As A Peace-Loving Global Citizen: Episode 14

As A Peace-Loving Global Citizen: An Autobiography by Rev. Sun Myung Moon
Chapter 2: My Heart Flows With a River of Tears
Like a Fireball Burning Hot, pg 49-51

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Like a Fireball Burning Hot 

After graduating from the Kyeongsung Institute in 1942, I traveled to Japan to continue my studies. I went because I felt that I needed to have exact knowledge about Japan. On the train to Busan, I couldn’t stop the tears from flowing. I covered myself with my coat and cried out loud. My nose ran and my face swelled up, I cried so much. It grieved me to think that I was leaving my country behind as it suffered under the yoke of colonial rule. I looked out the window as I wept, and I could see that the hills and rivers were weeping even more sorrowfully than I was. I saw with my own eyes the tears flowing from the grass and trees. Upon seeing this vision, I said, “I promise to the hills and streams of my homeland that I will return, carrying with me the liberation of my homeland. So don’t cry, but wait for me.”

I boarded the Busan-to-Shimonoseki ferry at two o’clock in the morning on April 1. There was a strong wind that night, but I could not leave the deck. I stayed there watching as the lights of Busan became more and more distant. I stayed on deck until morning. On arriving in Tokyo, I entered Waseda Koutou Kougakko, a technical engineering school affiliated with Waseda University. I studied in the Electrical Engineering Department. I chose electrical engineering because I felt I could not establish a new religious philosophy without knowing modern engineering.

The invisible world of mathematics has something in common with religion. To do something great, a person needs to excel in powers of reasoning. Perhaps because of my large head, I was good at mathematics that others found difficult, and I enjoyed studying it. My head was so large it was difficult for me to find hats that fit. I had to go to the factory twice to have a hat tailor-made for me. The size of my head may also have something to do with my ability to focus on something and finish relatively quickly what might take others several years to complete.

During my studies in Japan, I peppered my teachers with questions, just as I had in Korea. Once I began asking questions, I would continue and continue. Some teachers would pretend not to see me and simply ignore me when I asked, “What do you think about this?” If I had any doubts about something, I couldn’t be satisfied until I had pursued the matter all the way to the root. I wasn’t deliberately trying to embarrass my teachers. I felt that if I were going to study a subject I should study it completely.

On my desk in the boarding house, I always had three Bibles lying open side by side. One was in Korean, one in Japanese, and one in English. I would read the same passages in three languages again and again. Each time I read a passage, I would underline verses and make notes in the margins until the pages of my Bibles became stained with black ink and difficult to read.

Soon after school began, I attended an event held by the Association of Korean Students to welcome new students from our country. There I sang a song from our homeland with great fervor, showing everyone my love for my country. The Japanese police were in attendance, and this was a time when Koreans were expected to assimilate themselves into Japanese culture. Nonetheless, I sang the Korean song with pride. Duk Mun Eom, who had entered the Department of Architectural Engineering that year, was deeply moved to hear me sing this song, and we became lifelong friends.

During this time, Korean students who were enrolled in various schools in the Tokyo area had formed an underground independence movement. This was only natural, as our homeland was groaning in agony under Japanese colonial rule.

The movement grew in response to what the Japanese called “the Great East Asian War (1937–1945). As the war intensified, Tokyo began conscripting Korean students as “student soldiers” and sending them to the front. The work of the underground independence movement was spurred on by such moves. We had extensive debates on what to do about Hirohito, the Japanese emperor. I took on a major position in the movement. It involved working in close relationship with the Republic of Korea Provisional Government, located in Shanghai and headed by Kim Gu. My responsibilities in this position could have required me to give up my life. I did not hesitate, though, because I felt that, if I died, it would have been for a righteous cause.

There was a police station beside Waseda University. The Japanese police got wind of my work and kept a sharp eye on me. The police always knew when I was about to return home to Korea during school vacation and would follow me to the dock to make sure I left. I cannot even remember the number of times I was taken into custody by the police, beaten, tortured, and locked in a cell. Even under the worst torture, however, I refused to give them the information they sought.

The more they beat me, the bolder I became. Once I had a fight on the Yotsugawa Bridge with police who were chasing me. I ripped out a piece of the bridge railing and used it as a weapon in the fight. In those days, I was a ball of fire.

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