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The Making of the First Korean PresidentSyngman Rhee's Quest for Independence$
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Young Ick Lew

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780824831684

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824831684.001.0001

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Christian Education and Evangelism in Korea and Japan

Christian Education and Evangelism in Korea and Japan

(p.41) Chapter 3 Christian Education and Evangelism in Korea and Japan
The Making of the First Korean President

Young Ick Lew

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter details events following Syngman Rhee’s return to Korea in 1910, including his stint at the Seoul YMCA, his religious exile, and evangelical work in Japan. Back in Seoul, Rhee became the student department secretary of the Interscholastic Department in the Seoul YMCA, a position he held from October 1910 to March 1912. He also became the target of the Japanese police, along with many other important Christian leaders throughout the country on trumped-up charges. The ultimate motive of the Japanese officials who drew up the charges was to weaken the Protestant movement. When faced with the choice of staying in Korea and taking his chances with the Japanese colonial government, or traveling journey to Minneapolis and forge a new path in life somewhere in the United States, Rhee chose the latter. Rhee left Seoul on March 26, 1912, his thirty-seventh birthday. On his way to the United States, he stopped over in Japan for ten days to organize a “Gospel Band” among the Korean students and raise funds for a Korean YMCA building in Tokyo.

Keywords:   Syngman Rhee, Korea, Seoul YMCA, evangelical work, Japan, missionary diplomacy, Protestant movement

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