RCE Inje - 2022

Finding the forgotten independence activists
Basic Information
Title of project : 
Finding the forgotten independence activists
Submitting RCE: 
RCE Inje
Contributing organization(s) : 
Inje county Independence Activists Search Headquarters, Korean Liberation Association, Inje Office of Education
Focal point(s) and affiliation(s)
Kim Chang Heum
Organizational Affiliation: 
RCE Inje
Format of project: 
Language of project: 
Korean, English
Date of submission:
Thursday, September 1, 2022
Additional resources: 


Independence Movement Memorial Monument Construction Project
At what level is the policy operating?: 
Geographical & Education Information
Korea, South
Inje county, Gangwon-do, Republic of Korea
Address of focal point institution for project: 
86 inje-ro, inje-eup, inje county, Gangwon-do, Republic of Korea
Socioeconomic and environmental characteristics of the area : 
Inje County was a battlefield during the Korean War from 1950 to 1953, and is still an disconnect zone of war and confrontation in the middle of the demilitarized zone. Inje County is located at the intersection of Baekdudaegan, the main ecological axis of the Korean peninsula, and DMZ and has the best ecosystem diversity and abundance in Korea due to limited development activities due to military reasons, geographical location and natural conditions.

It is a report of the ecosystem of Korea with a population of 20 people per square kilometer, and it is a mountain village school. The water quality of the 19 rivers which have the highest oxygen content in the whole country and which is used for drinking water is very good and there are 18 places, and one good place is clean and clean air and water area.

More than 1 million tourists visit the area annually to visit the natural environment. There are Soraksan National Park, Korea's first UNESCO Biosphere Reservation Area, Korea's first Ramsar Wetland No. 1 Mt, Daeham Yongneup, DMZ, Birch Forest, .
Description of sustainable development challenge(s) in the area the project addresses: 
In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the March 1st Movement (1919), the most representative resistance movement during the Japanese colonial era, the activities to find anti-Japanese independence activists and their descendants in the Inje county began. The motivation to start this came from the Donghak is the national the religion of a people of the Republic of Korea.

Donghak teaches that to serve people is to serve heaven, which means that all people are equal and precious as heaven. It began at the end of the 19th century to correct the chaotic politics and corrupt society and to save the lives of the people in difficult circumstances.
During the Japanese colonial period in the early 20th century, it developed into an anti-Japanese volunteer activity to save the country.

When I saw that the first publication of the book on the teachings of Donghak was in Inje, and that Guseongje, a representative event of Donghak, was first started in Inje, I came to know that Inje-gun was the center of Donghak.

However, despite the fact that many battles took place in the Inje area during the Japanese colonial period, there was a problem with the fact that there were no records of people from Inje.

