Episode 158 – Best of Frenemies, Part 4

This week, the Korean Kingdom’s final years see the desperate bid of King Gojong to salvage Korea’s independence. Ultimately, however, Korea’s royal family will be unable to save itself, and in 1910 Korea’s independence will be snuffed out completely for the first time since the era of Kublai Khan.

Listen to the episode here.


Cummings, Bruce. Korea’s Place in the Sword.

Duus, Peter. The Abacus and the Sword: The Japanese Penetration of Korea, 1895-1910.

Jansen, Marius. The Making of Modern Japan.


Queen Min’s state funeral attracted a huge number of mourners. Her assassination provoked a nationalist outcry, and today she is seen as a martyr of Korean independence.
Miura Goro, the Japanese ambassador who directed the effort to assassinate Queen Min. This photo shows him in his younger days as a member of the Tokugawa Shogunate’s French-style modern army.
King Gojong in his later years as the Gwangmu Emperor. Like the Meiji Emperor, Gojong traded in his old robes for Western military uniforms, embracing Westernization as the key to national strength.
Ito Hirobumi with Yi Un, son of Emperor Sunjong and grandson of Gojong. Ito saw himself as a mediator between Japan and Korea, but his death was celebrated in Korean nationalist circles.
Emperor Sunjong, Korea’s last Emperor.
Ito Hirobumi disembarking the train at Harbin, 1909. This photo was taken mere moments before An Jung-geun shot him.
Harbin station today. The red square, placed there by the Chinese government, shows where An Jung-geun stood as he shot Ito. The triangle shows the direction of fire.
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A monument to An Jung-geun outside the South Korean capitol of Seoul — one of very many to depict the assassin as a literally larger than life national hero.

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