National Debt Repayment Movement

National Debt Repayment Movement
National Debt Repayment Movement
Hangul 국채보상운동
Hanja 國債報償運動
Revised Romanization Gukchae Bosang Undong
McCune–Reischauer Kukch'ae Posang Undong

The National Debt Repayment Movement was a movement by the people of the Korean Empire to repay their country's debt through collecting individual donations. It was started by Seo Sang-dong of Daegu on 30 January, 1907. At that time the national debt was 13 million won. At the movement's height in 1908, it had amassed 190,000 won.

The movement attracted national appeal, and many gave up their tobacco in order to help repay the national debt. Women, including the kisaeng Aengmu, took a leading role in raising funds. The Japanese Government expected for the movement to subside. However, the movement later attracted the interest of the Japanese forces, who regarded it as a dangerous expression of Korean nationalism and sought to stifle and discredit it.

This movement failed because of the Japanese orchestrating false charges against the president of the bank holding the funds.[1][2]

A large park in central Daegu is dedicated to the memory of the movement.


  • "Resident General's Office Report on Political Conditions, and a miscellenea", June 22nd, 1907 (JACAR Ref.B03041513600) and July 31st, 1907 (Ref.B03041513800).

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