The Korea Herald


Korea wants back Japanese sword that struck empress


Published : March 29, 2010 - 17:12

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A committee will be launched today in order to retrieve "Hizendo," the sword used to kill Empress Myeongseong, Korea`s last empress, from Japan, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of patriot Ahn Jung-geun`s death.
Ahn cited 15 reasons for assassinating Hirobumi Ito, Japan`s first resident-general of Korea, one of which was the murder of Empress Myeongseong by the Japanese.
The sword is currently being kept at the Kushida shrine in Fukuoka, Japan, and the committee, made up of Korean cultural and religious leaders, is expected to bring back the symbol of the tragic historical incident that preceded Japan`s colonial rule of Korea.
Ven. Hyemun, a Buddhist monk who will head the committee, said he came to know the existence of the sword when he visited Japan in 2006 as part of campaigns to ask Japan to return Korean cultural assets.
The sword, originally made in the 16th century, had reportedly been used by Katsuaki To, one of the three attackers who killed the Korean empress in 1895. He later donated the sword to the Kushida shrine.
The organizing members of the committee said the sword should be either returned to Korea or destroyed because it symbolizes the tragic development between Korea and Japan.

By Yang Sung-jin