chapter  13
Anti-Americanism, Korean Style
Pages 11

August 15,2003, marked the fifty-eighth anniversary ofKorea's liberation from Japanese colonial rule. Liberation Day has always provided the backdrop for marches and rallies celebrating liberation, denouncing Japan for not coming clean of its past, and otherwise reaffirming national identity and cohesion. However, instead of providing an occasion for another show of unity, last year's celebrations revealed for all to see the deep ideological fault line running through South Korean politics. The occasion was presaged by a dramatic protest staged by members of the radical student organization, Hanchongnyon. On August 7, thirteen college students draped in South Korean flags stormed an American base, c1imbing atop an armored personnel carrier, calling for an end to "United States war mongering on the Korean peninsula" and burning an American flag. Even though the protest lasted only ten minutes before all the participants were arrested, it dramatically transformed the character of the Liberation Day celebrations that followed a week later.