Remembering one of Korea’s greatest poets, Yoon Dong-ju amid his 100th birth anniversary

On December 30th the late poet Yoon Dong-ju,
would have turned 100. He is celebrated by the people for his love
for country. Most of his poems vividly portray the agony
and oppression Koreans had to endure during Japan’s colonization. Lee Ji-won explains why the patriot left a
lasting mark through his works. The poet Yoon Dong-ju, born during one of
the toughest times in Korean history, the Japanese Imperial period,… fought against
Japan’s colonial rule with pen and paper. His love for poetry was evident from his youth. He published a number of poems in grade school,…
not to mention his determination to study literature in college, despite his father’s
wishes. But as much as he loved poetry,.. Yoon also
deeply loved his country. Despite Japan’s efforts to control and suppress
Korean culture,… Yoon insisted on writing poems using the Korean alphabet, Hangeul. To delve deeper into literature,… Yoon actually
decided to study abroad in Japan. And to do so,.. he had to take on a Japanese
surname,… Hiranuma, which led him to write one of his most famous poems,… “Confession.” Expressing his shame and guit, the poem reads
“My face remaining on a copper mirror rusted in blue — which dynasty’s remains is it to
be such a disgrace?” But while in Japan,… Yoon was arrested for
participating in the independence movement and was sent to prison,… where he reportedly
had to endure human experimentation and died at the age of 28. Thirty-one of Yoon’s poems were published
posthumously by his friend… under the title “Heaven, the Wind, Stars and Poems.” Most of Yoon’s work vividly depicts his frustration
with colonial rule,… and the clash between love and hatred for himself… amid reflections
on himself and his times. (stndup)
“For these reasons, Yoon Dong-ju is one of Korea’s best loved poets. And there have been many efforts to remember
him,.. including the Yoon Dong-ju Museum in Jongno-gu District.” The museum seeks to share the tragic but touching
life of the young poet. It has copies of his handwritten works, pictures
of Yoon Dong-ju, and an actual well that’s mentioned in a poem of his, through which
he portrays himself. (Korean)
“Though he did not fight with his body,… Yoon was an independence activist, with strong
determination. He continuously thought of and fought for
his nation and his people in a scholarly way. I really respect him.” His works have even touched the hearts of
some Japanese,… who read and study his poems. A Japanese group has even set up a monument
to Yoon in Japan. (Japanese)
“I recently watched a movie about Yoon Dong-ju, and wanted to study more about him and his
works. His poetry is so pure yet so tragic.” And though more than 70 years have passed
since Japan’s colonial rule over Korea ended,… Yoon Dong-ju and his poems live on in the
hearts of many Koreans. Lee Ji-won, Arirang News.

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