On April 3, actor Yoo Ah In attended a commemoration ceremony held on Jeju island for those who lost their lives during the Jeju Uprising and its aftermath (often referred to in South Korea as “4.3” or “Jeju 4.3”).
Yoo Ah In attended the event with philosopher Kim Yong Ok (pen name Do-ol), who appears with Yoo Ah In on the KBS series “Do-ol and Ah In Go In All Directions” (literal title). They joined six other people on stage for a performance after Kim Yong Ok recited the Jeju Declaration of Peace.
When Yoo Ah In went on stage, he commented, “I was also the same way. I’ve mentioned this before in the show I filmed with Do-ol, but shamefully I did not know much about Jeju 4.3. I didn’t know what to call it, nor why weren’t supposed to know about it. I was ashamed of myself for not knowing.”
He continued, “After learning about Jeju 4.3, I realized that it’s a moment in history we all should never forget, and that we must continue to talk about to make the issue current. At first, I was surprised, angry, and sad. I couldn’t believe something like that could happen, and I couldn’t imagine how the perpetrators could continue to go on with their lives after what they did. I would never have imagined Jeju island bearing this kind of tragedy in its history.”
He went on to say, “The only thing I can think of is that we have to remember this history and not consider it someone else’s business. While I am careful in saying these words, I am also relieved because at this point, I know enough to be able to say I’m sorry, I apologize, and that we have to continue to learn more about this tragedy. Members of the younger generation make up many of the people who are taking an interest in learning about Jeju 4.3 because they believe this history should never be repeated. That’s why I think there is hope.” He shared his hopes for the continued remembrance and commemoration of the events.
The ceremony on April 3 commemorates the tens of thousands of people on Jeju Island who died during clashes and suppression after an uprising on April 3, 1948. On that day, a communist group on Jeju Island launched an armed uprising against the police and political figures for reasons including the group’s opposition to plans for a general election that they feared would reinforce division within the Korean peninsula. This led to an anticommunist suppression campaign by government forces that has been described as a massacre, and the events lasted until 1954, with thousands of civilians abused and killed during the uprisings and suppression. The government then initiated a large-scale cover up of the events, and it has only in the past few decades been acknowledged as part of South Korea’s history.