2.8 Declaration of Independence | Reading in Japanese

It was shortly after the end of World War I, President of the United States, Woodrow Wilson made a speech in support of the principle of national self-determination. For many Koreans, Wilson’s support for liberation from colonialism justified for their independence movement.

On February 8th in 1919, about 300 Korean students gathered in YMCA hall in Kanda, then formed “Korean Youth Independent Corps”, and the executive committee declared the independence of Korea. However, any freedom – of assembly or association, expression or publication, of religion or even of launching a new business – was not allowed in Japan at that time, therefore, the police who kept watching the group interrupted the assembly and arrested nine students on charges of against the Japanese government.
However, their “Declaration of Independence” was transmitted in Seoul, which caused the March First Movement.

In an impersonal warehouse, 9 Vietnamese plays the roles of Korean students at the time by reading “Declaration of Independence, February 8th” through theatrical direction which mixes the imaginative world and the reality. How can we recognize today the words written in 1919, which fiercely criticized the Japanese society with injustice and inequality based on discrimination? The artist raises the question about the historical significance of “Declaration of Independence, February 8th” a document drafted with the help of the father of modern Korean literature, Yi Kwang-su, when he was an exchange student in Japan, who was
criticized for switching his stance to “pro-Japanese, for the people.”