Thus, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the March 1st Movement, a representative resistance movement in Korea during the Japanese colonial period, the Inje-gun Independence Activist Search Headquarters was formed in 2019 to search for the forgotten independence activists and their descendants in the Inje county.
January, 2019
Although Inje-gun was the center of Donghak and the region where the representative resistance movement of Gangwon-do occurred, there was a problem that there were not many records of independence activists in the area due to insufficient research. Thus, students and residents gathered and participated in finding the independence activists in Inje-gun through imprisonment records, genealogy surveys, surveys, and interviews during the Japanese colonial period, and began to inform the local community of the forgotten independence activists who fought to reclaim the country.
- Find the independence activists in the Inje area who sacrificed themselves to regain the country but are disappearing from history so that their achievements can be recognized by the state.
- Prepare a memorial space for the independence activists and volunteers who died without a name.
- Find the descendants of independence activists, let them know the activities of their ancestors and make them proud, and also allow them to receive financial support from the state.
- Let the local youth and residents know about the independence activists and activities of Inje-gun and imitate the noble spirit that you sacrificed for the country.
Activities and/or practices employed: 
- 2019. 3 : Establishment of Inje-gun Independence Activists Search Headquarters
- 2019. 3 : The records of imprisoned in Seodaemun Prison during the Japanese colonial period were investigated.
- 2019. 5. Held an interim report to discover independence activists in Inje-gun and share activities with residents
- 2019. 7. Visited areas near Kimi Manse Park in Hongcheon-gun.
- 2019. 11: An academic presentation was held to discover independence activists in Inje-gun.
- 2020. 2~3: We held several meetings about the search for independence activists.
- 2020. 7. A meeting was held to investigate the entire Inje-gun. Participating organizations include the Inje County Independence Activist Search Headquarters with Inje RCE, Gangwon-do Office of Education, Gangwon-do Liberation Society, and Inje Office of Education.
- 2020. 7. Produced an educational video with the theme of independence activists at the Inje Office of Education.
- On October 10, 2020, job training was conducted for 20 middle and high school social studies teachers to investigate the current status and number of local independence activists.
- 2020. 10-12: The school conducted a full-scale investigation to find local independence activists.
- 2021. 2 : 'I will never forget' Inje-gun independence movement history book was published.
- 2021. 4. On April 17, 2021, a joint commemoration ceremony was held for the first time in the history of the Inje-gun anti-Japanese independence movement. April 17th is the day Kim Jong-cheol from Inje died.
On this day, 98 independence activists and 300 unknown soldiers who died without their names were commemorated.
- On July 7, 2021, field surveys were conducted three times, including family genealogy and tombstone surveys.
- 2021. 7: The excavated independence activists were exhibited at the Sanchon Folklore Museum and Haneulnaerin Hall to share with the residents.
- 2021. 10. We shared the current status of discovery of independence activists with 300 young people and residents, and made and watched a play.
- 2022. 4. The 2nd Inje-gun Anti-Japanese Independence Movement Fighters Joint Memorial Ceremony was held.
- 2022. 5. Registered with the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs along with data to be recognized for the contributions of independence activists in the Inje area.
Size of academic audience: 
Students and residents who participated in the survey : over 1,200 and I think that more than 30,000 residents have come to know about it through public relations such as the media and broadcasting.
In 2017, before this movement began, only 12 people were registered as independence activists in Inje-gun and the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs.
However, with the efforts of the Independence Activists Search Headquarters, 101 independence activists were able to be found as of 2022. Mainly, the data and literature of prison imprisonment during the Japanese colonial period were analyzed.
The government registers the merits of independence activists who died fighting to reclaim their homeland and awards them with appropriate medals or awards. Every year, 4 to 5 people are organized and registered with the Ministry of Veterans Affairs and Veterans Affairs.
They are also participating in finding the descendants of independence activists through full-scale investigations and field visits. Inje-gun plans to build a memorial to commemorate the sacrifices of independence activists.
Lessons learned: 
In the Inje area, documents from government offices disappeared due to the Korean War, and it was so long ago that no one remembers those involved. Also, during the Japanese colonial period, independence activists who changed their names to protect their families or were imprisoned in prison often did not inform their descendants of these criminals, making it difficult to find descendants. Nevertheless, the reason we need to remember the deeds of our ancestors who tried to restore the country 100 years ago and the spirit of sacrifice is to not forget those who sacrificed for the peace of the village and the country.
Key messages: 
The Republic of Korea is located between the four great powers (USA, China, Russia, and Japan), and South and North Korea are facing each other, and also facing tensions and crises between the United States and China.

Under these circumstances, the Inje region, which belongs to the DMZ, is making efforts to transform the border region into a peace zone, and it is a place that has a greater need for peace than anyone else.

We must strive for a peaceful future without war so that the blood and sacrifices of the independence activists who tried to restore peace on the Korean Peninsula are not in vain.

To that end, it is very important to find out the history of the peace resistance movement in the Inje area. This is because we must feel and practice the cries of our ancestors who were sacrificed for peace 100 years ago in our hearts.

Also, as taught by Donghak, it is important to create a peaceful world that respects people and the sky (nature).
Relationship to other RCE activities: 
From 2013 to the present, we have been interacting with Kitakyushu RCE on the topic of peace, and we are cooperating with the Global Arena in Munakata City, Fukuoka Prefecture.
Students selected from all schools in the Inje area, including Inje High School, Shinnam High School, Kirin High School, and Wontong High School, had a chance to experience Japanese school life and culture for one to two weeks.

In addition, agricultural and livestock industry workers and residents also visited Japan to exchange information on organic farming and eco-friendly farming.

In Japan, Kitakyushu City University and ESD officials visit Inje once a year, and university student interns from Fukuoka also come to Inje rce to exchange for a month. (2020, 2022)

Even if there is tension and confrontation between countries between Korea and Japan
We are working in various fields so that students and civil society can become actors and build a peaceful relationship between Korea and Japan.
The operating expenses of the Inje-gun Independence Activists Search Headquarters are collected from individual and group membership fees.
Most of the independence activist surveys were conducted by volunteers.
Support such as presentations and events is supported by RCE inje.


File Name Caption for picture Photo Credit
Image icon 인제군독립운동가찾기본부.jpg (3.78 MB) independence activist presentation Changheum KIM
Image icon 20210715_084445.jpg (5.88 MB) Find tombs that match genealogical records Changheum KIM
memorial service Changheum KIM
Image icon 인제군 독립운동가.jpg (337.43 KB) Exhibition Changheum KIM
References and reference materials: 
UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
(https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs) and other themes of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)
SDG 11 - Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable 
SDG 16 - Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels 
Traditional Knowledge  
Curriculum Development 
ESD for 2030-Priority Action Areas
Priority Action Area 1 - Advancing policy 
Priority Action Area 2 - Transforming learning and training environments 
Priority Action Area 3 - Developing capacities of educators and trainers 
Priority Action Area 4 - Mobilizing youth 
Priority Action Area 5 - Accelerating sustainable solutions at local level 
I acknowledge the above: