FiguresFive Generals of Donghak Peasant Revolution
Jeon Bong-jun was a pioneer of the people who led the Donghak Peasant Revolution to save a nation in crisis and a figure who had indomitable will and leadership. After experiencing the January uprising, Lee Yong-tae, who was Anhaeksa, suppressed Donghak peasants, but Jeon Bong-jun wasn't frustrated. Instead, he made Son Hwa-jung, who was Daejeopju of Mujang, act, occupied Jeonju-seong and installed Jipgangso.
On June 21 of the same year (July 23 by the solar calendar), Japanese forces invaded a royal palace. At this time, Jeon Bong-jun caused an uprising in September in Samrye and advanced to Seoul. On October 23, he was defeated in Gongju and retreated. On November 27, he dissolved the Donghak peasant revolt after the Taein battle in November 27. Donghak Peasant Revolution occurred at various places in Samnam areas, but there was no such figure like Jeon Bong-jun who lead five thousands followers and entered into bloody battle against Japanese forces at the end.
Jeon Bong-jun, who dispersed Donghak Peasant after the Taein Battle, entered Ibamsanseong Fortress on 29th with few followers. But he heard that Morio Troops, Japanese force, and government army of Lee Gyu-tae was going to invade and moved to Baekyangsa again on 30th. But on December 2, 1894 (December 28 in solar calendar), he was reported to the police by Kim Gyeong-cheon.
After that, Jeon Bong-jun was handed over to Japanese forces in Damyang and arrived Seoul on December 18 after going through Naju and Jeonju. He was put in the jail of the Japanese consular office. He was questioned five times on the 9th, 11th and 19th of February and the 7th and 10th of March by consul and died on March 30, 1895 with Son Hwa-jung and Choi Gyeong-seon. He was 41 years old at that time.
His tie with Donghak started in Cheonghak-dong, Jirisan Mountain. He once had an ascetic life in Cheonghak-dong, Jirisan Moutin with Yoo Yong-su, his brother-in-law. At this time, Donghak, which was a new religion, was spreading in Yeongnam area. Son Hwa-jung entered into Donghak by sympathizing with the religious theory of Donghak of Great Opening of the Later Day.
Despite the non-violence and non-resistance doctrine, he sympathized with the rebellious approach of Jeon Bong-jun and led the Donghak Peasant Revolution with Jeon Bong-jun in the March uprising. When Jeon Bong-jun was asked who he consulted with for the uprising in Gobu, he said that he consulted with Son Hwa-jung. He became the main figure of uprising in Baeksan after coming to Gobu under the instruction of Jeon Bong-jun after gathering in Gusunae for the March uprising.
He seemed to stay around Mujang and Jangseong after being dissolved(???) in Jeonju. After Jeon Bong-jun's defeat in November in Gongju, he tried to attack Najuseong. But when he was beyond recovery after Taein Battle, he advanced to Gwangju on November 27 and dissolved(???) Donghak Peasant on December 1 (December 27 in solar calender). After that, he escaped and stayed in ritual house of Lee in Anhyeon-ri, Buan-myeon, Gochang-gun. But he was arrested by the government army due to the accusation of Lee Bong-woo on December 11 (January 06, 1895 in solar calendar) and was sent to Seoul after going through Jeonju Gamyeong. At this point, there is one secret story. He said to Lee Bong-woo that "you can accuse me and have reward for it. I will repay your support so far" after getting the news that Jeon Bong-jun and Kim Gae-nam were already arrested by the army. Lee Bong-woo received the rewards and became a governor in Jeungsan (Pyeongannam-do).
Son Hwa-jung was sent to Seoul and died with Jeon Bong-jun at dawn on March 30, 1895. He was 35 years old.
His name was Yeongju, another name Giseon and Gibeom and surname was Kim of from Dogang family. He was born as the third son of Kim Dae-hyeon in Donggok-ri, Sanoi-myeon, Jeongeup-si.
