과 國家的廉義의 壓縮銷殘을 興奮伸張하려 하면 各個人格의 正當한 發達을 遂하려 하면 可憐한 子弟에게 苦恥的財產을 遺與치 안이하려 하면 子子孫孫의 永久完全한 慶福을 導迎하려 하면 最大急務가 民族的獨立을 確實케 함이니 二千萬各個가 人마다 方寸의 刃을 懷하고 人類通性과 時代良心이 正義의 軍과 人道의 干戈로써 護援하는 今日吾人은 進하야 取하매 何强을 挫치 못하랴 退하야 作하매 何志를 展치 못하랴
丙子修好條規以來時時種種의 金石盟約을 食하얏다 하야 日本의 無信을 罪하려 안이하노라 學者는 講壇에서 政治家는 實際에서 我祖宗世業을 植民地視하고 我文化民族을 土昧人遇하야 한갓 征服者의 快를 貪할 ᄲᅮᆫ이오 我의 久遠한 社會基礎와 卓犖한 民族心理를 無視한다 하야 日本의 少義함을 責하려 안이하노라 自己를 策勵하기에 急한 吾人은 他의 怨尤를 暇치 못 하노라 現在를 綢繆하기에 急한 吾人은 宿昔의 懲辯을 暇치 못하노라 今日吾人의 所任은 다만 自己의 建設이 有할 ᄲᅮᆫ이오 決코 他의 破壞에 在치 안이하도다 嚴肅한 良心의 命令으로써 自家의 新運命을 開拓함이오 決코 舊怨과 一時的感情으로써 他를 嫉逐排斥함이 안이로다 舊思想舊勢力에 羈縻된 日本爲政家의 功名的犧牲이 된 不自然又不合理한 錯誤狀態를 改善匡正하야 自然又合理한 政經大原으로 歸還케 함이로다 當初에 民族的要求로서 出치 안이한 兩國倂合의 結果가 畢竟姑息的威壓과 差別的不平과 統計數字上虛飾 의下에서 利害相反한 兩民族間에 永遠히 和同할 수업는 怨溝를 去益深造하는 今來實績을 觀하라 勇明果敢으로써 舊誤를 廓正하고 眞正한 理解와 同情에 基本한 友好的新局面을 打開함이 彼此間遠禍召福하는 捷徑임을 明知할 것 안인가 ᄯᅩ 二千萬含憤蓄怨의 民을 威力으로써 拘束함은 다만 東洋의 永久한 平和를 保障하는 所以가 안일 ᄲᅮᆫ 안이라 此로 因하야 東洋安危의 主軸인 四億萬支那人의 日本에 對한 危懼와 猜疑를 갈수록 濃厚케 하야 그 結果로 東洋全局이 共倒同亾의 悲運을 招致할 것이 明하니 今日吾人의 朝鮮獨立은 朝鮮人으로 하야금 正當한 生榮을 遂케 하는 同時에 日本으로 하야금 邪路로서 出하야 東洋支持者인 重責을 全케 하는 것이며 支那로 하야금 夢寐에도 免하지 못 하는不安恐怖로서 脫出케 하는 것이며 ᄯᅩ 東洋平和로 重要한 一部를 삼는 世界平和人類幸福에 必要한 階段이 되게 하는 것이라 이 엇지 區區한 感情上問題ㅣ리오
아아 新天地가 眼前에 展開되도다 威力의 時代가 去하고 道義의 時代가 來하도다 過去全世紀에鍊磨長養된 人道的精神이 바야흐로 新文明의 曙光을 人類의 歷史에 投射하기 始하도다 新春이 世界에 來하야 萬物의 囬蘇를 催促하는도다 凍氷寒雪에 呼吸을 閉蟄한 것이 彼一時의 勢ㅣ라하면和風暖陽에氣脈을 振舒함은 此一時의 勢ㅣ니 天地의 復運에 際하고世界의 變潮를 乘한 吾人은 아모 躕躇할 것 업스며 아모 忌憚할 것 업도다 我의 固有한 自由權을 護全하야 生旺의 樂을 飽享할 것이며 我의 自足한 獨創力을 發揮하야 春滿한 大界에 民族的精華를 結紐할지로다
吾等이玆에奮起하도다 良心이 我와 同存하며 眞理가 我와 幷進하는도다 男女老少 업시 陰鬱한 古巢로서 活潑히 起來하야 萬彚羣象으로 더부러 欣快한 復活을 成遂하게 되도다 千百世祖靈이 吾等을 陰佑하며 全世界氣運이 吾等을 外護하나니 着手가 곳 成功이라다만 前頭의 光明으로 驀進할 ᄯᅡ름인뎌
- 孫秉熙 吉善宙 李弼柱 白龍城 金完圭
- 金秉祚 金昌俊 權東鎭 權秉悳 羅龍煥
- 羅仁協 梁旬伯 梁漢默 劉如大 李甲成
- 李明龍 李昇薰 李鍾勳 李鍾一 林禮煥
- 朴準承 朴熙道 朴東完 申洪植 申錫九
- 吳世昌 吳華英 鄭春洙 崔聖模 崔 麟
- 韓龍雲 洪秉箕 洪其兆
We herewith proclaim the independence of Korea and the liberty of the Korean people. This we proclaim to all the nations of the world in witness of human equality. This we proclaim to our descendents so that they may enjoy in perpetuity their inherent right to nationhood.
