Korean Independence Day 2022.   

Korean National Liberation Day falls on August 15 and is also known as ‘Gwangbokjeol,’ which translates to ‘bringing back the light.’ This name represents the end of the darkness of Japan’s rule over South Korea. Gwangbokjeol is one of the few national holidays that is shared with North Korea, which also observes its Liberation Day on August 15th and exactly three years later, on August 15, 1948, the Republic of Korea was officially established.

I would like to introduce you to a famous poem ‘When that Day Comes (그날이 오면)’ written by Sim Hun .It was originally written in Korean but also translated into English. One can feel how strong Korean people’s aspiration for liberation was. Apparently, that Day means the day Korea would become independent and liberated from Japanese rule.

Sim Hun was born in Seoul in 1904. When he was a high-school student, he participated in the March 1, 1919, independence demonstration and was arrested by the Japanese police and imprisoned for four months. Later, he went to China to attend Zhijiang University. When he returned to Korea, he worked as a newspaper reporter and composed poetry. In “When That Day Comes,” he mentions the great fifteenth-century Chongno bell which is located in Seoul’s Pagoda Park and the bell was associated with the March 1st demonstration. In this poem, Sim imagines it clanging loudly on the day that Korea at last regains its freedom. He died in 1937, eight years before Korea’s liberation.


When That Day Comes by Sim Hun

When that day comes
Mount Samgak will rise and dance,
the waters of Han will rise up.

If that day comes before I perish,
I will soar like a crow at night
and pound the Chongno bell with my head.
The bones of my skull
will scatter, but I shall die in joy.

When that day comes at last
I’ll roll and leap and shout on the
and if joy still stifles within my breast
I’ll take a knife

and skin my body and make
a magical drum and march with it
in the vanguard. O procession!
Let me once hear that thundering
my eyes can close then.


그 날이 오면 -심훈

그 날이 오면, 그 날이 오면은
삼각산이 일어나 더덩실 춤이라도 추고
한강물이 뒤집혀 용솟음칠 그 날이
이 목숨이 끊어지기 전에 와 주기만 하량이면
나는 밤하늘에 나는 까마귀와 같이
종로의 인경을 머리로 들이받아 울리오리다.
두개골은 깨어져 산산조각이 나도
기뻐서 죽사오매 오히려 무슨 한이 남으오리까.

그 날이 와서, 오오 그 날이 와서
육조(六曹) 앞 넓은 길을 울며 뛰며 뒹굴어도
그래도 넘치는 기쁨에 가슴이 미어질 듯하거든
드는 칼로 이 몸의 가죽이라도 벗겨서
커다란 북을 만들어 들쳐 메고는
여러분의 행렬에 앞장을 서오리다.
우렁찬 그 소리를 한 번이라도 듣기만 하면
그 자리에 거꾸러져도 눈을 감겠소이다.


We rejoice with the people of South Korea today whose day of freedom has come, and let us pray and continue hoping that the world will take note of the cost of gaining freedom from oppression of all kinds, as we work towards a united world where we can ‘rise and dance’ and celebrate freedom.

Happy Independence Day to the People of Korea.


Categories News