[2019 Speech Topic]

100th Anniversary of the March First Movement: Its Meaning and Impact

March 1, 2019 marks the 100th anniversary of the March First Movement, also known as the Samil Independence Movement. On March 1, 1919, demonstrations erupted throughout Korea demanding independence from Japan. It did not bring about the immediate independence of Korea; however, its significance and impact have been far reaching.

What is the significance of the movement then and now; does a 100 year old movement have any impact on us, on modern day domestic as well as international situations?

submission deadline

Early submission

December 31st, 2018 @11:59PM EST

  • Early submission applicants will be invited to attend a speech writing online workshop and allowed to edit their draft for final submission after receiving feedback from online speech coach

Regular Submission

February 24TH, 2019 @11:59PM EST

  • Please save name of your file as word doc in following format: "2018 First Name_Last Name" (Ex. 2018 Yuna Lee)

  • Please add a title at the beginning of  your manuscript (Ex. "My Childhood in Korea")


  • Eligibility : Students in grades 9-12

  • Language: English

  • Length of Speech : 4-6 minutes


  • Kyung Gi Award (1 student) : $1,200

  • 1st Award (1 student) : $1,000

  • 2nd Award (2 students) :   $ 500

  • 3rd Award (3 students) :   $ 300

  • Maehwa Award (Best Research/Manuscript Award) :   $ 300

  • Finalists (4-6 students) :   $ 100


  • Date: April 27, 2019 (Saturday) at 10:00 am

  • Location : Korean Community Center (at 100 Grove St., Tenafly, NJ)


Please choose your topic, formulate a research question, and provide your analysis of your research findings. Possible topics for your essay are suggested below. These are only suggestions and you may choose your own as long as it is related to the March 1st Movement: 

  • March First Movement: Analyze its success, failure, and its impact in general

  • Unity in the Movement and its impact on Korean society

  • Role of Religion in the Movement and its impact on Korean society

  • Comparison with independence movements of other colonial countries

  • Comparison with Nonviolent Resistance Movement:

    • Compare with Gandhi’s Nonviolent Movement

    • Compare with Nonviolent resistance movement of the civil rights movement in the US

  • Role of students and women in the Movement and its impact on Korean society

  • The text of “Proclamation of Independence”:

    • Comparison with the American Declaration of Independence

    • Comparison with Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have dream speech”

    • Comparison with Lincoln’s Gettysburrg Address

For judging criteria and other frequently asked questions, pleased visit our FAQ page.

The March First Movement occupies an important place in the collective memory of the Korean people that transcends its central role in the dramatic events of 1919. The nationalist reform and later independence movement had always been plagued by divisive factionalism, and the March First Movement stood out as a decisive point of unity during the colonial period. It also has come to symbolize the awakening of the entire nation to the accumulated political, cultural, and economic inequities inherent in Japanese imperial rule.  In terms of the maturation of Korean nationalism, however, March First only suggested the potential of a nationalism fully supported by the mass of the Korean people. …
— Eckert, C. J. et al. 1990
Source: Wikipedia

Source: Wikipedia


General History Books on Korea

Eckert, C.J., Lee, K., Lew, Y. Robinson, M. & Wagner, E.W. (1990). Korea Old and New: A History. Seoul: Ilchokak.

Lee, K. (1984). (Traslated by Wagner, E.W. & Shultz, E. J.). A New History of Korea. Seoul: Ilchokak.

Nahm, A. C. (1996). Korea Tradition & Transformation: A History of the Korean people. 2nd. Ed.  Elizabeth, NJ.

Univ. Of Hawaii Resource

Late 19th Century through 1945: March First Movement http://www.hawaii.edu/korea/biblio/19Cthru1945_marchfirst.html

Ahn, Byung-Wook (An Pyong-uk). "Spirit and Significance of Samil Revolution." Koreana Quarterly 13:1-2 (Spring-Summer 1971): 1-10.

Baldwin, Frank. "Participatory Anti-Imperialism: The 1919 Independence Movement." The Journal of Korean Studies 1 (1979): 123-162.

Ban, Byung Yool. "Yi Tong-hwi and the Korean Nationalist Activities during the March First Movement Period." Korean Social Science Journal 24:2 (1998): 185-227.

