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Foreign Advocates for Korean Independence
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information on Korean stamp
Date of Issue : 2022.08.12
Types : 2
Denomination : 430 won
Design :
Stamp No. : 3609
Printing Process
& Colors
: null
Size of Stamp : 32 × 33
: 4 × 4
Image Area : 32 × 33
Paper : null
Perforation : 13¼ × 14
Printer : POSA
Designer : Ryu,Ji-hyeong
Quantity : 640,000
In Korean history, there were groups of foreign advocates from Korea`s Enlightenment period to the following period of Japanese colonial rule, who stood on the front line fighting for Korean independence. The active role they played in Korea’s independence movement contributed to successfully achieving independence. At a time when international travel was not easy, there were two historic figures Homer Bezaleel Hulbert and Ernest Thomas Bethell who traveled to all corners of the world to help Korea achieve its independence. Homer Bezaleel Hulbert (Korean name: Heol Beot; 1863–1949) arrived in Korea in 1886 and served as a teacher at Yugyeong Gongwon, Korea’s first modern public school. Serving as a teacher, he was attracted to the excellence of the Korean writing system (Hangeul), and in 1891 wrote 〈Knowledge Necessary For All (SaMinPilJi)〉, Korea’s first school textbook written in Hangeul. Hulbert also participated in the inauguration of The Independent (Dongnip Sinmun), Korea’s first daily newspaper published in Hangeul, and he was the editor for English edition. In 1905, Hulbert was sent to the US as a secret envoy of Emperor Kojong where he pleaded that the Protectorate Treaty was coerced and thus shall be null and void. He was also sent as the emperor’s special envoy for the Hague Convention of 1907 where he denounced Japan for its imperialist aggression against Korea and its enforcement of the treaty and continued to fight for the restoration of Korea`s national sovereignty. Hulbert died in Seoul in 1949 and was buried at the Yanghwajin Foreign Missionary Cemetery as per his will, “I would rather be buried in Korea than in Westminster Abbey.” Hulbert was honored with the Independence Medal (then Taegeuk Medal) of the Order of Merit for National Foundation in 1950 for his outstanding contribution to Korea`s independence movement, and the Golden Order of Merits for Culture and Arts in 2014 for his immeasurable contribution to Hangeul. Ernest Thomas Bethell (Korean name: Bae Seol; 1872–1909) arrived in Korea in 1904 as a special correspondent for the British newspaper the Daily Chronicle to report on the Russo-Japanese War. In Korea, he founded The Korea Daily News (Daehan Maeil Sinbo) and wrote powerful anti-Japanese articles, denouncing the barbaric acts of atrocity committed against Korean people by the Japanese Empire. Bethell opposed Japan snatching the right to cultivate Korean “wastelands,” and disclosed the unlawfulness of the Protectorate Treaty made on November 17, 1905 to which Emperor Kojong refused to put his Imperial seal. He won enthusiastic support of the Korean population with his daily coverage highlighting the anti-Japanese struggles of the Korean righteous army across the country. Bethell also earned the support of Emperor Kojong who expressed his support by secretly sending donations. Japan strongly demanded to the UK for his deportation from Korea and the closure of his newspapers, and Bethell was sent to Shanghai for three weeks’ imprisonment. Bethell died with the will, “Though I die, may The News enjoy eternal life and save the Korean people,” and was buried at the Yanghwajin Foreign Missionary Cemetery. In 1968, Bethell was posthumously honored for his outstanding service for the Korean independence with the Order of Merit for National Foundation. The selvage of the commemorative stamp features brief information of some articles Hulbert and Bethell left behind and their achievements. The book SaMinPilJi and the score of Arirang are related to Hulbert. Daehan Maeil Sinbo founded by Bethell and the Taegeukgi, the Korean national flag that belonged to Bethell known to be hoisted above the newspaper office, are among the extant mementos of Bethell. We hope this commemorative stamp series serve as an opportunity to remember foreign advocates of Korean independence who dedicated their lives to the restoration of Korea`s national sovereignty.