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Raising the Korean War Dead: Bereaved Family Associations and the Politics of 1960-1961 South Korea

October 12, 2015
Volume 13 | Issue 41 | Number 2
Article ID 4387


Throughout the Korean civil war, thousands of real and imagined "leftists" were slaughtered by South Korean security forces. The families of these victims were silenced and persecuted throughout the rule of Syngman Rhee (1948-1960), while the deceased were labeled as "commies" (ppalgaengi) unworthy of mourning. However, in the brief period following the 4.19 revolution of 1960, some victims formed bereaved family associations (yujokhoe). These groups petitioned the Second Republic for compensation, investigation, prosecution of perpetrators, honor restoration, and the establishment of collective graves and monuments. Initially, these efforts achieved some success, but were laid to waste in the wake of the May 5.16 military coup of 1961, with the mass-arrest of the yujokhoe leadership and the destruction of the monuments and victims' graves.

This paper explores these doomed attempts at restorative justice, focusing primarily on the ideological and narrative strategies invoked by these groups through their petitions and memorial services (wiryŏngje). I show that beyond "truth seeking", the yujokhoe sought to radically challenge the dominant understanding of the nation's recent fratricidal past. The lynchpin of this strategy was an alternative nationalist narrative in which the alleged "ppalgaengi" were reconceived as patriotic martyrs for a not-yet-authored unified democratic state. Though they offered a radically subversive critique of state-violence, the yujokhoe still operated within the confines of anticommunism--the very ideological project responsible for the politicized extermination of their loved ones.

Keywords: KoreanWar, bereaved family associations, massacres, state violence,


On November 13 1960 a significant but now obscure event transpired in downtown Kyŏngju. Leaders of the newly-formed Kyŏngju Victims of Massacres Bereaved Families Association (Kyŏngju p'ihaksalja yujokhoe), other survivors, monks, and shamans gathered together in solidarity to perform a belated public memorial (chahaptong wiryŏngje) for victims of pre-Korean War and-Korean War era massacres. Led by figures now forgotten to Korean history, such as Kim Hachong, Ch'oe Yŏngu, and Kim Hat'aek, the ceremony demonstrates the degree to which South Korea's anticommunist ideology had effectively eviscerated the lines between the personal and the political for victims' families. Remaining photographs from that day reveal the profound political stakes involved as thousands gathered to honor their dead ancestors. The timbre of this day was captured in the slogans written on banners (hyŏnsumak) which flanked the proceedings. While some implored attendees to "weep in sympathy for a thousand years for the souls with no graves" and to "shout throughout the fatherland's mountains and valleys", those narrowly dealing with mourning and catharsis constituted a minority of the messages on display. More prevalent were slogans that carried with them a specifically political character. One called for the establishment of a special law to prosecute the perpetrators of previous massacres. Another directly accused police officers of murder and called for the expulsion of corrupt public officials. Most pointedly, Yi Hyŏpu, head of the local Minbodan (a right-wing militia) in 1949 initiated a large killing spree in Kyŏngju, was called out as a murderer to be "banished from the earth".1

In retrospect, the ceremony almost seems surreal. Indeed, the activities at the wiryŏngje would have been unthinkable one year prior and became unmentionable the following year. The event thus symbolically marked a brief temporal epoch in which a confrontation with Korea's traumatic past was brought into the public sphere before being surgically laid to waste by an ascendant military dictatorship. And yet, in the 1960-1961 interregnum, when South Koreans were briefly presented with an opportunity to build a democratic alternative to the anticommunist military governments that dominated their Cold War reality, events such as the one at Kyŏngju were held throughout the Chŏlla, Kyŏngsang, and Cheju provinces. Organizing these spectacles were various bereaved family associations (yujokhoe). These groups were composed of survivors of the anticommunist terror from the civil war era (1948-1953) and petitioned the Chang Myŏn-led Second Republic for investigations, financial restitution, the punishment of perpetrators, and the establishment of mass graves and monuments honoring those wrongfully killed as communist subversives. This article narrates the prospects, the strategies employed, and ultimate failure of the yujokhoe to uproot the pervasive culture of silence which surrounded the politicidal campaign that engulfed their families in the previous decade.

While this movement succumbed to anticommunist repression in the wake of Park Chung-Hee's (Pak Chŏnghui) May 16 1961 Coup d'état, I am not principally concerned with accounting for why the 1960-1961 movements for historical redress failed in this lonely moment of history. Instead, I explore a set of interrelated questions thus far unexamined in the burgeoning, but still-underdeveloped scholarship on the 1960-1961 yujokhoe. In their efforts at "truth-seeking", what were the strategies, goals, and accomplishments of the yujokhoe? How did their public acts of grieving function as a broader political critique of the authoritarian state? What discursive strategies did they employ, and how were these bound to the wider politics of the transitional 1960-1961 period? To what extent did they challenge or conform to South Korean society's hegemonic ideology of anticommunism? How did the nation's traumatic past and its fractured political present interact?

Scholarship dealing with this episode in the Korean language is sparse, while virtually absent in the English language. The dearth of scholarly analysis is primarily the result of a paucity of sources available to researchers. For reasons that will be clear by the end of this piece, surviving members of the various bereaved family association and their families are reluctant to speak of the 1960-1961 years. Many others have simply passed on. Moreover, in the wake of the Bereaved Family Incident (yujok sagŏn), documents and records of the groups were seized and destroyed, condemning future activists, families, and historians to a structured amnesia.2 The profoundly important work of the South Korean Truth and Reconciliation Commission (Chinsil hwahae rŭl wihan kwagŏsa chŏngni wiwŏnhoe, hereafter TRCK) has helped address this lacuna. As a medium of historical interpretation, however, it poses a considerable dilemma. While ostensibly an official document devoted to uncovering historical "truth", the TRCK represents a particular interpretation, reflective of its political, temporal, and epistemological constraints. As a legalistic document forged in the context of Korea's now-anaemic transition to democracy, the TRCK frames the history of the 1960-1961 yujokhoe in judicial and liberal terms. Thus, the historical adjudication of this event pivots upon a series of binaries: liberal/illiberal state practices, traitor/innocent civilian, and legal/illegal activities. The result is a historical account which deservedly exonerates the victims of 1961. However, through this process, the profoundly political nature of these groups is tacitly stifled.

With few exceptions, the scholarship available to English readers conforms to these categories. Writing about the student activities and bereaved families who worked to uncover atrocities associated with the Cheju 4.3 Incident, Han Sun Kim has argued that these actors were motivated by "a sense of justice, an emotional response to the plight of the victims, and a drive to pursue the truth".3 Jung Byong-Jung, meanwhile, asserts that propelling the yujokhoe's activism was an "outcry over basic human rights, not ideology".4 Other scholars have cautiously explored the political character of these activities. For example, former member of the TRCK Kim Dong Choon--who has arguably done more than any other scholar to uncover this dark history of "white terror", massacres, and epistemological violence--points to the profound political stakes involved in 1960-1961. According to Kim, these groups threatened to destabilize the sacrosanct "myth" that the Korean War was an anticommunist crusade, and also threw into question the legitimacy of the police and military.5 Heonik Kwon, meanwhile, presciently notes that during this period, a radical conflict was opened up between the state and its victims over the issues of mourning and human remains.6 Nevertheless, in Kwon's reading, conscious political agency is predominantly granted to the state. Commenting on the activities and repression of the bereaved families surrounding the Taegu region (addressed later), Kwon argues that for those who participated, it "remains unanswered" how their actions could have been deemed treasonous. As we shall see below, however, this history is more complex. Indeed, many of the participants from Taegu, as well as other regions throughout the nation, had a clear understanding of the political stakes involved over the private and public mourning of their loved ones.

