Dosan.doc - DOSAN THE MAN AND HIS THOUGHT By Ahn Pyong-Uk Preface Any nation has a historic task to resolve A great man clearly recognizes what the task

Dosan.doc - DOSAN THE MAN AND HIS THOUGHT By Ahn Pyong-Uk...

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DOSAN: THE MAN AND HIS THOUGHT By Ahn Pyong-Uk Preface Any nation has a historic task to resolve. A great man clearly recognizes what the task is, shows the method of settling it, and displays to the people his courage and confidence that they can solve it. A national leader is one who exemplifies the national vision, and teaches a method of national dedication to it. Ahn Chang-Ho (Dosan by penname), whom this writer is going to explain, was one of Korea's most eminent national leaders. The historic task facing Korea at the time when Dosan lived was the recovery of her national sovereignty. The task called for the liberation of the Korean people from the aggression of Japanese imperialism, the establishment of a foundation for their national independence and prosperity. Ahn Chang-Ho devoted his life of 59 years and four months to the achievement of this historic task. Dosan was a patriotic revolutionary who devoted his whole life to the Korean independence movement, a great thinker who possessed the philosophy of national salvation, and a prominent educator who exerted his utmost to improve national education. In 1876, Japan forced Korea to accept an unequal treaty, thereby taking the first step toward aggression against Korea. In 1910, Japan finally succeeded in occupying Korea by forceful means, annexing her as a colony. For the succeeding 36 years, Japan enforced colonial rule on Korea, perhaps without parallel elsewhere in severity. On August 15, 1945, Korea was liberated from political subjugation to Japan on account of the latter's defeat in World War II. Korean history during the period from 1876 to 1945 was dotted with tragedies as a Japanese colony and with gallant movements dedicated to the cause of national liberation from the status of a Japanese colony. It was in 1878 that Dosan was born, two years after Korea was forced into the unequal treaty. It was in 1938 that he died a martyr to patriotism. The agonies he had undergone while serving his prison term became critical, seven years before the liberation. His life coincided with the period when the Korean people were enslaved by Japan and when they struggled hard to regain their independence. In understanding the life, the man, and the thought of a person, it is decisively important to know the nature of the period in which he was born. What Korean history commanded to achieve at the time Ahn Chang-Ho lived was the restoration of national independence. He could hear the historic command, and remained loyal to it until his last moment. He was a statesman and an educator, as well as a prominent thinker. He was both an educational thinker and a political thinker. He was a thinker who possessed the vision of national independence, a program of social reform, and the philosophy of character innovation. The three formed an inseparable relation in him. His system of thought, whose gist comprised his theories on the "four greatest spirits," character innovation, reform of racial characteristics, and accumulation
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