Paper’s founder arrives; former president dies

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Paper’s founder arrives; former president dies

July 16, 1904
When Ernest Thomas Bethell first came to Seoul in 1904 as a correspondent for the London Daily News, he never thought he’d settle down in this country thousands of miles from his home. But that was exactly what he did, in a time of turmoil when world powers like Japan and Russia were vying to colonize the peninsula. Mr. Bethell was even given a Korean name, Bae Seol, by the king of the Joseon Dynasty. A few months after his arrival, Mr. Bethell launched a newspaper of his own, along with Korean friends like Yang Gi-tak. Titled Daehan Maeil Sinbo (Korea Daily News), it came out every other day.
Mr. Bethell was one of the rare expatriates willing to join the fight against Japan’s designs on Korea. Launching a newspaper was part of these efforts. Korea Daily News was a card-carrying anti-Japanese newspaper. To circumvent suppression by the Japanese, Mr. Bethell registered himself as the head of the paper. Since Mr. Bethell was British, there was not much Japan could do to interfere, as the country had friendly diplomatic ties with Britain.
The following year, Mr. Bethell and Mr. Yang made a further move forward, launching an English version of the paper, which they called Korea Daily News. It was one of the first English newspapers in Korea. The purpose of the English version was to foster a wider understanding in the international community of Japan’s intentions for Korea. When Japan officially colonizing Korea in 1910, the government launched the English-language Seoul Press to advance its own interests.
The newsroom of Korea Daily News, which featured Mr. Bethall along with several reporters and editors in Korean hanbok, soon earned a reputation for its uncompromising anti-Japanese stance. The English-language Korea Daily News had more than 450 subscribers around the country, part of the 10,000-plus circulation of the mother paper. Mr. Bethell died in Seoul in 1909; in August of 1910, the colonial authorities forced the Korea Daily News to stop publishing.

July 18, 1990
Yoon Bo-sun, the fourth president of Korea, led a life of vicissitudes, and one that was deeply entwined in modern Korean history. As an independence fighter during Japanese colonial rule and freedom fighter against Park Chung Hee’s military regime in the 1970s, Mr. Yoon left big footprints in Korean modern political history. Born the eldest son of a well-off family in Chungcheong province, Mr. Yoon enjoyed a peaceful childhood, safe from the political turmoil of colonial rule.
His carefree youth ended at the age of 19, when the 1911 Revolution in pursuit of democracy took place in China. To witness the historic revolution, Mr. Yoon moved to Shanghai, where he met Korean independence fighters opposed to Japanese rule. During his three-year-long stay in Shanghai, Mr. Yoon eyes were opened to the grim realites in his own country. Following the advice of independence fighters, Mr. Yoon moved to Europe, where he graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 1930.
Back home, Mr. Yoon joined the anti-Japanese political camp led by Syngman Rhee. After the long-awaited liberation from Japan in 1945, Mr. Rhee became the first president, but Mr. Yoon left Mr. Rhee’s camp because of political differences. Mr. Rhee, dreaming of a lifelong presidency, was ostracized after the April 19 Revolution against Mr. Rhee in 1960. It was Mr. Yoon who then assumed his post.
His happiness did not last long. Late at night on May 16, 1961, Mr. Yoon had some unwelcome visitors to his residence: Park Chung Hee and his followers, leading a coup d’etat. When Mr. Park announced, “We’re here out of love for our country,” Mr. Yoon is said to have murmured, “It has finally come,” a remark which would later be controversial.
Thus began his years of fighting against the military regime. Mr. Yoon was determined to keep his post as an activist in opposition parties against the regime. After Park Chung Hee was assassinated in 1979, however, Mr. Yoon remained relatively silent about the subsequent military regime of Chun Doo Hwan, which again made him a controversial figure.
Mr. Yoon had daily habits of reading every single newspaper in town and walking around his house in Anguk-dong; he died on this date at the age of 93.


by Chun Su-jin

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