Kim Gae-nam, who was regarded as the third figure of the Donghak Peasant Revolution along with Jeon Bong-jun and Son Hwa-jung, was the hardliner among them. With Namwon as his headquarters, he ruled over Geumsan, Muju, Jinan, Jangsu and Yongdam. He installed Yeongho-dohoiso in Suncheon and let Kim In-bae, who was a Daejeopju, rule the southwestern part of Yeongnam (Hadong, Sancheong, Jinju). In July of the same year, he beat Jeong Seok-mo party with a club for visiting Hoyou-mun (a writing that makes someone aware) of Daewon-gun, and detained them for two months.
He attacked Cheongju-seong on November 10, but was defeated by Japanese forces. He came back to Taein and secretly stayed in the house of Seo Yeonggi in Janggeum-ri, Taein. When Im Byeong-chan accused him, he was sent to Jeonju on December 1 (December 27 by the solar calendar).
Lee Do-jae, who was governor of Jeolla area, was frightened by the fame of Kim Gae-nam and afraid of sending him to Seoul. He executed Kim Gae-nam on his own at Seogyojang on December 03 (December 29 in solar calendar). He was 42 years old.
Kim Deok-myeong was born in Sambong-ri, Geumsan-myeon, Gimje-si. As a major figure of the Jeolla Donghak Peasant Revolution, he once had a great meeting by gathering about 10,000 followers from Geumgu area in Samrye which occurred in November 1, 1892. As a result, Donghak of Wonpyeong was attracted by even the court.
When Kim Mun-hyeon, who became a governor of Jeolla on March 20, 1893 (Gojong 31), entered the court, he talked about Donghak in Jeollado. It was about Donghak of Wonpyeong as well as Kim Deok-myeong. We can guess how great his power was. At that time, Kim Deok-myeon installed Doso in Wonpyeong and received taxes and national rice.
After having been defeated in Gongju, he planned to make a comeback after retreating to Wonpyeong with Jeon Bong-jun, but he experienced decisive defeats in Wonpyeong Battle on November 25. He was dissolved(???) at Taein Battle on 27th, came back to Hyangri and stayed in Anjeongsa-dong, Jangheung-ri, Geumsan-myeon. He was arrested by Suseong-gun forces of Taein on January 01, 1895 (January 25 by the solar calendar).
He encountered death by hanging at Gwonseol Court of Beopmuamun on March 29, 1895 together with Jeon Bong-jun, Son Hwa-jung, Choi Gyeong-sun and Seong Du-hwan. He was 51 years old.
Choi Gyeong-seon was born in Wolcheon-dong, Buk-myeon, Jeongeup-si and lived in Jusan-ri. Sentencing referred to him as Yeongchang.
When Jeon Bong-jun was asked who he plotted the March uprising with, he said it was Son Hwa-jung and Choi Gyeong-seon. Jeon Bong-jun and Choi Gyeong-seon seemed to have a very close relationship – close enough to be called as leader of Jeong Bong-jun or arms and legs of him. He participated in the uprising as a representative of round robin of country residents in Gobu in November 1893 and led January Gobu Peasants Uprising the following year.
He controlled Donghak Peasants as a Yeongsol-jang in the March uprising. Jipgangso of Donghak Peasants was installed in every region of Jeollado after dissolving in Jeonju in May. But Namwon-bu and Naju-mok didn't accept this. As a result, Jeonju Daedoso decided to send Kim Gae-nam to Namwon and Choi Gyeong-seon to Naju. Choi Gyeong-seon attacked Naju-seong on July 05 with 3,000 followers, but he failed to occupy it with the determined resistance of Min Jong-yeol.
After the September uprising, he heard that Japanese forces would invade the coast of Naju. So he just stayed in Naju with Son Hwa-jung without advancing to Seoul. After defeat in Gongju, he gathered Donghak followers of the southwestern area of Jeollado in Naju and surrounded Naju-seong. When Japanese forces came, he entered into Gwangju on November 27. But when the situation was beyond recovery, he dissolved Donghak Peasants on December 01.
Choi Gyeong-seon led the remaining Donghak Peasants, went down to Dongbok after going through Nampyeong, and was caught by the government army at Byeokseong-ri (Hwasun-gun) on December 01.
Choi Gyeong-seon was transferred to the Japanese forces and died on March 30, 1895 together with Jeon Bong-jun and Son Hwa-jung. He was 37 years old.