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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Independence fighter’s remains to return home from U.S.

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The remains of a Korean independence fighter will return home from the United States a century after his death, under a project to commemorate the patriot that has inspired a hit 2018 TV series, the veterans ministry said Wednesday.

The ministry is hoping to bring home the remains of Hwang Ki-hwan, who has been laid to rest at Mount Olivet Cemetery in New York, before the centennial anniversary of his death on April 17.

It has been pushing for the return since 2013, but the effort had faced an obstacle: the cemetery’s call for a local court approval due to the absence of his family members.

But the cemetery recently gave the green light “based on the wishes of the South Korean people and overseas Koreans” and the approaching centenary of his death, according to the ministry.

Hwang’s life got into the spotlight as he became known as the real-life model of a protagonist in the historical drama “Mr. Sunshine.”

He took part in Korea’s independence movement against Japan’s 1910-45 colonial rule and supported Korean representatives to the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 after World War I.

Born in Sunchon, South Pyongan Province, which is now in North Korea, Hwang went to the United States in 1904. During World War I, he volunteered to fight for the U.S. as he was studying in the country.

This file photo, taken March 29, 2019, shows the grave of Korean independence activist Hwang Ki-hwan at Mount Olivet Cemetery in New York. (Yonhap)
This file photo, taken March 29, 2019, shows the grave of Korean independence activist Hwang Ki-hwan at Mount Olivet Cemetery in New York. (Yonhap)

BY YUN HWAN CHAE [yunhwanchae@yna.co.kr]