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Censored Korean newspaper shows restrictions under Japanese colonial rule Updated: 2022-08-11 16:46:19 KST

It's Thursday and that means we have our weekly segment of Arts & Culture.
For this, we have our culture correspondent Kim Yeon-seung in the studio with us.
Welcome, Yeon-seung.

Thank you Jung-min.

So let's get right into it. What do you have for us today?

As you know, Liberation Day on August 15th is coming up.
And I know a lot of people look forward to this because it's an extra day for a summer holiday.
But I thought I would use this time to remind people about what this holiday is really about- the day that Korea was finally liberated from the painful past of the Japanese colonial rule.
For this week's segment, I visited the National Museum of Korean Contemporary History, where they're displaying old Korean newspapers that were censored by the Japanese government.
I also met with the artisan who helped revive these newspapers.
Among the many things arts and culture can do- enrich peoples' lives and bring joy-, i think that helping people remember a past that should not be forgotten is one of the most important.
Take a look.

These harshly drawn red marks are traces of Imperial Japan on Korean paper.
During the colonial rule from 1910 to 1945, freedom was scarce- and so was freedom of the press.
So the Korean newspaper Jung-oe Ilbo had to be censored.
Anything that hinted of Korean independence, defended Korean activists, or shed a bad light on Imperial Japan was struck off by the Japanese government.
But what Imperial Japan had tried to keep from the world is now openly displayed in the lobby of the National Museum of Korean Contemporary History.

"Japan is try to control remembering the history so I can say that it's important to remember the history of the colonial period at this liberation day of Korea"

Before going on display, these old newspapers first had to go through the hands of artisan Jeong Chan-cheong.

"The paper from the Japanese rule is made out of pulp. So if it's old, it oxidizes and breaks down. So I tried to use minimal water and tried to fill in the cracks with traditional Korean paper. It was a very difficult process."

Jeong Chan-cheong is a master in the art of breathing new life into paintings and paper artifacts.
He's honed his craft for over 40 years.
And he's used his skills to revive Korean newspapers published during the Japanese rule.
But even for him, this was a challenge because the papers were so brittle and fragile.

"It took about 6 months for this project. There aren't just one or two pages, but a hundred of them. And we had to pay deep care to every single one of them."

But despite the arduous process, he says that it's worth it, because the revived pieces will help remind generation after generation of the painful past Korea has been through and the cost the country had to pay to finally get its freedom back.

Culture really does help remind people of what has gone on in the past.

Absolutely, and as a journalist, this report meant a lot to me as well, because it also served as a reminder of how precious freedom of the press is.

Well then, other than checking out that exhibit, what else can our viewers do over this three-day National Liberation Day weekend?

If viewers are interested getting a more vivid idea of how life was during the colonial period, there's a play that depicts the life of the famous liberation activist Yi Sang-ryong.
It's taking place at the Andong Imcheonggak in Gyeongsangbuk-do Province, which also used to be the home where activist Yi Sang-ryong grew up in.
The play is called "The Sound of Wind in Seogando" and it's on show every day at seven-thirty PM throughout this three-day weekend.
It relives the life of Yi Sang-ryong and how he seeked asylum in Manchuria and how he founded the Shinheung Military Academy where he raised thousands of other activists.

That sounds lovely.
What other events can you tell for our viewers staying in capital Seoul?

Well, the new and improved Gwanghwamun Square is going to be the site of the events that will commemorate the 77th anniversary of Korea's liberation.
The Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra on Saturday is performing there in honor of the patriots who fought for this country's freedom.
Seoul city is also streaming the event live online, so anyone who's interested can check it out from the comfort of their own home.
Renowned conductor Kim Sun-wook will be conducting the orchestra and they will be playing songs by the composers Anton n Dvo k and Bed ich Smetana among others.
KOGL : Korea Open Government License
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