This is a song composed by Kim Hyong Jik (1894-1926), an outstanding leader of the anti-Japanese national liberation movement in Korea.

The song embodies the indomitable revolutionary spirit, ardent anti-Japanese patriotic idea and the high aim for achieving national liberation cherished by Kim Hyong Jik, who devoted his whole life to the struggle to liberate his country from the military occupation by Japan (1905-1945.) The song clarifies the truth of the revolution that Korean revolutionaries must not give up their revolutionary principle however heinous and unbearable the oppression of the Japanese imperialists is, and that Korea can be liberated only through an indomitable struggle of the Korean people themselves. It also brims over with the optimistic view of the future of a liberated Korea and the revolutionary confidence in sure victory.

What is most meaningful in the song is the idea of Aim High.

This idea has nothing in common with worldly preaching about personal glory or a successful career; it implies a revolutionary outlook on life in which genuine happiness is sought in the struggle for one’s country and nation, and an unbreakable revolutionary spirit to liberate the country by fighting through the generations.

Kim Hyong Jik authored this idea while fighting to win back the independence of the country, a struggle fraught with trials and hardships, burning his heart with patriotism.

Having embarked on the road of struggle for national liberation in his early years, he visited various places at home and abroad, rallied like-minded people one by one and laid mass foundation. On the basis of this, he formed the Korean National Association on March 23, 1917.

The Korean National Association was a secret organization with the aim of achieving national independence and establishing a truly modern state through the united efforts of the Korean nation. It was the largest of the anti-Japanese underground revolutionary organizations of Korean patriots at home or abroad at that time. It drew its membership from among workers, peasants, teachers, students, soldiers (of the Independence Army), shopkeepers, religious believers and artisans—people from all walks of life. It directed great efforts to information and publicity work aimed at arousing the broad sections of the people to the anti-Japanese struggle while expanding its network. It also conducted the work of raising funds, obtaining weapons and training military cadres for an armed struggle. In the autumn of 1917 part of the organization was betrayed by a stooge of the Japanese. As a result, the Korean National Association was subjected to harsh crackdown. Many subordinate organizations were destroyed and over 100 members were arrested across the country. Kim Hyong Jik was also arrested and put behind bars until the autumn of 1918.

Even the mediaeval torture and barbarous oppression of the Japanese imperialists could not break his faith and will. When he was released from the Pyongyang gaol, he composed the song Green Pine on Nam Hill in reflection of his indomitable revolutionary mettle, ennobling idea of Aim High and confidence in the sure victory in the national liberation struggle.

Before recovering his health, he continued to follow the road of struggle for the fresh development of the anti-Japanese national liberation movement in Korea. In August 1919 he convened a meeting in Kuandian and advanced a policy of developing the anti-Japanese national liberation movement from the nationalist movement to a proletarian one. Under his leadership, the switch-over was realized in the national liberation struggle and armed activities became more brisk.

Kim Hyong Jik, who performed imperishable exploits in the anti-Japanese national liberation movement, passed away on June 5, 1926, 90 years previously, at the age of 32 owing to the aftereffects of the barbarous torture by the Japanese imperialists and serious illness he had caught during the arduous struggle.

“I am departing without attaining my aim. But I believe in you. You must not forget that you belong to the country and the people. You must win back your country at all costs even if your bones are broken and your bodies are torn apart.”

This is his last injunction to his sons at the moment of his death. Nearly a century has passed since he passed away, but his idea and spirit embodied in Green Pine on Nam Hill is still being carried forward.

Kim Il Sung (1912-1994), eternal President of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, organized and waged 20-year-long anti-Japanese revolutionary struggle with the two pistols bequeathed to him by his father Kim Hyong Jik as an asset, and finally performed historic exploit of liberating Korea. In the liberated country he established a socialist system, in which people are the masters of everything and everything serves them. Kim Jong Il (1942-2011), eternal Chairman of the National Defence Commission of the DPRK, inherited and developed the Songun idea of Kim Il Sung, the origin of which is two pistols, and by dint of his original Songun politics built the country into a military power, which any enemy, however formidable, cannot dare strike. To advance forward invariably along the road of independence, Songun and socialism with revolutionary arms in hand as the preceding leaders did—this is the indomitable faith and will of theleader of the DPRK – Kim Jong Un.

You can listen the song “Green Pine on Nam Hill” in our Music Library. Click here to listen.