The Korean-language scholarship on this subject is more empirically and analytically rich, though likewise principally focused on the depravity of the state. For example, in his microanalysis of the politics of bereavement in Kyŏngju, Yi Ch'anghyŏn demonstrates the process whereby local police, relatives of rightists, and eventually the state, worked to sabotage the activities and persecute members of the local bereaved family group.7 Likewise, Yi T'ongjin, in a detailed inquiry into the 1962 revolutionary trial proceedings against various yujokhoe leaders, argues that the Park government created ontological and political categories differentiating citizen (yangmin) and "non-citizen" (piyangmin). According to Yi's research, the Park regime determined that former members and relatives of the National Guidance Alliance (kungmin podo yŏnmaeng) or South Korean Workers Party were enemies of the state, and therefore void of legal protections.8 Attempts at clearing the names of victims were thus deemed seditious, as they allegedly threatened the delicate fabric of the anticommunist social system.9 While the voices of the yujokhoe are not entirely suppressed in these accounts, the state-centric focus of the two authors necessarily inscribes the history of the yujokhoe into state-produced categories--albeit through a critical focus. The result is that while we now have a clearer picture of state oppression against the yujokhoe, there is as yet no precise accounting of these groups as historical and political agents.

This article, therefore, is an effort at retrieval. It demonstrates that throughout the 1960-1961 period, the yujokhoe were consciously engaged in a broader national politics concerning the peninsula's fratricidal past and future destiny. More specifically, I raise three interrelated points. Firstly, while uncovering the truth of their loved one's violent deaths was a core component of their activism, clarification of the past entailed a much deeper and politicized process. Through attempts at restorative justice, the yujokhoe constructed an alternative nationalist narrative of Korea's recent past--a teleology explicitly tied to the aspirations of the 1960 April 19 student movement. Secondly, at the core this process was a politics surrounding begrudged spirits (wŏnhan yŏnghon). Beyond attempting to redress a great historical wrong which plagued their families and communities, these yujokhoe sought to make these spirits the central protagonists of the nation's historical destiny. Just as their traumatic deaths were portrayed as emblematic of the nation's larger tragedy, their redemption was explicitly tied to Korea's future democratic destiny. Finally, while this narrative offered a devastating critique of the machinations of the Rhee-led First Republic, the yujokhoe discourse operated within the still-hegemonic parameters of anticommunism--the ideological project responsible for the initial mass killings. Though elements of the national security state were threatened by these activities, the ideological backbone of the nation's authoritarian cold war politics remained largely unscathed.

Systematic Killings and the Denial of Mourning (1948-1960)

Skulls from a Mass Grave Uncovered in a Cave Outside of Taegu in 1960. Source: Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Republic of Korea

It remains an open question as to which is the greater indignity: to suffer an atrocity, or to have the memory of that suffering erased from history. From 1948-1960, the families and associates of victims of state atrocities in South Korea were condemned to live with both fates. The First Republic's role in facilitating this tortured existence is of paramount importance to our understanding of the politics of the yujokhoe's activities circa 1960-1961. Throughout the civil war in South Korea, the regime of Syngman Rhee carried out a systematic program of political killings and violence against the real and imagined political left. Prosecuted in the context of a civil war and invasion, this facet of the Korean War is complex in the extreme. However, a few of its most salient features are worth emphasizing. Firstly, these killings occurred throughout a wide geographical and temporal range, indicating that they were not of a sporadic or territorially-bound nature. In other words, the violent eradication of the South Korean "left" was a nation-wide phenomenon. Secondly, the organizational and ideological impetus of these massacres was rooted in the state itself. These features included, but were not limited to: the targeting of entire families suspected of having communist sympathies; the burning of villages accused of assisting rebels; the screening and division of entire communities along ideological lines; the sacrilegious burning of corpses as a method of destroying evidence; the integration of extreme rightists into the front-lines of counter-insurgency efforts; forced marriages and frequent raping of woman; the use of dehumanizing discourses; a legal system which gave the state extra-constitutional authority and the power to adjudicate political and ontological categories of citizen and non-citizen and of life and death; the extension of these powers to commanders in the forms of on the spot trial and summary execution, and finally; the creation of spatial exceptions, rendering entire regions and communities within the country void of basic rights. Cumulatively, these practices likely led to a minimum of 200,000 deaths between 1948 and 1954.10

Of equal importance was the post-war experience under the continued reign of Rhee and his Liberal Party (1953-1960). Bruce Cumings gets to crux of the matter: "Seeking any kind of redress for the demise of loved ones...was impossible as long as Rhee was in power. Trying to do anything about these atrocities meant jail, torture, and death. Endless blacklists put the families of victims into a kind of living purgatory".11 Throughout this decade, there were a few exceptions that proved the rule. Revelations about the Kŏch'ang massacre--in which over 700 unarmed civilians were interrogated, raped, and murdered over a three-day period in February 1951--eventually led to the arrest and conviction of three of the perpetrators later that year. However, key evidence was destroyed before trial, field investigators were fired upon by ROK soldiers, and the number of victims was drastically reduced in the final report. Rhee added insult to injury by claiming that the majority of those killed were "T'ongbija"--those who secretively communicated with communists.12 Further, Kim Chonwŏn, a major figure in facilitating the massacre, was politically rehabilitated by Rhee and named as head of police in 1956.13 In the case of the 1949 massacre in Kyŏngju alluded to in the introduction, a lawsuit was brought against the perpetrator, Yi Hyŏpu in 1957. Nevertheless, Yi was a representative of the Liberal Party and was able to use his influence to bribe and intimidate, ultimately leading to the dismantling of the case.14

The ferocity of repression brought upon bereaved family members of the victims was most acute in the case of burial and mourning rites. Firstly, one must consider the nature of these deaths in the context of traditional Korean attitudes concerning mortuary rites. At the risk of over-generalization, we can say that beliefs endogenous to Korean folk customs played an important role in how many families responded to these deaths. Of particular force was the problem of a malevolent spirit being brought upon by a wrongful death. According to folk customs, wrongful deaths demanded special rituals to appease potentially vengeful spirits (wŏnhon yŏnghon).15 However, the stigma of communism, the scattering and desecration of the victims' remains, and laws from the state preventing the movement and reburial bodies intruded upon these activities.