Inasmuch as this proclamation originates from our five-thousand-year history, inasmuch as it springs from the loyalty of twenty million people, inasmuch as it affirms our yearning for the advancement of everlasting liberty, inasmuch as it expresses our desire to take part in the global reform rooted in human conscience, it is the solemn will of heaven, the great tide of our age, and a just act necessary for the co-existence of all humankind. Therefore, no power in this world can obstruct or suppress it!
Victims of the outdated notions of aggression and brute force, we have now suffered for a decade, for the first time in our long history, under foreign tyranny; our right to existence deprived, our spiritual growth stunted, our national pride and honor damaged, and our opportunity to make our own creative contribution to the progress of world civilization lost.
Surely, if we are to eradicate our longstanding sense of injustice, if we are to extricate ourselves from today’s pain, if we are to forestall tomorrow’s threat, if we are to resuscitate our trampled national pride, if we as individuals are to reach our full potential, if we are to deliver our children from the legacy of shame, if we are to bequeath to our future generations blessing and prosperity, our first and foremost duty is to secure the independence of our people. If each and every twenty million of us carry a sword in our hearts and if we are supported by today’s shared human conscience ready to stand by us equipped with arms of justice and morality, what can stop us from pressing forward to defeat the strongest? If we regroup and build up our strength, what aim can we not accomplish?
Though Japan has repeatedly violated its promises since the Treaty of 1876, we do not here condemn its perfidy. Though its scholars and government officials dismiss our great dynastic achievements in order to prop up its claim that our history began as a foreign colony with a primitive civilization, though it merely seeks a conqueror’s gratification willfully ignoring the ancient foundation and the outstanding characteristics of our people, we do not here take it to task. We are pressed to reprimand ourselves, and thus have little time to reproach others. Busy with today’s work, we have little time to chastise yesterday’s actions.
Today, our only duty is to rebuild ourselves, not to demolish others. It is to explore our new destiny according to the solemn dictates of our conscience, not to squabble with others over fleeting grudges and old animosities. It is to restore our natural, rational foundation by rectifying the unnatural, irrational ambition of the Japanese politicians in the grip of obsolete ideas. The annexation made without national consensus has inevitably led to intimidation used as a temporary measure, inequality caused by discrimination, and statistics falsified to justify it. Just look at the result today! The chasm of rancor has grown so wide that bridging the two peoples with differing interests seems all but impossible.
To boldly right old wrongs, opening a new relationship based on true mutual understating, is certainly the best way for both countries to avert disaster and foster amity. To forcibly bind twenty million people filled with bitterness and enmity will not secure lasting peace. Moreover, it will exacerbate the apprehension and distrust of four hundred million Chinese people who hold the key to East Asian stability, which will undoubtedly lead to the unrest and eventual downfall of the entire region. Therefore, establishing Korean independence today will permit Koreans to return to their rightful lives, will enable the Japanese to break away from their wrongful path and concentrate on their responsibility as a major player in East Asia, and will free the Chinese from their nightmare of uncertainty and anxiety about Japan. Korean independence will indeed be an indispensable step toward the stability of East Asia, which will in turn contribute to the attainment of world peace. With the well-being of all humanity at stake, the establishment of Korean independence is a grave issue that transcends mere animosity between two nations.
Behold! A new world is approaching before our very eyes! The age of might has receded, and the age of morality has arrived. The spirit of humanism cultivated throughout the past century now begins to throw its light on a new chapter in world history. Just as a new spring has come, hastening the rebirth of every living thing, our pulse, once frozen in the bitter cold and snow, now quickens in the warm breeze and sunshine. The good fortune of heaven and earth has returned to us, and we ride the changing tide of the world. Do not hesitate or flinch! By protecting our inalienable individual right to freedom, we will enjoy our lives to the full. By realizing our bountiful creativity, our national civilization will flower in the warmth of spring that pervades the world.
We hereby rise up! Conscience is on our side, and truth marches with us. Men and women, young and old, leave your darkened corners and partake in the joyful resurrection along with all creation! The spirit of our many ancestors protects us from within, and the tide of the new world from without. To begin is to succeed! Let us march straight into the light!
We hereby pledge the following:
- Today’s undertaking reflects the demands of our people for justice, morality, survival, and prosperity. Therefore, we will act solely in the spirit of liberty, never in the spirit of enmity.
- To the last person and to the last moment, we will forthrightly express the will of the Korean people.
- We will respect order in all our actions and ensure that our demeanor and claims are always honorable and upright.
The first day of the third month of the 4252nd year of the founding of Korea,
- The signatures attached to the document are:
- Son Pyung-Hi
- Kil sun-Chu
- Yi Pil-Chu
- Paik Yong-Sung
- Kim Won-Kyu
- Kim Pyung-Cho
- Kim Chang-Choon
- Kwon Dong-Chin
- Kwon Byung-Duk
- Na Yong-Whan
- Na In-Hup
- Yang Chun-Paik
- Yang Han-Mook
- Lew Yer-Dai
- Yi Kop-Sung
- Yi Mung-Yong
- Yi Seung-Hoon
- Yi Chong-Hoon
- Yi Chong-Il
- Lim Yei-Whan
- Pak Choon-Seung
- Pak Hi-Do
- Pak Tong-Wan
- Sin Hong-Sik
- Sin Suk-Ku
- Oh Sei-Chang
- Oh Wha-Young
- Chung Choon-Su
- Choi Sung-Mo
- Choi In
- Han Yong-Woon
- Hong Byung-Ki
- Hong Ki-Cho
- The signatures attached to the document are: