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July 2003

Changing Sides

Korea wasn't yet split in two when its former minister of war, Yun Ung-ryeol, center, was photographed with his family around 1910—the same year Japan began its 35-year occupation of the country. But political upheaval still divided the nation, and would soon tear the Yun family apart. Ung-ryeol's son Yun Chi-ho, standing, became an advocate of Korean sovereignty. After being arrested by the Japanese on false charges in 1911 and serving four hard years in prison, he chose to remain silent on the subject of foreign rule. Then in the late 1930s Yun Chi-ho was persuaded—some say coerced—to make speeches praising Tokyo's leadership, even as its grip tightened on Korea before World War II. Now many remember the once fervent nationalist as a collaborator.
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Photograph courtesy Underwood & Underwood