To our regret, however, even though we have celebrated the centenary of Ahn’s assassination of Ito in 2009 and the centenary of Ahn’s patriotic death in 2010, the whereabouts of the Autobiography’s original text is still unknown; only mimeograph copies and translations are available. Ahn started writing the autobiography on Dec. 13, 1909, a day before his death sentence was announced, and completed the manuscript on March 15 the following year during the period of 93 days. The Japanese had not disclosed Ahn’s original text, and used it for a material for consolidating their colonial rule in Korea. The Autobiography, however, was finally disclosed when the Japanese translation of the original Chinese text and the mimeograph copies opened to the public 60 years after the death of Ahn.
The court trial records and the mimeograph copy version of the Japanese translation were discovered in 1969 at Kanda Old Bookshop by Choe Seo-myeon, president of the Tokyo International Korean Research Institute. The Nagasaki edition was unveiled in 1978 by Shoshiro Watanabe who was managing an old fine art shop in
Nagasaki in Japan. The following year in 1979, Autobiography of Ahn Eung-chil and A Treatise on Peace in the East were found in the Shichi Documents, a collection of the Tribute Material Room of the National Diet Library of Japan and were called the “Shichi Abstracts.”
In 1970, the Ahn Jung-geun Society in Korea published Autobiography of Ahn Jung-geun based on the
Japanese mimeograph copy version and another autobiography was published based in 1979 on the full Chinese-text Nagasaki edition. Subsequently, with the discovery of the Shichi Abstracts the same year, the Center was able to supplement the missing part of the Nagasaki edition with the Shichi Abstracts and
published Autobiography of Ahn Jung-geun in 1990.
Ahn’s sacrifice as a martyr for the Korean people and the nation during his 32 years of life was vividly preserved in his own handwriting in the autobiography, which is one of the most legitimate and monumental records in the history of Korea’s independence movement and the history of modern Korea.