Unsurprisingly, therefore, we find that the most common forms of activism from the victims' families throughout this decade were petitions to recover the remains of their loved ones. In 1954, for example, survivors of the Kŏch'ang Incident recovered the charred remains of their loved ones, creatively building three mass cemeteries (one male, one female, and one for unknown bodies).16 Likewise, bereaved families from the hamlet of Sangmo-ri in Sŏgwipo city located in the south of Cheju, who in August of 1950 had one hundred and thirty two members of their families imprisoned and killed without proper trial or burial, obtained what remained of their family members and buried them together in a joint burial plot in April of 1957. Because the remains were indistinguishable, the group named itself the "One Hundred Ancestors of One Descendant Association" and the grave "The Tomb of One Hundred Ancestors of One Descendant", hoping to collectively honor and expunge vengeful spirits.17 More commonly, however, these types of efforts were impossible or ended in repression. Such was the case for grieving families of the 1949 Pukch'on-ri massacre, perhaps the single largest village killing to occur during the 4.3 Cheju Incident. In January of 1954, at a funeral honoring the death of a local ROK soldier, one of the speakers called for the village to give a "moment of silence for the souls of the victims" of the 1949 massacre. The police were informed of this incident, leading to the harassment and increased surveillance of the victims' families.18 In other cases, such as the various surviving members and families of the victims of the National Guidance Alliance Incident, the stigma of "communist" confession was so great that families simply suffered in silence, not daring to defy the implicit threat of state violence. Throughout the immediate post-war period, lives once deemed by the state to be unworthy of living became spirits unworthy of mourning. The political and psychological burden that this imposed on bereaved families registered in the form of memory politics adopted by activists who advocated on their behalf in the aftermath of the collapse of the First Republic.

The Collapse of the First Republic, the Establishment of the Yujokhoe, and Inquiries into the Past

By the end of the 1950s, the edifice surrounding Rhee and the Liberal Party was crumbling. Plagued by corruption, the regime was increasingly compelled to rely upon fraud and terror to ensure its longevity. These contradictions eventually come to a boil in the wake of the March 1960 Presidential and Vice Presidential elections. Rhee's almost certain re-election and advanced age rendered the Vice Presidential elections the most important contest. To ensure the election of Rhee's favoured successor, Yi Kibung, the Liberal Party resorted to intimidation, manipulation and fraud. Yi's victory brought with it calls from the opposition Democratic Party that the election was "illegal", "null" and "void". Meanwhile, from March 15 onward, students, labour leaders, and other activists launched a series of sporadic protests throughout the country. The predictably violent response from the Rhee government only exacerbated these tensions, eventually leading to a massive protest in downtown Seoul on April 19. Police repression solved nothing and the Army refused to intervene. Within a week, Rhee renounced the Presidency and fled to Hawaii, while Yi committed suicide with his family. The First Republic was finished.19

Former Foreign Minister Hŏ Chŏng assumed the Presidency, though the most powerful figure in the new government was Prime Minister Chang Myŏn, the leading politician in the Democratic Party. Han Sungjoo has noted that the early reforms to the Second Republic were principally cosmetic, as the basic institutional and ideological apparatuses of the ROK were kept in place.20 There is considerable truth to this characterization, and it is indeed central to understanding the dynamics of the 1960-1961 years. However, paralleling this was a more radical form of politics at the level of the street and village. This is evident in the case of the yujokhoe that emerged out of the post-April 19 malaise. The village of Sinwŏn, the site of the horrendous "Kŏch'ang Incident" discussed above, was the initial tinderbox. In the evening of May 11, 1960, roughly seventy bereaved family members from Sinwŏn (located in the region of Kŏch'ang) gathered at one of the grave sites of those massacred in the winter of 1951. Following this, the group marched to the home of Pak Yŏngpo. Pak had been village chief (myŏnjang ) at the time of the slaughter in 1951. Testimonies from survivors implicate Pak in the events of 1951, as he used his position to inform police and soldiers as to which families were wealthy rightists and relatives of the police so that they could be spared from the atrocity, while doing nothing to protect other innocent families. The mob, which had grown considerably in size, demanded that Pak come out, and when he refused, they broke into his house and dragged him into the streets where he was beaten and pummeled to death with stones. Some accounts claim that the death was accidental. However, what immediately followed ought to remove any doubts as to the purpose of the violence. Pak's body was placed in a heap of debris and torched by members of the angry mob--the same fate which had afflicted hundreds of people in Sinwŏn nine years earlier. An act of symbolic revenge had taken place. Eventually, the military was called in to quell the violence, and the main assailants were arrested.21

For the first time in nine years, Sinwŏn was thrust into the centre of national politics, it's buried past resurfacing through major national papers such as the Kyŏnghyang Sinmun, Tonga Ilbo, and even the conservative Chosŏn Ilbo. Rather than sparking the expected anticommunist witch hunt, however, a month-long national reflection was ushered in. Intrepid journalists and eventually National Assembly Members played key roles in this process, but it was the bereaved families and their leadership that was in the vanguard of this movement--Kŏch'ang the initial incubator. Bereaved families from Kŏch'ang and neighboring areas who had suffered similar hardships worked together for a joint investigation, which in turn, inspired other survivors to step forward and form their own associations.22 Typically organized at the village or regional level, yujokhoe consisted of anywhere between twenty and nine hundred members.23 Despite their local differences, the official demands of each respective yujokhoe were markedly similar: Inquiries into civil war-era atrocities; the punishment of perpetrators; financial compensation for the victims; correction of family registries; money and permission to build monuments and mass graves for the victims, and; an end to the blacklisting and mass surveillance of victims.

In most cases, committee members were composed of educated survivors with political backgrounds of left-wing activism in the post-liberation era or student activists who had taken part in the movements throughout the spring of 1960. In the case of Cheju, for instance, students from Cheju National University formed the Association for the Investigation of the 4.3 Cheju Incident, demanding in May 1960 a national inquiry into the deaths of civilians from the Cheju Massacre.24 The head of the Taegu Bereaved Family Association, Yi Wŏnsik , was a member of the South Korean Labour Party in the post-liberation years, joined the National Guidance Alliance, and was jailed in Taegu penitentiary at the start of the war. While he survived the campaign of mass executions, his wife did not. Yi Samkŭk, whose father was killed as a suspected leftist, was head of the Kyŏngbuk Bereaved Family Association, an umbrella group for all the regionally based groups in North Kyŏngsang Province. In the post-4.19 era, Yi was a member of the Minjok chaju t'ongil jungang hyŏbŭihoe, a leftist organization devoted to peaceful reunification with the north and independence from America. T'ak Poksu, the most prominent female within these groups, was a member of the National Guidance Alliance, to which her deceased husband was also a recruit. Given these backgrounds, it is unsurprising that these groups were highly politically conscious and driven by the need to exonerate their lineages in a filial society.25

On May 23, 1960, legislation was enacted on behalf of survivors from Kŏch'ang and its surrounding areas. Immediately, representatives from the Honam, Kyŏngsang, and Cheju provinces attached themselves to the inquiry. It was agreed that a special investigation team, The Special Investigation Commission on the Truth of Innocent Civilian Massacre Incidents (Yangmin taeryang haksal chosadan) would launch an inquiry from May 30 until June 10 into many of the unresolved killings. Staffed by a team of nine investigators and limited to a ten-day time span, the commission was too small and short-lived to engage in any sustained treatment of the mass killings. To cite just one fact, over the total of ten days, only three members of the commission visited Cheju, and for a meagre six hours.26 Further, the commission was stacked with members either directly or indirectly involved in the previous violence, often with close ties to the political establishment.27 The commission was also without subpoena power, meaning that survivors had to voluntarily testify to the hastily composed and poorly advertized inquiry. The commission's effectiveness was additionally hampered by the fact that it was unable to locate many of the leading figures of the national security state from the civil war period, while the Statute of Limitations only reached back ten years, rendering prosecution unlikely for any victims of pre-Korean War violence. Finally, throughout the proceedings, voices from the right shaped the debate. A common accusation from this camp was that the commission would create "disorder" or that "impure elements" (pulsun kyeyŏl) would hijack the proceedings. The effect of these accusations was that a number of survivors did not come forward.28

