Seen in Jeonju

The Independent: Saturday, May 2, 1896

23rd January 2012

PB2603111Editorial: The claim made by the Japanese Government for the indemnity of $5000 for each Japanese life taken by Korean insurgents or others in the country is still before the Korean Government pending settlement.  For the last twenty years, more or less, Japan has recognized the independence of Korea and constantly asserted the sovereign rights of the King of Korea.  Japan has no other or larger rights in Korea than has England, America, France or any other power, and her citizens have no rights in Korea that do not pertain to the citizens of any other power in treaty with Korea.  The first proposition seems beyond dispute.  The second is that the present disturbed condition of affairs in Korea is an outcome of the intervention of the Japanese in the politics of Korea.  However good may have been Japan’s motives in thus intervening it is eveident that the present state of affairs is due to that intervention.  In the third place, this disturbed condition of affairs was very greatly increased by the events of October 8th, 1895 when, at Japanese instigation, the Queen was murdered.  It enraged the people against Japanese and made it extremely unsafe for any of that nationality to go into the interior; but not only did they go into the interior but we have it on the authority of the Foreign Office that very few of the Japanese who have cone into the country during the last year have been provided with passports. When was it that Japanese subjects were accorded the privilege of travelling at will about the country without passport, to be protected by the Korean Government at a risk of $5000 a head?  With the known combativeness of Japanese merchants in Korea and the rude way they treat Koreans, it would have been folly to hae granted them passports excepting on the clear condition that they went at their own risk.  Did the Japanese Consul know these men who were wandering about the interior and could have vouched for their good behavior?  The claim for indemnity wholly breaks down at this point, that the Japanese who were killed in the country without passports were where they had no legal right to be and the Korean government would be wholly absolved from responsibility in the matter even if there were not evidence that the Japanese were the main cause of the troubles.

But how stands the other side of the account?  The Korean Repository strkies the nail on the head when it says “Kill a coolie in an alley–$5000; murder a Queen in her chamber–gomen nasai.”  <‘Gomen nasai’ is Japanese for ‘I’m sorry’– tom>  Mr. A says on the street he is going to kill Mr. B.  He enters B’s house and comes out and immediately after B is founddead at the hand of an assassin.  There is the 8th of October case in a nutshell, and it would hang a man in any country.  The apathy of the people of the East is astonishing.  Much has been said about European apathy over the Armenian massacres, but here is a praallel– a power demanding an indemnity for the death of its subjects when they were where themost of them had no right to be and where their own government should have kept them from being , when but a few months ago that government’s representative had been implicated in the murder of the Queen of the country to which he had been accredited.  

We believe that Korea and Japan ought to be of great mutual benefit to each other commercially and industrially but it is evident that Japan needs Korea more than Korea needs Japan and so long as Japan goes on intensifying the hatred which Koreans feel toward her just so much farther will she be from attaining an end devoutly to be wished — repriprocity between the two countries and the supplementing of the material needs of each by the resources of the other. The first step toward such an end would be the withdrawal of such an absurd claim for indemnity. If it is not withdrawn we trust the Korean Government will refuse point blank to pay the claims of those who went into the country without permission form the Korean Government.

Brief Notice

We have made a visit to the two blocks of brick business buildings, erected by a company, at the Eastern end of Legation street and find them a credit to the city.  We inspected the completed part each block being divided into four apartments spearated from each other by a fire wall.  On the ground floor the whole space is given up to one large storage room with cement floor, well plastered walls and varnished wood ceilings.  A neat and compact staircase leads from this store room to a commodious hall on the upper floor, which hall is lighted by a window opening upon the street. Off this hall are two neat rooms finished in the best foreign style and quite well fitted for occupation by foreigners.  Owing to the low level of the surrounding houses, the view is excellent. The eight upstairs rooms and four halls of one of these blocks if joined by a verandah with a door from each opening upon it, would make a very neat and convenient little hotel–an institution even now greatly needed in Seoul and one that will be a necessity when the railroad opens.  A hotel might open in one of these blocks in a small way and grow to greater pretensions as the trade increases. 

We need a drug store here and hope some foreigner may start one in one of these apartments.  He could very comfortably live over his store.  Each apartment has a kitchen at the rear.  Even before completion these apartments are in demand, Messrs Tsuji & Co. having occupied one of them as a dry good store for some months.  Now that the whole is about  completed we understand an agent will be appointed to attend to the renting of them.  Meanwhile, letters addressed to the Seoul Improvement Company in care of the Independent will find the officers of the company.

At the law school forty-seven students were graduated lst winter and last Monday thirty-eight more finished the course and are ready to receive appointments.

The Magistrate of Po Chun reports that the insurgents in Ka Pyung have been dispersed by the Government troops and the Yong Pyung insurgents, hearing of it, also dispersed.

We learn that the Japanese were authorized by the War Office to cut down the old tree on Namsan and the wood is being used in making instruments for the use by soldiers in drilling.

Col. Nienstead has been transferred from the Royal Household Dept to the Pay Corps of the army. He is now the Chief Paymaster.

Mr. H. J. Muhlensteth, who hadcharge of the Chinese telegraph line here before the war is in Seoul after three years residence in China and Japan.

Mr. and Miss Tate came back to Seoul a few days ago from Chulla Province.

There was an auction at the French Legation yesterday and the room was crowded with articles of all descriptions and the able Auctioneer Mr. Morsel of Chemulpo hammered them off in fine style.

Im Chang Su, a Chong Dong house-broker, sold a house to a froeigner last June but did not dleiver the deed.  He afterwards pawned it to a Japanese and when the time expired it was found that he could not take the house as it had been sold.  The government therefore collected the maoney from Im and reimbursed the Japanese.

An agent of the 58th national Bank of Japan has arrived in Seoul fo the purpose of making a contract with the Korean Government to build a railroad between Seoul and Fusan. We are told that negotiations are now pending.

We have received from a reliable source the infromation that the French capitalists desire to obtain concessions to build a railroad between Seoul and Wi Ju.

Don’t forget the base ball game this afternoon at two o’clock at the Hun Yun An inside the East gate.

Chief Engineer C. J. McConnell and Asst. Engineer J. C. Leonard of the U.S.S.S.  Charleston have returned to Chemulpo.

H.B.M. Counul-General W.C. Hillier Esq. has gone to Chemulpo for a few days. During his absence W.H. Wilkinson Esq. has charge of the British Consulate General here.

The day before yesterday a man named Yi Keun Yang coming from Yang Chun met a boy bullock driver outside the South gate and made a bargain for the load of wood.  The boy followed him as far as Yang Wha Chin where the man suddenly turned on him and cut him twice in the neck with a sword.  The boy fell to the ground and feigned death.  The thief led the bullock toward Yang Chin.  The wounded boy got up and screamed for help.  Some passing bullock drivers heard him and came and learned his trouble.  They gave chase and caught the thief a few miles away and restored the bullock to the boy and turned the thief over to the police.

The Kobe Chronicle of Apr. 16th says of the Independent, “It is a small beginning but from our school days upwards we have been told that small beginnings often have great endings. Under judicious management the Independent should have a fine future before it.”

The Box of Curios says, “It is gotten up in good shape and is free from clippings, its local items making a better showing than some of our dailies. It shows an enterprise in a God-forsaken country that is most commendable and which deserves success.”– <The Box of Curios was an English-language magazine published in Japan– tom>

Disclaimer:  None of the opinions expressed in the Independent reflect my own and belong solely to the reporters and editors of the newspaper.

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