Japanese Channel Lifts Veil on Korean Empress' Death

A special program including apologies from the descendants of Japanese officials who plotted the assassination of Empress Myeongseong in 1895 will be shown nationwide on TV Asahi in Japan at 10 p.m. Monday. The show unveils the full truth of the assassination and documents a visit by the descendents of the killers to Korea and their apologies some 110 years after the empress also known as Queen Min died.

TV Asahi's Hodo Station, whose viewer ratings of some 20 percent are the highest among Japanese terrestrial channels, plans to air a 14-minute segment about the assassination based on a 2005 documentary by producer Chung Soo-woong, who leads a forum of Korean, Chinese and Japanese TV documentary producers.

Datsumi Kawano (right), a grandson of Empress Myeongseongs assassin Shigeyaki Kunimoto, apologizes to Yi Chung-gil, a grandson of Emperor Gojong at Hongneung, the royal couples tomb, in Namyangju, Gyeonggi Province in May, 2005. Datsumi Kawano (right), a grandson of Empress Myeongseong's assassin Shigeyaki Kunimoto, apologizes to Yi Chung-gil, a grandson of Emperor Gojong at Hongneung, the royal couple's tomb, in Namyangju, Gyeonggi Province in May, 2005.

Chung's film shows how Goro Miura, the Japanese ambassador at the time, mobilized 48 assassins who broke into Gyeongbok Palace on Oct. 8, 1895 and killed the empress.

"The motivation behind the showing of the program was to let people know the buried history between Korea and Japan at a time when Japanese interest in Korea is high due to the influence of the Korean Wave," Chung said. Kim Yong-woon, a professor at Dankook University who heads the Korea-Japan Cultural Exchange Council, said the film "will cause enormous repercussions in Japan because it squarely deals with a historical event that is regarded in Japan as something that never happened, and portrays descendents of the assassins visiting Korea and apologizing."

englishnews@chosun.com / Aug. 24, 2009 12:09 KST