Gerry Krzic, FOK Board Member
August 15. Koreans celebrate their liberation from Japanese colonization on August 15 every year. Known as “the day the light returned” (광복절; gwangbokjeol), 2015 was particularly notable as it marked the 70th anniversary of the event. Since liberation in 1945, the history on the peninsula has been marked by political division, a devastating war, military dictatorships, economic expansion, the establishment of democracy, a burgeoning Korean popular culture (hallyu), the Olympics, the World Cup, and Korean companies with a global presence.
Since the holiday fell on Saturday this year, the country was on a long weekend holiday -- Friday through Sunday -- with activities in Seoul and Pyongyang. In the U.S., Korean-American communities also celebrated.
Below: A Concert on Seoul Plaza on Friday Evening With K Pop Stars. Video Courtesy Kristin Krzic
The colonial occupation and subsequent war brought unbearable suffering to the Korean people. There are many stories of the Korean War and some accounts of the Japanese occupation that have been told. Others are waiting to be discovered -- to keep shedding light on this period in Korean War -- send a link or write a note if you know of any stories to share.
One thing for certain is the scale of the 70th anniversary celebrations on 광복절 would have been unimaginable to Koreans of those earlier times. Our hope is that future celebrations continue to take place in a prosperous Korea.