Kim Hyong-Gwon – The Forgotten Revolutionary

Who was Kim Hyon-Gwon?


Thursday January 01, 1970

Kim Hyong-Gwon (Korean: 김형권; 4 November 1905 – 12 January 1936) was Korean independence leader, communist revolutionary son of Kim Bo-Hyon, and brother of Kim Jong-Hyik, the father of North Korea’s founder President Kim Il Sung.


Thursday January 01, 1970

Like the rest of his family, he lived in Mangyongdae, Pyongyang, a popular tourist destination in Pyongyang, where his picture can be seen.


Thursday January 01, 1970

He became a communist and a revolutionary in the 1930s and, while being described as “hot-tempered,” was hugely successful for a period of time, managing to capture two Japanese police cars in mountainous terrain, something that gained press attention in Japan.

Sometime in the 1930’s he was arrested, allegedly after being double-crossed by a Manchurian official, and was sentenced to 15 years in jail.

His sentence was to take place at the notoriously cruel Seodaemun prison, which was used to keep Korean independence fighters from 1910 until liberation in 1945.

Kim Hyong-Gwon’s legacy?

While not nearly as important as that of his nephew, it is clear from the writings of Kim Il Sung, and various statements that the achievements of his uncle obviously inspired him. To gauge his importance, you could say that it is comparable to the father, and great-grandfather of President Kim Il Sung, namely Kim Hyong Jik, and Kim Ung-U.

Kimhyonggwon County was renamed in his honour from Pungsan, the place where he conducted his revolutionary activities back in the day. There is also the Kim Hyong Gwon University of Education, and Kim Hyong Gwon Teachers college named in his honour.

Every five years, a ceremony is done to commemorate both his birth and death (we do not know when the next one is). There was a film about his life released in 1977 called A Fire Burning All Over The World, which was interestingly also the first film in the country to have an actor portray President Kim Il Sung.
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