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Japanese apologies for assassination of Korean empress 100 years ago
June 17, 2005
The descendants of the Japanese who assassinated Empress Myeongseong in 1895, wife of King Gojong (Joseon Dynasty), have come to Korea to make apologies for their ancestors' brutal act.
Tatsumi Kawano, 84, is a descendant of Shigeaki Kunitomo who led the assassins, and Keiko Ieiri, 77, granddaughter-in-law of another assassin, Kakitsu Ieiri. They arrived at Incheon International Airport on Monday along with some 20 members of an organization set up in memory of the Korean empress.
Kawano serves as president of the group. "Some friends tried to dissuade me from coming here, saying I might be killed. But I wanted to be here to apologize to Koreans for what my grandfather did," he said upon arriving at the airport.
Kawano, a physician practicing in Kumamoto, Japan, set up the organization, People's Group in Memory of Myeongseong.
Since their arrival here, the visitors toured Hongnung in Gyeonggi Province, the burial site of Myeongseong and her husband King Gojong, to pay homage to the deceased. They also visited a historic site in Yeoju, a nearby city, where the childhood house of the empress is still kept.
Their itinerary includes a tour of Gyeongbokgung Palace, where the assassination took place.