It is therefore unsurprising that when measured against contemporary estimates, the 1960 commission turned up only a fraction of those who were actually killed. In total, the commission revealed 8,522 victims.29 The results of the commission were released to the public on June 21 1960, but far from quelling the issue, protests immediately erupted from bereaved families and students claiming that thousands of massacres remained unacknowledged. At Korea University, for example, students from Cheju launched a protest, arguing that 7,000 deaths remained unaccounted for.30 In the following months, however, legislative avenues were effectively closed off. In the July 29, 1960 elections, reformist and radical candidates fared poorly, ensuring a National Assembly dominated by moderate and conservative factions. Nor was Prime Minister Chang Myŏn sympathetic towards efforts aimed at further restitution. To Chang, the duty of Korean society was simply to move on.31

With official restitution effectively curtailed, bereaved family associations turned to the task of honoring the spirits of their loved ones. What transpired throughout this year, however, were not simply intimate acts of private mourning. Rather, through their practices of honoring the dead and searching for the "truth" of the Korean War past, these groups spurred a larger political debate concerning the past, present, and future direction of the nation. The departed souls would be the central protagonists.

Truth Seeking and Political Discourse

Widows and Bereaved Family Members Weep in Mourning at a Wiryŏngje in Downtown Taegu. Source: Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Republic of Korea

In this section, I trace the various yujokhoe's mourning rituals and truth seeking activities as a mode of political discourse. First, however, a caveat. As there were strong localized and personal dimensions to these various endeavours, we must acknowledge the existence of heterogeneity both within, and between, these groups. However, significant common features recur throughout the remaining records of these groups, indicating a common, if somewhat inchoate, repertoire of political engagement. I argue that this discourse was defined by three overlapping principles: a form of mourning which utilized the restoration of the honor of victims and their spirits as a medium for critiquing the state; a romantic narrative of democratic nationalism, and; accommodation with anticommunism. Though I analyze each of these independently, they are best understood relationally.

As mentioned earlier, a core feature of the South Korean anticommunist system was the absolute obliteration of the "communist" other. It is unsurprising, therefore, that the most prominent theme in the accounts of the yujokhoe is one of rehabilitation and the reconstruction of identity, focused on the souls of the deceased themselves. Here, the issue accorded most gravity was the absolute innocence of victims. Nowhere was this more pronounced than in the case of Kŏch'ang. In a May 20 1960 public statement from representatives from the Kŏch'ang Bereaved Families Association, for example, the villagers were described as "angelic" (ch'ansa wa kat' ŭn), immune from engaging in fraud, threats, or political intrigue.32 Again, in a eulogy (Ch'utosa) delivered in November of the same year, the victims were characterized as being "gentle as sheep" (yang kat'i sunhan insa), forced to suffer hardship despite offering no resistance or insubordination.33 Representatives from Cheju and the Kyŏngsang groups incorporated similar tropes. In their May 26 1960 petition to the National Assembly, members from the Association for the Investigation of the Truth of the 4.3 Incident (4.3 sagŏn chinsang kyumyŏng tongjihoe), appealed to the absolute innocence of the island's residents, referring to them as "yangmin" (a term denoting honorable citizens).34 Similarly, in the official petition from the National Association of Bereaved Families for the Victims of Massacres (Chŏnkuk p'ihaksal yujokhoe), an amalgamation of the various Kyŏngsang groups that also eventually served as an umbrella agency for the entire network of bereaved family groups, the souls of the victims were described as "noble" (sungko).35

Perhaps more so than any other discursive strategy, it was the emphasis on the family that provided the most potent elixir for ushering in this transformation. Once contemptuously dismissed as "reds"--demonic abstractions threatening the nation's well being--the victims were now presented simply as lost family members and victims of a gross injustice. "Maengsŏha-nŭn kitpal" (Pledge the flag), the official song of the National Association of Bereaved Families, well encapsulated this sentiment. Composed as a " sorrowful lullaby", the song vowed to freely call the names of the disgracefully killed "minjok" (Korean tribe or race), who were left with no graves. At the end of each verse was a recurring refrain that varied slightly: "We are the sons and daughters of the massacred". "We are the wives of the massacred". "We are the parents of the massacred".36 In the pubic eulogy delivered for the victims of the Kŏch'ang massacre, a passage read, "it is said that we all colluded with the communists". "Oh the pain". "Among the suffering spirits were people over seventy and eighty and under the age of nine". The passage then noted that these were the community's grandchildren, daughters, and sons.37

If pathos, rehabilitation, and a focus on family were salient themes, however, the register was often decidedly political in nature. Standing in sharp juxtaposition to the benign and humanized renderings of the deceased were a series of depictions of Rhee and the Liberal Party as malignant forces. The Rhee government was frequently referred to as a "dictatorship" (tokche) that "massacred innocent people like flies"38 Integral to this was the idea that Rhee and his cronies failed to behave like the leaders of a modern democratic state. Thus, to critique the Rhee government, explicit appeals to human rights were made. Representatives from Cheju accused the Rhee regime of "recklessly trampling... human rights and freedom", and therefore deserving of serious historical judgment for their crimes against "citizens" (kungmin).39 In their petition (sŏnŏnmun) to the Chang Administration, representatives from the National Association of Bereaved Families adopted a similar stance. According to the authors, the Rhee government violated the victims' human rights, as they were executed without trial--an act which went against the constitution of the republic.40

Welded to the rhetoric of human rights and state accountability were appeals to nationalism. For example, representatives from Cheju accused Rhee and his cronies of being "impure people" (pulsuncha), a term that was used throughout the period of mass killings to describe communists, victims, and their families.41 In a public statement from the Kyŏngbuk Bereaved Families Association, the killings of members of the National Guidance Alliance were condemned as being "anti-national crimes" (panminjok cheokwa). Again, in a passage recited at a wiryŏnje in Taegu, Yi Wŏnsik accused the First Republic of being run by pro-Japanese "collaborators" (ch'inilp'a), "anti-Koreans" (panminjokcha), and "betrayers" (pyŏnchŏlcha).42 Comparatively, representatives from Taegu, Cheju, and Kŏch'ang all used the monikers of "patriot" (aekukcha) or "patriotic" (aekukchŏkin) in describing their deceased family members. It is in these passages that the radicalism of the yujokhoe discourse reached its zenith.

