The Kabo Peasants’ War was a struggle waged by Korean people against the feudal rulers and the Japanese aggressors in 1894, the 31st year of the sexagenary cycle.
The riot raised by peasants in Jolla Province against the unfair exaction of reservoir water tax under the command of Jon Pong Jun gradually developed to a nationwide large-scale peasants’ war against maladministration of the feudal rulers.
Unable to suppress the peasant troops, the feudal rulers made overtures of peace to them while demanding a foreign country send its troops in a bid to maintain their rule. Dispatching foreign troops to Korea gave Japan an excuse to invade Korea.
Doctor and Associate Professor Wi Kwang Nam, Section Chief of the History Institute under the Academy of Social Sciences, says: “The Japanese aggressors sent a lot of armed forces to our country under the pretext of ‘protecting’ the Japanese residents in Korea.
In order to prevent foreign armed intervention and save the country from crisis, the peasant troops presented to the feudal rulers the 12-point misruled reform bill and concluded peace with them in Jonju on June 11.
However, they turned out in the armed struggle again since the Japanese aggressors raided the Korean Royal Palace to bring the feudal rulers into submission and persisted in their outrageous invasion of Korea.
Involved in the peasants’ war were not only people from all walks of life including peasants but also some patriotic noblemen, Confucian scholars and government troops.”
The main force of the peasant troops attacked Kongju which was the centre of the Japanese aggressor forces and bravely fought for nearly 20 days despite the violent firing of the enemy.
Before and after the Kongju battle, other units of the peasant troops gave successive blows to the Japanese forces in different places.
Unfortunately, the peasant troops suffered a tremendous loss in the continued fierce battle and its commander Jon Pong Jun was arrested by the betrayal of a renegade. Thus the Kabo Peasants’ War ended in failure.
The Kabo Peasants’ War left the lesson in history that victory cannot be achieved in the struggle without correct strategy and tactics and unified guidance. But it showed the ardent patriotic spirit and indefatigable fighting stamina of the Korean people and gave a great inspiring influence to the development of the ensuing anti-feudal and anti-aggression struggle.