Today in Korean history (Aug. 13)
Aug 13, 2017
•1935 -- "The Evergreen," a novel by Shim Hun depicting the lives of an educated couple trying to "enlighten" farmers, wins a literary prize presented by the Dong-Ah Ilbo newspaper. The novel, based on real-life experience, portrays the impoverished Korean countryside under Japanese colonial rule in the early part of the 20th century, a time when Japanese occupiers expropriated land and rice from farmers.
The young couple dedicate themselves to the "enlightenment movement," which sought to educate ordinary Korean citizens and encourage them to demand their rights by speaking out against Japanese colonial rule.
•1959 -- Japan signs an agreement with North Korea to repatriate Koreans living in its territory to the communist country. The North, needing to increase its diminished labor force after the Korean War, sought to present itself as a hospitable home to its nationals overseas.
The first group of some 975 people leaves Japan for North Korea in December. The voluntary repatriation continues until November 1962, when the agreement expired. Ultimately, a total of 77,288 Koreans in Japan voluntarily went to the North.
The agreement was later renewed, but the deteriorating economic situation in North Korea stopped people from moving there after the 1970s.
•1994 -- Samsung Electronics Co. announces the development of the world's first 256-megabit DRAM computer chips. Now the world's No. 1 computer memory chipmaker, Samsung is also credited with the development of 1-gigabit DRAM chips and 4-gigabit DRAM process technology.
•2007 -- Two South Korean women from a 23-member aid group abducted by the Taliban in Afghanistan are freed. Two men in the group, including its 42-year-old leader Bae Hyung-kyu, are executed.
On July 19, a bus carrying the 23 South Korean volunteers, mostly women in their 20s and 30s, is hijacked by Taliban militants en route to the southern city of Kandahar from Kabul. The remaining 19 hostages are freed in late August after Seoul announces it will pull out troops from the country by the end of the year and ban all missionary work there.
•2010 -- Andre Kim, one of South Korea's most popular fashion designers, dies at age 75 at a Seoul hospital, where he was being treated for pneumonia.
•2016 -- President Park Geun-hye grants special pardons to high-profile businessmen, including SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won, and more than 6,500 others ahead of Liberation Day.