Yi Samkŭn Delivers a Funeral Oration (Chemun) as Yi Wŏnsik and Others from the Kyŏngbuk Bereaved Family Association Gather Around a Mass Grave. Source: Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Republic of Korea

What then, were the implications of this radicalism? Here, we must consider the second core strategy of the yujokhoe: a narrative of romantic transition and democratic nationalism. As Ruti Teitel argues, nations emerging from periods of tyranny and dictatorship seek novel interpretations of their recent past. These tend to be narrated through a rhetorical mode of tragic-comedy or tragic-romance. According to Teitel, these narratives proceed along a line moving from past sufferings and tragedy towards a progressive future.43 Within this process, knowledge of past crimes plays a critical and emancipatory role, offering future generations instructions on how to avoid the repetition of these catastrophic pasts. Democracy and liberalization are the final acts in this unfolding drama. As Teitel opines, "the move to a more liberal society is enabled by a reckoning with the past".44 The destiny of the state and the nature of historical interpretation, in other words, are crucially intertwined.

Historically and politically conscious agents, yujokhoe members sought to mark and define their family members deaths within a broader arc of progress and national destiny. Consistent with many other forms of twentieth century Korean ethnic nationalism, a focus on the mythologized nation, united by history, blood, and its unique geographical features was prominent.45 In one of the earliest public appeals, for example, leaders from Kŏch'ang explicitly called upon the people of Korea to "receive the blood of Tangun", the mythological founder of the Korean nation.46 In invoking Tangun, the representatives were integrating their own struggles and fortunes within the broader destiny of the Korean people. In a public ceremony for returning the ashes in Taegu, Kyŏngbuk Bereaved Family Association member Yi Poknyŏng began his eulogy with an illusion to his pride in Korea's five thousand year past.47 In doing so, Yi was utilizing an ideal concept of Korea's past as a foil to the more recent tragedies that had afflicted both the nation and the various families who were victims of the Korean War-era state slaughters. Nature was also integral to this construction, as frequent references to the country's rivers, mountains, and streams irrigated the grounds of yujokhoe nationalist narrative. The use of these tropes was present in the case of a slogan that served as a rallying cry uniting the various groups in the Kyŏngsang provinces: "The mountains and the rivers of our fatherland accuse, and the stars in the sky testify".48 Here, the portrayal of nature was offered as a radical alternative to the deprivations of the modern state: a stable optic of knowledge and moral witnessing for the bereaved families' tragedies.

The march of Korea's recent history, however, had contaminated the purity of the nation. The fall from grace began with the Japanese colonization of the peninsula. In a eulogy delivered for the victims of Kŏch'ang, for example, the speaker lamented the fact that the nation was forced to live "in chains" for thirty-six years. Suffering continued into the post-liberation years, an era defined by this author as a great "historical mistake" (yŏksa kwao) that could not be overlooked.49 Meanwhile, Yi Wŏnsik publically declared that since liberation day (August 15 1945), the nation had been dominated by those who "refuse to ask for forgiveness".50 The nadir of Korean history, however, arrived during the Rhee years. Indeed, Rhee was not merely accused of crimes against innocent Koreans, but crimes against history itself. In his sermon delivered in downtown Taegu, Yi Poknyŏng remarked that for the Rhee regime, the "historical judgment was grave".51 Likewise, Yi Wŏnsik referred to the National Guidance Alliance killings as one of the worst crimes in Korean history.52 Perhaps most dramatically, in the October 20 1960 petition produced by the National Association of Bereaved Families, Rhee's depravities were brought into the pantheon of history's great atrocities. The authors accused Rhee and his allies of being worse than Hitler, as they had slaughtered their own countrymen.53 While it is tempting to dismiss this as hyperbole, in its appeals to the importance of Korean blood and historical uniqueness, it was well within the boundaries of Korean nationalist discourse.

The romantic pivot in the historical arc came with the April 19 student revolution, as the unresolved legacies of the nation's civil war past blurred with the more immediate political present. For the representatives from Cheju (many of whom were students), the events of the spring of 1960 were portrayed as a "democratic revolution" (minchu hakyŏng), with the Second Republic carrying the prospects for "hope", "justice", "law", and "freedom".54 In the eulogy delivered for the massacred at Kŏch'ang, Koreans were implored to "create a new history" (searo ŭn yŏksa ch'angcho ha), and a "new democratic state" (minchu sinsaeng kukka).55 Surviving family members from the various National Guidance Alliance killings throughout the Kyŏngsang provinces likewise invoked the democratic ethos of the 4.19 movement. In a public declaration to local newspapers, representatives from the Kyŏngbuk Bereaved Family Association urged the "foundation of a country based on democracy".56 Meanwhile, at a funeral march in downtown Taegu in July 1960, Yi Wŏnsik referred to the events of April as an "expression of the nation's conscience and democratic capabilities".57

Just as political liberalization offered these groups greater freedom to search for historical justice, the knowledge produced by this pursuit was portrayed as integral to the fate of South Korea's democratic project itself. The political stakes were stark and absolute: while uncovering the painful realities of the civil war past would further entrench the democratic spirit of the student movement, their continued denial risked destroying the entire enterprise. In passages dealing with the revolution, therefore, the timbre was typically one of obligation and moral urgency. For the petitioners from the National Association of Bereaved Families, the unresolved murders were like a "knife inserted into the chest of democracy". Koreans thus has a duty to "accurately identify the gruesome details of its history" and also to shed light on "the conscience of democracy".58 In Cheju, activists declared that the nation was in "the midst of a moment of great historical education", but could not have genuine freedom without a proper accounting of the past.59

Interspersed throughout these interventions was a claim about the nature and meaning of the deaths within the nation's history. The victims and their ghosts became the central protagonists of the Korea's recent political drama, playing the roles of tragic martyrs. Again, the health of Korea's nascent democracy hinged upon the present treatment of these beings. Thus, we find in the petition from the National Bereaved Family Association, a political universe haunted by "vengeful spirits without graves", whose unrequited grudge threatened to engulf not just the families, but the entire nation.60 In their eulogy to the massacre victims of Kŏch'ang, the author urged representatives of the Second Republic to resolve the resentment of the spirits through compensation and promised that the wrongfully killed souls could be "protective spirits" for the nation.61 The most forceful articulation of this sentiment came from Yi Wŏnsik in his memorial "legacy of blood": "Our husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, and young children were unlawfully killed, and they turned into vengeful spirits. If they had lived until now, they could have been the frontrunners and warriors of the peaceful reunification of the country…as well as the leaders of the young generation of our time with passion and devotion".62 In these passages, we gain insight into the political, and moral horizons of the yujokhoe: a discourse in which their strategies of truth seeking comingled with romantic nationalism and a politics of mourning. At stake in these interventions was no less than their families' honor and the destiny of the republic itself.

