The Kabo Peasants’ War was a nationwide peasants’ war in 1894, the Year of the Horse.
Jong Un Myong, Researcher of the History Institute of the Academy of Social Sciences, says:
“The Kabo Peasants’ War was a massive struggle of the Korean people against the feudal rulers and foreign aggressors. Involved in the war were not only peasants but also many other people of various circles, patriotic noblemen and Confucians, officials and soldiers of the government army.
The war was a large-scale peasants’ war rare to be seen in the history of Korea. It showed the ardent patriotic spirit, strong fighting mettle, bravery, self-sacrificing spirit and national unity of the Korean people.”
In February 1894, peasants in Kobu of Jolla Province, under the command of Jon Pong Jun, raised a riot against the unreasonable exaction of water tax and it developed into a large-scale peasants’ war shaking the whole country.
The peasant soldiers as an organized rank advanced into Jonju, the centre of Jolla Province, and won a victory by defeating the government army. Unable to repress the peasant soldiers, the feudal rulers made peace with them in Jonju and accepted their 12-point demands. As a result, the peasants’ war ceased for a while.
But the country stood at the crossroads of life and death by the evermore undisguised armed intervention of the Japanese aggressors and the peasant soldiers rose up in the struggle again.
The main force of the peasant soldiers attacked Kongju, the strongpoint for the “punitive” operations of the Japanese aggressor army. The nearly 20-day Kongju battle was very fierce. The peasant soldiers fought in a self-sacrificing way, bravely dashing forward even in the shower of the enemy’s bullets.
The peasant soldiers dealt heavy blows at the Japanese aggressor army everywhere in the country before and after the Kongju battle.
But they were faced with a danger due to the treacherous act of the corrupt and incompetent feudal rulers.
Even the general commander Jon Pong Jun was arrested by a renegade and after all, the peasant soldiers were dispersed.
The Kabo Peasants’ War left the lesson that it is impossible to win a victory in the struggle without correct strategy and tactics and unified leadership. Afterwards, the war gave a great influence to the development of the anti-feudal and anti-aggressive struggle of the Korean people.