S-Space Kyujanggak Institute for Korean Studies (규장각한국학연구원) Korean Culture (한국문화) Korean Culture (한국문화) vol.30 (2002)
1896년 還宮 의병 운동의 전개 양상
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 규장각한국학연구원
- 한국문화, Vol.30, pp. 231-262
- On February 11th 1896. King Gojong moved himself to the Russian embassy, triggering a fundamental shift in the inside situation of the Chosun government. Pro-Japanese. pro-Gaehwa/開化 officials lost their power, and were replaced by pro-Russian officials. The so-called Gabo/甲午 -year Reformation was also halted. At the same time, the fact itself that the King, the head of the country, is continuing its administration inside a foreign embassy, urged the public to request the King's return to the palace. And the public's demanding sentiment eventually led to a series of ongoing political conflicts, which continued between faction members who intended to move the King back to the Palace, and pro-Russian. pro-Gaehwa faction members who wanted the King to stay where he was. By the former party, several ways to retrieve the King, including both peaceful massive appeals and physically forceful, Euibyeong militia actions, were all attempted until the King's return, which took place on February 20th, 1897.
The operations of the Euibyeong militia units continued throughout 1896, and there were several time periods in which the actions became quite fierce. During the February-March phase most notable Euibyeong actions took place in the Gyeonggi and Gangweon-do areas, and these militia units
had their first confrontation at the Namhan Sanseong Fortress in late February with the pro-Russian Chosun government. During the May-June phase, the most notable facets were the Euibyeong militias' decision to group at the Seoul area in front of the Russian embassy in early May to present a massive appeal, and the ongoing activities in various areas, including places of Gyeonggi. Gangweon and also the Gyeongsang-do region, which all saw heavy concentration of Euibyeong activities. And during the final August-September phase. Euibyeong actions strongly continued in the Chungcheong and Gyeongsang-do areas, before they were considerably subdued by the government.
But the diminishing activities of the militias were not an indication that the requests of the King's return were faltering. On the other hand, after October the voice of the faction members requesting the King's return started to overpower the pro-Russian government. The return of the King was beginning to be considered as the most logical and inevitable next step of the situation by everyone. Needs of extreme measures, like the militia activities, were becoming more and more obsolete, and were being replaced by massive appeals.
Behind the activities requesting the King's return were political figures like Kim Byeong Shi, Min Yeong Jun. Gojong's father Daeweon-gun. Shin Gi Seon. Lee Jong Geon and Lee Jae Sun, who had all been forced out of power at the beginning of the Gabo reformation efforts. Ever since, they were influencing the high-ranking officials and mobilizing the local Yangban Confucianists or low-ranking soldiers to arrange massive appeals and militia activities. Their proclaimed objective was the King's return, but one of their real intentions was to restore their ruling power which was severely disrupted by the Japanese invasion of the Palace in 1894. The fact that they were kicked out of power because of foreign interferences was the source of their anti-Japanese. anti-Russian, and anti-Western objectives. So we can see that the Euibyeong militia activities requesting the King's return to the Palace were indeed partially engineered with an ulterior motive in favor of the former officials who were determined to gain power once again.
King Gojong's return would severely weaken the power of the pro-Russian, pro-Gaehwa officials, the officials who served before 1894 were starting to face increased possibilities of being reinstated. This led to the halt of the Modernization efforts as well, except the efforts which were allowed only at the level of the so-called Gubon Shincharn/舊本新參