The politics of the yujokhoe, however, did not transpire within an ideological vacuum. In their efforts to clarify the past and imagine a better future, these actors were frequently confronted with resistance from entrenched rightist politicians, police officers, soldiers, and their families. Ultimately this entailed a reckoning with anticommunism itself--the hegemonic ideological glue of the southern state. How did this struggle play out? Most commonly, the communist/anticommunist binary which gave rise to these incidents of mass violence was unmentioned. This, however, should not be interpreted as a suggestion that it had no effect. Rather, I contend that anticommunism predominantly functioned as an absent presence, unnamed but of fundamental importance to how the yujokhoe publically narrated their recent traumatic past. In place of a face-to-face confrontation with the hegemonic ideology, were a series of euphemisms, evasions, or alternative discourses. At the inaugural ceremony for the Kyŏngbuk Bereaved Family Association, for instance, Kim Hyŏngu admonished former security forces as "blind devotees to authority who created a climate of violence and fear" that South Koreans were still forced to live with.63 While Kim cryptically referred to some of anticommunism's salient features--reverence for state authority and its continuing power to psychologically shape Koreans--the question of ideology itself remained absent. Again, at a march held by the same group, the National Guidance Alliance members who were killed were simply referred to as those that surrendered voluntarily and were killed while awaiting trial under the National Security Law.64 While technically true, it is the silences here that concern us. Though the morality and justice of a major cornerstone of the southern state's power structure, the National Security Law, was called into question, the politics surrounding the National Guidance Alliance were left unaddressed. Indeed, nowhere was it mentioned that National Guidance Alliance members were confessed communists or that the group itself was an overt instrument of anticommunist indoctrination. The question of ideology shirked, an attempt was made to shift the political terrain to one of the state's legal obligations to citizens.

Of the few instances I was able to find where communism or anticommunism was directly addressed, there is scant evidence to suggest that the yujokhoe sought to challenge this feature of the southern state's ideological apparatus for legitimizing itself. Rather, of first order was countering the stigma of communism. In their eulogy, for example, the orator at Kŏch'ang addressed the issue of aiding communist guerillas and the stigma of being "ppalgaengi" (commies).65 Likewise, in their public statement, activists from Cheju pled to the innocence of victims from the 4.3 massacre who were "killed as communists".66 In their public manifesto, the National Association of Bereaved Families accused Rhee of hiding his crimes "under the guise of anticommunism" (pan'gong-ŭi mimyŏng-e sumŏ).67 Implicitly, this remark suggested that anticommunism itself was not at issue, just the previous regime's manipulation of it. More overtly, in their code of practice (silch'an yogang), representatives for the victims of the 4.3 Incident adopted the slogan "let's overthrow communism" (kongsanjuŭi t'adohaja). Similar chants echoed throughout the streets of Cheju at public protests in the spring of 1960.68 Whether this reflected a genuine ideological commitment to anticommunism on the part of the bereaved families or was simply a rhetorical strategy is difficult to discern. In either case, the hegemony of anticommunism was manifest. Its undisturbed power both structuring the efforts of the bereaved families and, in the long run, condemning them to failure.

Conclusion: The Bereaved Family Incident and the Legacies of the Yujokhoe

On the morning of May 16 1961 Park Chung-Hee launched his "revolution" through a military coup, thus radically altering the destiny of the southern half of the peninsula. The historical verdict on Park remains contentious, but one point is clear: for the yujokhoe, the coup was an utter catastrophe. If the summer and fall of 1960 was a time of defiance, reclamation, and activism for the yujokhoe members, in the following year the bitter fruits of this political harvest arrived in the form of mass arrests and show trials. While the lower ranking members were mostly exonerated after a few months in prison, high-ranking members were targeted. Yi Wŏnsik, for example, received the death penalty. Kwŏn Chungrak, Yi Samkŭn, and No Hyŏnsŏp received 15 year sentences. Other smaller sentences were doled out, generally falling under the category of inspiring "pro-communist" (yongkong) sentiment.69 The months spent in prison between the arrests and trial were ones of uncertainty and agony. Numerous accounts reveal psychological and physical abuse, such as harsh beatings and electric wire and water torture. Relatives recall that upon their release, accused family members came home sapped of their strength, often living quiet and emotionally desolate lives. The events of 1960-1961 were seldom mentioned to their children or grandchildren. A few remained vanquished, but unbowed. Such was the case with Kim Hachong, a member of the Kyŏngju group that we began our story with. At his trial in the fall of 1961, Kim held up a paper written in his own blood which simply read "unjust" (ŏgurhada)--a fitting epitaph for this sordid episode of history.70 Consistent with the logic established above, the state assaulted the memory and spirits of the victims as well. In Kŏch'ang, the memorial monument which contained an etching of the eulogy we referred to above was smashed into pieces and buried in the ground. Similar episodes transpired in Cheju, Kimhae, and Pusan, as the collective graves for the victims were bulldozed--their scattered detritus symbolically marking the failed aspirations of the yujokhoe.71

Left in the wake of these calamities was a bitter legacy of silence, social exclusion, and surveillance that took decades to even begin to be overcome. More recent efforts since the 1987 democratic transition have been more successful. Carried out at the local, communal, and national level, these have included the establishment of various truth commissions, the creation of monuments and peace parks dedicated to the victims, changes in family registries, an end to surveillance, and a Presidential apology. Most importantly, families of the victims have finally been allowed to openly mourn their losses, putting to rest many of the real and metaphorical vengeful ghosts that have tormented them for so long. It is inspiring to observe that reconstituted yujokehoe have been at the helm of these developments, often led by the sons and daughters of the doomed 1960-1961 leadership. However, considerable work remains, and the present political climate in South Korea does not bode well for the healing process.

As a final thought, it is worth considering the merits and limitations of the 1960-1961 yujokhoe's efforts. Without question, the events of the spring of 1960 presented an opportunity for bereaved families, but also imposed a considerable burden. Given their particular history, the question of civil war deaths was pregnant with symbolism. "Truth" seeking, therefore, necessitated not only a process of legal investigation and clarification, but also an ideological subversion of some of the basic tenets of the southern state's legitimizing discourse. To what extent did the various yujokhoe grasp their predicament and attempt to overcome it? That these actors had a profound sense of the broader stakes at issue in their quest for redemption is beyond dispute. Politically and historically conscious, the leaders of the yujokhoe delicately interwove their communities' private traumas with a public discourse aimed squarely at destabilizing the hegemonic understanding of the nation's recent past. The result was a radical, if at times narrow, rethinking of the civil war era--one that retains its potency five decades after the fact. What were once "reds" became tragic victims of the authoritarian regime's depravities and potential martyrs for a future democracy. Previously begrudged souls, denied public recognition and forced to wander the earth haunting their loved ones, became central agents in a present political drama endowed with the capacity to transcend the nation's recent dark history. The First Republic, framed by its authors as the guardian of the "minjok", was recast as the nation's betrayer; it's victims and their heirs, its potential redeemer.

And yet, for all the audacity and moral force of their interventions, the discourse of the yujokhoe remained estranged from a complete reckoning with the previous decade's violence in two crucial, and interrelated, ways. The first was a temporal displacement which altered the meaning of the civil war era massacres. For in latching onto a redemptive narrative which privileged an imaginary future republic, the initial political struggles which gave rise to the killings were obfuscated. What were essentially the bloody excesses of a left/right post-colonial Cold War confrontation were recast as state crimes to be adjudicated through the moral lenses of liberal transition. With few exceptions, the issues of land reform, collaboration with Japan, the emerging Cold War order, or nationalist reunification--so central to the obliterated hopes and violence of the liberation period--were tacitly silenced in these acts of public remembrance. In their place was a language of romantic overcoming--the "truth" of past atrocities uncertainly fixed to the wagon of a not-yet-authored democratic future.

