We have travelled 122 miles to the coast and the Lushunkou District (formerly known as Port Arthur) where Ahn Joong Gun was imprisoned for the assassination of Hiro Bumi Ito. Ahn claimed he was a Lieutenant General in the Korean Resistance Army and demanded to be treated by the Japanese as a prisoner of war not a common criminal. He listed 15 offenses he believed Hiro Bumi Ito had committed which justified his execution.
He was shown sympathy by his Japanese captors, with public prosecutor Mizobuchi Takao reportedly telling him “From what you have told me, it is clear that you are a righteous man of East Asia. I can’t believe a sentence of death will be imposed on a righteous man. There’s nothing to worry about.” However, after 5 months and 6 trials he was sentenced to death, which angered him. His brothers reportedly visited him with a message from his mother “Your death is for the sake of your country, and don’t ask for your life cowardly. Your brave death for justice is final filial regards to your mother.”
Still, Ahn strongly believed that with Hiro Bumi Ito now dead, Japan and Korea could become allies, beginning but not completing an essay entitled “On Peace In East Asia” in which he recommended a combined army and joint bank notes between Korea, Japan and China.
Ahn requested to be executed as a prisoner of war by firing squad, but instead it was ordered that he be hanged as a common criminal, which happened on 26th March 1910. Ahn’s love for his country was captured forever in the words “The best rivers and mountains” which he reportedly wrote on his cell wall in his own blood whilst awaiting his execution.
We will be marking our arrival with 122 prisoner get ups before continuing 230 miles east to the Chongchon River.