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Kim Gu : biography

August 29, 1876 - June 26, 1949

Kim Gu (김구; 金九; sometimes transliterated Kim Ku; also known by his pen name Baekbeom (백범; 白凡), August 29, 1876June 26, 1949), was the founder of the Republic of Korea, a South Korean politician, educator, the sixth and later the last president of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea, leader of Korean independence movement against the Japanese occupation of Korea that lasted from 1910 to 1945, and reunification activist who had struggled for the independent reunification of Korea since its national division in 1945.



  • 《Baekbeom Ilji》(백범일지; 白凡逸志)
  • 《Dowae Silgi》(도왜실기; 屠倭實記)
  • 《Baikbeom Urok》(백범어록; 白凡語錄)


Early life

Kim was born on August 29 (Lunar Calendar July 11), 1876 in Teot-gol (텃골), Baek-un-bang (백운방), Haeju (해주; 海州), South Hwanghae Province, Korea, the only son of a farmer Kim Soon Young (김순영) and his wife Kwak Nack Won (곽낙원). His name at birth was Kim Changahm (). When he was nine years old, he started to study Chinese classic texts such as Zizhi Tongjian (자치통감; 資治通鑒), and Great Learning (대학; 大學) at local seodangs.

Leader of Donghak movement

At the age of 16, Kim applied for the Gwageo (Imperial Examination) of Joseon but failed. After that, he joined the Donghak Movement(), a rebellion against government and foreign oppressions in 1893 and changed his name to Kim Changsoo (). As the organization grew rapidly, he was appointed the district leader of Palbong (팔봉) at the age of 17 and a Donghak army regiment. Following the instruction of Donghak leader Choi Si Hyung (최시형; 崔時亨), Kim's troops stormed the Haeju fort in Hwanghae-do, but the army was eventually defeated by governmental forces. After that, he was defeated by his companion, Dong-yeop Lee (이동엽) in the turf war of Donghak’s organization. Thereafter, the Royal Army's General Tae-hun An (안태훈; 安泰勳; (father of Ahn Jung-geun (안중근; 安重根) who would in 1909 assassinate the Japanese governor Ito Hirobumi (伊藤博文)), gave Kim's Donghak rebels a safe pass, but other government troops ignored An's safe pass and attacked them. At 20, with I-eon Kim whom he had met around Yalu River, Kim attacked the Royal Army unit holding the Gang-gye fort, supported by the Qing Dynasty's army. However, the attack failed and he went into hiding.

Assassination of Josuke Tsuchida

On October 8, 1895, Empress Myeongseong (명성황후; 明成皇后; 민비), the wife of Emperor Gwangmu (광무황제; 光武皇帝; 고종) of the Korean Empire was assassinated by a group of Japanese assassins (the Eulmi Incident; 을미사변; 乙未事變). Miura Goro (三浦梧楼), then Japan's Resident Minister in Korea, was suspected as the mastermind of the assassination. In February 1896, Kim stayed at an inn in Chihapo, Hwanghae Province while traveling to southern regions. There he found a Japanese man named Tsuchida Josuke (土田譲亮), who was disguised as a Korean and concealing a Japanese sword, and killed him believing that he was involved in the assassination of the queen.

In his autobiography, 'Baekbeom Ilji' (白凡逸志), Kim describes his motivation at the time as follows:

The following morning, Kim attacked Tsuchida, took his sword, and killed him with it. The "Report from acting administrator Hagihara Moriichi of Incheon Consulate on the current situation of Incheon" describes Tsuchida as a "commoner from Nagasaki Prefecture" and an "employee of a Nagasaki trader on a business trip". Reference code: A04010024500 However, this does not prove that Tsuchida was not involved in the assassination of the Empress Myeongseong, as this assassination was carried out not only by Japanese soldiers but also by many Japanese Ronins, as described in the report by Ezo Ishizuka (石塚英藏), the Japanese adviser to the Korean Empire at the time."山邊健太郞", Kentaro Yamabe (1966, p.223)

In addition, Kim stated in his autobiography that Tsuchida was concealing a sword and had identification papers that showed him to be a Japanese army lieutenant.새國史事典(New Encyclopedia of Korean History) (Seoul:Gyohaksa, 1983, ISBN 89-09-00506-8) Official Japanese interrogation police records from the time also verify the fact that Tsuchida was carrying a sword around.

Living octopus

Living octopus

In countries which are located near sea coasts, sea food is an important part of national cuisine