The second, and weightier, limitation concerns the relationship between the various yujokhoe and anticommunism. For it is in this discourse that we are able to most clearly see the restrictions imposed upon their efforts. Sealed into an ideological, discursive, and geopolitical order of unrelenting anticommunism, these groups worked to restore the honor of their families by inserting their remembrance into a greater narrative arc of progress, democracy, and at times, anticommunist triumph. But if this strategy gave this movement its entrance into the recognized boundaries of the era's political debates, it also fixed its limits. The gravitational weight of Korea's recent fratricidal war setting clear limits for acceptable visions into its violent past, the yujokhoe were conscripted into a compromise: The need to shed light on the "truth" of their loved ones’ deaths limited their inability to interrogate the state ideology of anticommunism and its violent consequences. For to overtly question the systematic processes that went into the mass terror that afflicted large swaths of South Korean society in the civil war era was to question the legitimacy of the state itself. This was a boundary not be crossed, and though the yujokhoe complied, they suffered for their trespasses all the same.

As a mode of political discourse, the yujokhoe's public activities shed light on a dark and repressed period of the recent past, but also opened up a host of problematic questions: What future place in national history would there be for examining anticommunist violence? How could victims of the national security state be honored within a political culture that valorized the military? If the victims were not communists, and anticommunism was not responsible for their deaths, what was their precise historical meaning? How could the politics of the era of national liberation and division be explicated without reference to the period's radical ideological polarization? In a climate of national division, what space existed for alternative political visions other than those imposed by anticommunism? And in what ways did the remembrance of state massacres augment or complicate these projects? While the yujokhoe shouted their angry demands for historical justice, these questions and contradictions hung suspended in the heady winds of the 1960-1961 interim, yearning for a resolution. As the ghosts of the Korean War past continue to plague the divided peninsula's present, these questions retain their urgency; their answers no less opaque.

Brendan Wright is a PHD candidate in the department of history at the University of British Columbia. His current research is on Korean War-era massacres and the politics of memory surrounding these incidents, 1948-1961. He is the author of "Politicidal Violence and the Problematics of Localized Memory at Civilian Massacre Sites: The Cheju 4.3 Peace Park and the Kŏch'ang Incident Memorial Park.

Recommended citation: Brendan Wright, "Raising the Korean War Dead: Bereaved Family Associations and the Politics of 1960-1961 South Korea", The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 13, Issue 41, No. 2, October 12, 2015.

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1 Chinsil hwahae rŭl wihan kwagŏsa chŏngni wiwŏnhoe [Truth and Reconciliation Commission] (2010). Chinsil hwahae wiwŏnhoe chonghap pogosŏ IV: Ingwŏn ch’imhae sagŏn [Truth and Reconciliation Commission Comprehensive Report IV: Incidents of Human Rights Abuses]. Sŏul: Chinsil hwahae rŭl wihan kwagŏsa chŏngni wiwŏnhoe, 278.

2 Now recognized as an incident of human rights abuse, the Bereaved Family Incident occurred following the May 16, 1960 military coup. The incident included the mass arrest, torture, and conviction of activists who lobbied on behalf of survivors and the families of victims of civil war era massacres, as well as the destruction of monuments and graves dedicated to the deceased. For a summary see " Chinsil hwahae wiwŏnhoe chonghap pogosŏ IV ", 256-284.

3 Kim Hun Joon (2014), The Massacres at Mt Halla: Sixty Years of Truth Seeking in South Korea. Cornell University Press, 49.

4 Jung Byong-Jung (2002), "Attempts to Settle the Past During the April Popular Struggle", Korea Journal, 42. (3), 99.

5 Kim Dong Choon (2010), "The Long Road Toward Truth and Reconciliation", Critical Asian Studies, 42:4, 531.

6 Kwon, Heonik (2008), "The Korean War Mass Graves", Asia Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, 3.

7 Yi Changhyŏn. 2010. “1960 yŏndae ch’o kyŏngju p’ihaksalja yujokhoe sagŏn ŭi chŏngae kwajŏng kwa sŏnggyŏk” [The process and characteristics of the Kyŏngju Massacre Bereaved Families Association Incident in the early 1960s]. Sarim 35: 235–257. Most notably, local rightists (some of whom were plain clothed officers) would instigate riots and police would blame bereaved families for initiating them

8 The National Guidance Alliance was established in 1949, ostensibly to convert confessed-communists into anticommunist citizens. On the eve of the North Korean invasion on June 25, 1950, the group's membership had swelled to roughly 300,000. Fearing uprisings within the group, security forces were given permission to execute members suspected of collaborating with communists. Estimates vary as to the number of members killed from June to September, 1950, but generally range from 20,000-100,000. See: Chinsil hwahae rŭl wihan kwagŏsa chŏngni wiwŏnhoe [Truth and Reconciliation Commission] (2010) “Podo yŏnmaeng sagŏn” [National Guidance League incident report]. Sŏul: Chinsil hwahae rŭl wihan kwagŏsa chŏngni wiwŏnhoe111

9 Yi T'ongjin (2014), " Kungmin kwa pigungmin-ŭi kyŏnggye: p'ihaksalja yujokhoe sagŏn ŭl chungsimŭro" [The Boundary between Citizen and Non-Citizen: A Focus on the Bereaved Family Associations for the Victims of Massacres], Sahoe wa yŏksa, (Society and History), Vol 104, 141-182.

10 “Cheju 4.3 Sagŏn chinsang chosa pogosŏ” [Cheju 4.3 Incident investigation report]. Sŏul: Cheju 4.3 Sagŏn chinsang kyumyŏng mit hŭisaengja myŏngye hoebok wiwŏnhoe, 2003; “Chinsil hwahae wiwŏnhoe chonghap pogosŏ III: minganin chiptan hŭisaeng sagŏn” [Truth and reconciliation comprehensive report III: Incidents of large-scale civilian sacrifices]. Sŏul: Chinsil hwahae rŭl wihan kwagŏsa chŏngni wiwŏnhoe. 2010. Kim, Dong-Choon. 2009. The Unending War: A Social History. Translated by Sung-ok Kim. Larkspur, CA: Tamal Vista Publications; Kim Hakchae. 2010. “Hanguk chŏnjaeng chŏnhu minganin haksal kwa 20 segi ŭi naejŏn” [Pre–

and post–Korean War civilian massacres and civil wars of the twentieth century]. Asea yŏn’gu [Asian research] 53 (4): 82–118; Kim Seong-Nae (2002): "Sexual Politics of State Violence: On Cheju April Third Massacre of 1948", in Traces 2: Race Panic and the Memory of Migration, Morris and Brett de Bary, eds, Hong Kong University Press, 2002; Kwŏn Kwisuk (2002). “Taeryang haksal ŭi sahoe simni: Cheju 4.3 sagŏn ŭi haksal kwajŏng” [The socio-psychological processes of genocide: The stages of massacre of the Cheju 4.3 Incident]. Hanguk sahoehak [Korean sociology] 36: 171–200; Pak Myung-Rim (2000), “Chŏnjaeng kwa inmin: T’onghap kwa punhwa wa haksal” [War and the people: Integration, differentiation, and massacre]. Asea Munhwa [Asia culture] 16: 97–167.

