The Russo-Japanese War and the Ilchinhoe’s Rise, 1904–1905
This chapter illustrates how the Ilchinhoe came forward both in local arenas and on the national stage during the Russo-Japanese War and how its forceful emergence riled the Korean monarch, the Korean ruling elite, and the Japanese. When the war began, the Ilchinhoe and the converted Tonghaks most positively associated their political vision with Japan's advance in the war. As Japanese troops were landing on the Korean Peninsula, the Ilchinhoe and Tonghaks simultaneously conducted nationwide uprisings against the Korean monarchy. Thus, far more than previous studies have acknowledged, the Ilchinhoe emerged as a formidable political force in Korea during the Russo-Japanese War, although their emergence provoked scandal as the group proclaimed itself to be “the people's representative” (ch'ongdae or taep'yoja) and began its opening assemblies with a collective haircutting ceremony—a striking visual spectacle to the Korean people.
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