Lee, James Hajun


Lee, James Hajun: He endured the hardship of the harshest imprisonment for his Korean independence struggle fought in the heart of Japan.

He fought for Korean independence both in Ko- rea and in Japan. In America, he taught Korean for the rest of his long life. His role model was Dosan Ahn Chang Ho. He also served as the president of  Kwangbok ( meaning Korean Liberation) Association in San Francisco. While in Japan, he studied law in Tokyo. There, he fought against the Japanese Empire, but he fought for the covert   Korean national independence. He was arrested and charged in Tokyo on Janu- ary 15, 1941 and from there he was transferred to his home town Pyungyang, then North Korea where he was thrown in jail for the next two years and six month as a political prisoner. His alleged crime was a violation of breach of peace. Upon Korean liberation in 1945, he enrolled in Yonhee (now Yonsei) University in Seoul to study philosophy. He came to America in 1948. While he was studying in Pasadena, California and when the Korean War broke out, he has been a Korean language professor at the Army Language School (now The Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center) at Monterey for the rest of his life. In 1947, he joined Hung Sa Dahn with his badge Number 316. When Min, Pyong-yong, publisher of this book, interviewed him on January 15, 2015, he stated: “I wish we all whould learn the spirit of self- immolation of our Korean fore-fathers who sacrificed whatever they had solely for the Korean independence.” He continued to underscore that “we enjoy freedom now, because our ancestors sacrificed them- selves, wherever we were born.” He authored five books in his   life time: “Group Dance of Adam’s Descendants,” story written in prison (1998), ”Following the Light,” essays (2003), “The Wayfaring Life,” essays (2008), “Whispering Tittle-tattle,” mem- oir (2008) and “Mother’s Crooning” (2012). In 1954, he married Ko, In-sook and they have two children: son, In-chul and daughter, In-hee. In 1990, the South Korean government recognized him with the Order of Merit of National Foundation / Patriotic People Award for his unwavering service and dedication for Korean independence movement.


▲ Professor James H. Lee (far left), Mr. Moon, Choong-hwan and Min, Pyong-yong, the publisher. (2003)