11 Cumings, Bruce (2015), "Epilogue to (De) Memorializing the Korean War: A Critical Intervention" Cross Currents: East Asian Culture and History Review. 4, (1). 181.

12 Sŏ Chungsŏk (1999), Cho Pongam kwa 1950 nyŏndae. [Cho Pongam and the 1950s], Sŏul: Yŏksa pip'yŏngsa, 684.

13 Chosŏn Ilbo, May 30 1956.

14 Yi Ch'anghyŏn (2010), "Hanguk-ui minganin haksal sagŏn chaep'any ŏngu: kyŏngju naemyŏn haksal sagŏn chaep'an sarye chonsimŭro" (Research on Trials on Incidents of Massacres of Korean Civilians: Focused on the Example of the Kyŏngju Naemyŏn Massacre Incident), Hanguk yŏksapo, 39: 299-303.

15 Michael Pettid, Death, Mourning and the Afterlife in Korea: Ancient to Contemporary Times, Honolulu: The University of Hawaii Press, 2014, 141.

16 Hangdo Ilbo, January 25 1989.

17 Chejudo ŭi 4.3 t'ŭkpyŏl wiwŏnhoe (2000) [Chejudo Assembly 4.3 Special Committee], "Cheju 4.3 p'ihae chosa pogosŏ: 2ch'a" [Report on the Damages of 4.3: Second Edition], 473; Kwon, "Korean War and Mass Graves", 1-5; Kim Seong-Nae , "Mourning Korean Modernity in the Memory of the April 3 Cheju Incident", Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, 1.(3), 470. According to Kim, this event took place in 1958, however my own research indicates that it was April 8 1957. Kim Seong-nae has also done important work into spirits and ghosts in the context of the Cheju Incident's aftermath. Kim Seong-nae (2013), "The Work of Memory: Ritual Laments of the Dead and Korea's Cheju Massacre" in A Companion to the Anthropology of Religion (eds J. Boddy and M. Lambek), Oxford, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 223-239.

18 “Cheju 4.3 sagŏn chinsang chosa pogosŏ”, 415.

19 Han Sungjoo (1974), The Failure of Democracy in South Korea, Berkeley, University of California Press, 28-31.

20 Han, The Failure of Democracy in South Korea, 33.

21 Kyŏnghyang Sinmun, May 12 1961, Tonga Ilbo, May 12 1960. Kim Dong Choon has argued that this event was primarily driven by frustration over the failure of the legal and political proceedings of the period (addressed below). However, in my reading the disposal Pak's body was indicative of symbolic violence. Furthermore, this event preceded the aborted attempts at legal restitution. Kim D.-C, "The Long Road", 533.

22 Yŏnhap Sinmun, May 18 1960.

23 The Sŏngju Bereaved Families Association (established on May 3 1960), for example, only had twenty members. The Kyŏngju Bereaved Families Association (established on October 10 1960), meanwhile, reached a membership of 860.

24 “Cheju 4.3 sagŏn chinsang chosa pogosŏ”, 39.

25 Yi Tongjin, "Kungmin kwa pigungmin-ŭi pyŏnggye", 151-157.

26 Kim Hun Joon, "Transitional Justice in South Korea" in Transitional Justice in the Asia-Pacific (eds. R. Jeffery and Kim H.-J.), Cambridge, Cambridge University Press , 243.

27 For example, one of the members had been a police chief during the Korean War. Meanwhile, key figures such Pak Sŏngkil and Kim Ŭt'aek were respectively members of the Liberal and Democratic parties. Tonga Ilbo, May 23 1960.

28 The largest number came from the Kyŏngbuk (2,200) and Kyŏngnam (2,892) provinces, most of which were victims of the National Guidance Alliance killings or the 1950 mass executions at Taegu Prison. Despite the short time spent on the island, 1,878 deaths were uncovered in Cheju. Meanwhile, the commission confirmed 1,552 deaths in the Honam region. Cheju Sinbo, May 28 1960.

29 Cheju Sinbo, June 13 1960; Hanguk Ilbo, June 21 1960.

30 Cheju Sinbo, June 22 1960. Some of those killed would have included members of the National Guidance Alliance.

31 Chinsil hwahae wiwŏnhoe chonghap pogosŏ IV, 71.

32 Kyŏnghyang Sinmun, May 20 1960.

33 Kŏch'ang Ch'udosa.

34 Cheju Sinbo, May 26, 1960.

35 Chŏn'guk p'ihaksalja yujokhoe sŏnŏnmun.

36Maengsŏ ha nŭn kitpal.

37 Kŏch'ang Ch'udosa.

38 Taegu Chumunsa.

39 Cheju Sinbo, May 26, 1960.

40 Chŏn'guk p'ihaksalja yujokhoe sŏnŏnmun.

41 Cheju Sinbo, May 26, 1960.

42 Han'guk hyŏngmyŏng chaep'ansa [Korean Revolutionary Tribunal], 77-78.

43 Ruti Teitel (2002), Transitional Justice, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 109.

44 Ruti Teitel, Transitional Justice, 111.

45 See, for example, Shin Gi-Wook, Ethnic Nationalism in Korean: Genealogy, Politics, Legacy. Stanford, Stanford University Press, 2006.

46 Kyŏnghyang Sinmun, May 20, 1960.

47 Han'guk hyŏngmyŏng chaep'ansa, ,42-43.

48 Han'guk hyŏngmyŏng chaep'ansa , 44-45.

49 Kŏch'ang Ch'udosa.

50 Han'guk hyŏngmyŏng chaep'ansa , 77-78.

51 Han'guk hyŏngmyŏng chaep'ansa, 42-43.

52 Han'guk hyŏngmyŏng chaep'ansa, 77-78.

53 Chŏn'guk p'ihaksalja yujokhoe sŏnŏnmun.

54 Cheju Sinbo, May 26 1960.

55 Kŏchang Ch'udosa.

56 Kyŏngbuk chigu p'ihaksalja yujokhoe sŏnŏnmun.

57Chinsil hwahae wiwŏnhoe chonghap pogosŏ IV, 82.

58 Chŏn'guk p'ihaksalja yujokhoe sŏnŏnmun.

59 Cheju Sinbo, May 26, 1960.

60Chŏn'guk p'ihaksalja yujokhoe sŏnŏnmun.

61 Kŏch'ang Ch'udosa.

62 Han'guk hyŏngmyŏng chaep'ansa, 77-78.

63 Han'guk hyŏngmyŏng chaep'ansa.

64 Han'guk hyŏngmyŏng chaep'ansa , 77-78.

65 Kŏch'ang Ch'udosa.

66 Cheju Sinbo, May 26 1960.

67 Han'guk hyŏngmyŏng chaep'ansa , 72.

68 Cheju Sinbo, May 27, 1960; Cheju Sinbo, May 28, 1960.

69 Chinsil hwahae wiwŏnhoe chonghap pogosŏ IV, 172-176.

70 Chinsil hwahae wiwŏnhoe chonghap pogosŏ IV, 278.

71 Chinsil hwahae wiwŏnhoe chonghap pogosŏ IV, 304-312.