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Yi Kwang-su and war

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By Bernard Rowan

Recently I've been reading stories of South Korean families' experiences during the Korean War. These stories present the bitter realities of fighting and overcoming the communists. They prefigure the greatness of South Korea today. Among them is the account of a family led by Lee Choonwon (Yi Kwang-su). Thanks to his daughter, Lee Chung-hwa, posterity will benefit from learning of her mother's battle to save her family, and her determination to keep her medical practice going. Choi Yearn-hong has shared with me her story, which I will write about for this column. Yi's story will form part of his forthcoming book, "The Forgotten War: As Remembered by Six Adolescents."

Yi Kwang-su (1892-1950) was a leader of the resistance to Japanese colonial rule. Choonwon was his nickname and means "spring garden." Yi is the author of the Korean Declaration of Independence (Feb. 8, 1919) and served as editor and publisher of the Korean Independence News from Shanghai as a member of the interim government. Lee also wrote a famous early 20th century novel entitled "Mujeong" (Heartless).

Yi's daughter's story of her mother's efforts to save her father, brother, sisters and her makes for riveting reading.........

© The Korea Times