Day Trip to Hwaseong: In Remembrance of the 3.1 Independence Movement


August 15 is the National Liberation Day of Korea. On this day in 1945, Japa

Day Trip to Hwaseong: In Remembrance of the 3.1 Independence Movement

August 15 is the National Liberation Day of Korea. On this day in 1945, Japan surrendered and brought an end to World War II. Korea was liberated from Japanese rule, and the day is known as Gwangbokjeol, which literally means “the day the light returned.” Among the many public displays of Korea’s resistance to the Japanese occupation before liberation, the most significant was the 3.1 Independence Movement on March 1, 1919.

The 3.1 Independence Movement, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, is the largest and most prominent movement in the history of Korea. A total of 33 national representatives read the Korean Declaration of Independence at a restaurant in Seoul, and was arrested by the Japanese police. The citizens showed their support by chanting “manse,” meaning “Long live Korean independence,” and this soon spread into a nationwide resistance. The 3.1 Independence Movement Manse-gil and 3.1 Independence Movement Memorial Hall in Hwaseong traces the history of Korea’s independence movement. I did not have much opportunity to learn Korean history despite living in Seoul, and I was glad to enhance my historical understanding through this trip.

Tracing History Along Manse-gil: Hwaseong 3.1 Independence Movement Manse-gil, Hwaseong Hwasu Elementary School

Hwaseong is an hour’s drive away from Seoul. The first on our itinerary was the 3.1 Independence Movement Manse-gil Visitor’s Center. The guide introduced Hwaseong’s active role in the 3.1 Independence Movement.

On the wall of the Visitor’s Center was a brick wall housing the names of independence fighters from those days in transparent blocks. They were names to be remembered for centuries to come. We then headed to the Audiovisual Room. The bamboo trees planted to the back of the room not only symbolized how the patriots stood tall in the face of adversity, but also added to the dignified atmosphere of the Audiovisual Room.

After watching a video clip in the Audiovisual Room, we dropped by the nearby Hwasu Elementary School, which was what used to be the base of independence operations. A monument has been erected at the entrance of the school in the memory of the national heroes. The last place we visited along Manse-gil was the birthplace of an independence fighter.

Jeamni 3.1 Independence Movement Memorial Hall, Paying Tribute to Independence Fighters

The last on our itinerary was Jeamni 3.1 Independence Movement Memorial Hall, which offers educational sessions on the Jeam-ri and Goju-ri massacres. The memorial hall features a wealth of historical materials on the 3.1 Independence Movement in Hwaseong and the personal artifacts of independence fighters at that time. Professor Yong-hwan Shim of Sungkonghoe University explained the background and outcomes of the 3.1 Independence Movement. The hour-long lecture deepened my understanding of the 3.1 Independence Movement and its historical significance in Korea.

Delectable Hansik at Jeam Jonggajip Garden

For lunch, we went to Jeam Jonggajip Garden. The restaurant was roomy and had comfortable seats, making it suitable for large groups. We ordered mushroom bulgogi, one of the most popular menu items. The dish was served already cooked, and all we had to do was mix the sauce, spring onion, enoki, and beef. The sweet-salty sauce was perfect with a bowl of steamed rice. The table was set with five side dishes, which can be refilled at no extra charge.

See’s Coffee, a Popular Brand in Korea’s Convenience Stores

See’s Coffee Factory in the city of Yongin is the supplier of See’s Coffee, a popular brand in Korea’s convenience stores. I was amazed by the variety of products, and had the opportunity to grind my own beans after a factory tour.

I have often ordered coffee at cafes, but this was the first time making my own. The experience was interesting, and at the same time, expanded my knowledge about coffee. The beautiful view of the mountains made it all the more pleasant and memorable. There was also a free tasting of drinks manufactured by See’s Coffee. The drinks were affordable, convenient, and of course, ready for purchase for those interested.