Ch'on, Kwan-u. "The Samil Revolt Considered as a Mass Movement." Korea Journal 11:3 (March 1971): 9-14.

Clark, Donald N. "'Surely God Will Work Out Their Salvation': Protestant Missionaries in the March First Movement." Korean Studies 13 (1989): 42-75.

Critchfield, Theodore M. "Revolt Ignored, Revolt Invited: The March Incident." In Proceedings of the Second International Symposium on Asian Studies 1980: vol. II Japan and Korea. Hong Kong: Asian Research Service, 1980.

Duus, Peter. "The Japanese Residents of Korea and the March 1 Movement." The Japan Foundation Newsletter 15:4 (February 1988): 9-12.

Hoffmann, Frank. "The Muo Declaration: History in the Making (Translation and Commentary)." Korean Studies 13 (1989): 22-41.

Hong, I-sop. "Understanding the March 1 Movement." Korea Journal 6:3 (March 1966): 4-8.

Hong, I-sop. "March 1st, 1919." Korea Journal 11:3 (March 1971): 4-8.

Ion, A. Hamish. “British and Canadian Missionaries and the March 1st 1919 Movement.” Hokudai hogaku ronshu 28:3 (1977:12): 586-568.

Kim, Hyung-chan. "Portrait of a Troubled Korean Patriot: Yun Ch'i-ho's Views of the March First Independence Movement and World War II." Korean Studies 13 (1989): 76-91.

Kim, Jun-yop. "Historical View of Independence Movement." Korea Journal27:10 (October 1987): 4-10.

Kim, Yong-mo. "The Samil Independence Movement Viewed from the Socio-historical Context." Korea Journal 19:3 (March 1979): 15-20.

Ku, Dae-Yeol. “The March First Movement and Communism.” (Ihwa yoja taehakkyo popchong taehak) Sahoe kwahak nonjip 4 (1984:12): 81-91.

Ku, Daeyeol. “The March First Movement: With Special Reference to its External Implications and Reactions of the United States.” Korea Journal 42:3 (Autumn 2002): 219-256.

Moffett, Samuel H. "The Independence Movement and the Missionaries." Transactions of the Korea Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society 54 (1979): 13-32.

Oshima, Koichi. "Kim Maria and Japan: Korean Women Students in Japan and the March First Independence Movement." Japan Christian Quarterly 46:1 (Winter 1980): 40-45.

Pak, Ch'an-Sung. "Current Issues in the Study of the March First Movement." Seoul Journal of Korean Studies 2 (December 1990): 133-146.

Pak, Un-sik. "Independence Movements in Uiju and Chunju: March 1 - May 31, 1919." Korea Journal 21:3 (March 1981): 35-38.

Ra, Dong-kwang. “Ch’ondogyo’s Preparation for the March First Independence Movement.” Tonghak yongu 14-15 (2003:9): 167-184.

Rauf, Maswadi. "Revolution and Persuasion: Cases of Korea and Indonesia." In Sam-il tongnip chongshin gwa pip'ongynyok undong (3-1 tongnip undong kinyomt'ap kollip mit chongbu surip 50 chunyon kinyom kukche haksul shimp'ojiom). Seoul: Kyongwon taehakkyo minjok undongsa yonguso/Sam-il tongnip undong kinyomt'ap kollip wiwonhoe, 1998).

Rhee, Seung-keun. "March 1st Movement and Its Impact on Chinese May 4th Revolution (I), (II)." Korea Journal 11:1 (January 1971): 5-19; 11:2 (February 1971): 13-17.

Sin, Sog-ku. "An Autobiography: Samil Independence Movement." Korea Journal 10:3 (March 1970): 4-6, 31.

Shin, Il-chul. "National Views of March 1 Independence Movement." In Chong-Shik Chung and Jae-Bong Ro, eds. Nationalism in Korea. Seoul: Research Center for Peace and Unification, 1979.

Shin, Yong-ha. "Re-evaluation of the Samil Independence Movement." Korea Journal 19:3 (March 1979): 4-14.

Shin, Yong-ha. "Re-evaluation of the Samil Independence Movement." In The Korean National Commission for UNESCO, ed. Main Currents of Korean Thought. Seoul: The Si-sa-yong-o-sa Publishers, Inc., 1983/Arch Cape, OR: Pace International Research, 1983.

