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Posted by on Aug 15, 2009 in Korean Culture | 0 comments

Korean Liberation Day (Gwangbokjeol)

Korean Liberation Day (Gwangbokjeol)

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Photo: Courtesy of Yonhap/JoongAng Daily

Today, Koreans on both sides of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) celebrate their liberation from Japanese rule (1910-1945).

In South Korea, it is called Korean Liberation Day, or Gwangbokjeol. In the States, it is referred to as Victory in Japan Day, or VJ Day.

Because it’s a national holiday and most businesses are closed, Koreans take the opportunity to relax and spend time with family and friends. Most government buildings and homes are festively decorated with national flags. It’s also a day for grand political speeches and official commemorations.

The Blue House announced earlier this week they that President Lee Myung-bak will pardon over 1 million citizens convicted of petty crimes as part of the Liberation Day celebration. Korean political experts also expect Pres. Lee to comment on the current relationship with North Korea and the release of Hyundai employee Yu Song-jin from North Korean dentention in his annual Liberation Day speech.

Here’s to a happy Liberation Day to all!

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