- The March 1st Movement, also known as Sam-il (3·1) Movement was one of the earliest public displays of Korean resistance during the ruling of Korea by Japan.
- The name refers to an event that occurred on March 1, 1919, hence the movement's name, literally meaning "Three-One Movement" or "March First Movement" in Korean.
- It is also sometimes referred to as the Man-se Demonstrations (Hangul: 만세운동; Hanja: 萬歲運動; RR: Manse Undong).
- It began on March 1, 1919, in the Korean capital city of Seoul and soon spread throughout the country.
- The movement was begun by 33 Korean cultural and religious leaders who, after almost 10 years of Japanese rule, drew up a Korean “Proclamation of Independence” and then organized a mass demonstration in Seoul for March 1, 1919, their late emperor’s commemoration day.
- The former emperor, Kojong, the supreme symbol of independence, had died a few weeks earlier, on January 21, 1919, bringing mourners from all parts of the country to the capital for his funeral. There was widespread suspicion that he had been poisoned, credible since previous attempts (the "coffee plot") were well-known.
- Of the movement’s 33 organizers, 16 were Christians, at a time when fewer than 3 percent of Koreans were. Of the 16 Christians, 10 were from Pyongyang and northwestern Korea.
- Approximately 2,000,000 Koreans had participated in the more than 1,500 demonstrations, many who were massacred by the Japanese police force and army. The frequently cited The Bloody History of the Korean Independence Movement (Hangul: 한국독립운동지혈사; Hanja: 韓國獨立運動之血史) by Park Eun-sik reported 7,509 people killed, 15,849 wounded, and 46,303 arrested.
- From March 1 to April 11, Japanese officials reported 553 people killed with over 12,000 arrested, 8 policemen and military killed, and 158 wounded. Many arrested were taken to the infamous Seodaemun Prison in Seoul where they faced torture, death without trial or due process.
- Though the movement failed to bring about its paramount goal of national independence, it was significant in strengthening national unity, leading to the birth in Shanghai of the Korean Provisional Government, and drawing worldwide attention.
- Finally, the failure of the March First Movement greatly enhanced the rise of the Korean communist party. Today, March 1 is a national holiday in both North and South Korea.
- The March First Movement was a nonviolent revolution, a decade before Gandhi’s Salt March in India, that issued a Declaration of Independence and held nationwide demonstrations demanding an end to Japanese rule.
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