Sinch, Ramjee. "Freedom through Non-violence." In Sam-il tongnip chongshin gwa pip'ongynyok undong (3-1 tongnip undong kinyomt'ap kollip mit chongbu surip 50 chunyon kinyom kukche haksul shimp'ojiom). Seoul: Kyongwon taehakkyo minjok undongsa yonguso/Sam-il tongnip undong kinyomt'ap kollip wiwonhoe, 1998).

Wells, Kenneth M. "Background to the March First Movement: Koreans in Japan, 1905-1919." Korean Studies 13 (1989): 5-21.

Yu, Choong-ki. "Historical Awareness of the March 1st Independence Movement in Bloody History." In Koreja. Shornik Statej. K 80-lettju so Dnja Rozhdenjia Professora Mikhala Nikolaevicha Paka. Moscow: Muravei Publishing Company, 1998.

Yu, Chun-ki. “Historical Awareness of the March 1st Independence Movement as Seen in Bloody History.” Chongshin Review 3 (February 1998): 84-98.

Additional & Online Resources

Colonial Period Korea Online, advisor: R.Koopmans-De Bruijn. (2001). Leiden and Boston: Brill, https://primarysources.brillonline.com/browse/colonialperiod-korea .

De Young, L. (2014). Newspaper clippings on the March 1st Movement,. 1919. Korean American Digital Archives. University of Southern California Digital Library.  http://digitallibrary.usc.edu/cdm/ref/collection/p15799coll126/id/21925

Deede, S.E. (2010).  Activism and Identity: How Korea’s Independence Movement shaped the Korean Immigrant Experience in America, 1905-1945.  Thesis. https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/37772614.pdf

Global look at March 1st independence movement. [90th Anniversary of March First Movement First in two-part series] (2.26.2009). Jooang Daily. http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=2901540

Hyun, P. (1987). When Korea Fought Japan: MANSEI! THE MAKING OF A KOREAN AMERICAN Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.

Japanese Rule. 1900 to 1950: A Half-Century of Crisis and Achievement.  Asia for Educators.  http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/tps/1900_ko.htm#japan

Kim, R.S. (2011). The March First Movement and the Korean provisional Government. From The Quest for Statehood: Korean Immigrant Nationalism and U.S. Sovereignty, 1905-1945.  Oxford Scholarship Online.  DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195369991.001.0001.  http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195369991.001.0001/acprof-9780195369991-chapter-3

Korean Independence Movement and Boston University.  Center for Global Christianity & Mission. School of Theology, Boston University.  http://www.bu.edu/cgcm/research/korean-diaspora-project/issues/korean-independence/

Koreans protest Japanese control in the “March 1st Movement,” 1919.  (2011). Global Nonviolent Action Database. Swarthmore University. https://nvdatabase.swarthmore.edu/content/koreans-protest-japanese-control-march-1st-movement-1919

Manela, E. (2009).  The Wilsonian Moment” in East Asia: The March First Movement in Global Perspective.  Sungkyun Journal of East Asian Studies. 9(1): 11-27.  https://scholar.harvard.edu/files/manela/files/manela_sjeas.pdf.

Masayuki, N. (2007). March 1 and May 4, 1919 in Korea, China & Japan: Toward an International History of East Asian Independence Movements. The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus. 5(10): 1-8. Retrieved from https://apjjf.org/-Nishi-Masayuki/2560/article.pdf.

McFarland, S. (2018). South Korea celebrates 99th anniversary of independence movement.   https://www.upi.com/South-Korea-celebrates-99th-anniversary-of-independence-movement/5041519931129/

Savage, T.L. (1996). The American response to the Korean Independence Movement, 1919-1945.  Korean Studies. Vol.20: 189-231.  https://www.jstor.org/stable/23719607?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

The Korean independence movement [S.l. : s.n., 1919?] Electronic reproduction. New York, N.Y. : Columbia University Libraries, 2010. JPEG use copy available via the World Wide Web. NNC. Columbia University Libraries Electronic Books. 2006. Retrieved from  http://www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb/digital/collections/cul/texts/ldpd_7705012_000/