Koihime Musou Girls and Korean Patriots, Part II: Tian Feng and Jug-am Jeon Myeong-woon a.k.a Mack Fields (1884-1947) - Shy and Quiet Korean Patriot


Jeon Myeong-woon (Hangul/Hanja: 전명운/田明雲; Born: June 25th 1884 in Seoul Jongno-gu, Republic of Korea - Died: November 19th 1947 in Los Angeles, California, USA), known with his pen name of Jug-am (죽암/竹嵒) and Anglicised name of Mack Fields was a Korean independence activist. Mack Fields is a member of Damyang Jeon Clan (담양 전씨/潭陽田氏), a clan which is originated from Damyang County, Southern Jeolla Province. According to the Great Genealogy of Damyang Jeon Clan (담양전씨대동보/潭陽田氏大同譜/Damyang Jeon-ssi Daedongbo), he is the 27th Generation-Descendant of Duke of Gyeong-eun, Jeon Jo-saeng (경은공 전조생/耕隱公 田祖生; 1318-1392), scholar of Goryeo Dynasty who is the progenitor of Damyang Jeon Clan, Gyeong-eun Branch.

Born as the son of Jeon Sung-keun (전성근/田聖根), he is best known along with Jang In-hwan for his role in the 1908 assassination of Durham Stevens, a former American diplomat in Japan who was later appointed as an advisor to the Joseon Dynasty government.

Jeon was a member of the Dongnip Hyeophoe (독립협회/獨立協會), a Korean American association in the Bay Area. In March 1908, infuriated by Stevens' remarks claiming that common people in Korea welcomed the increasing Japanese influence in their country, the Dongnip Hyeophoe held a joint meeting with the Daedong Bogukhoe (대동보국회/大同保國會), another local association of Koreans of which Jang was a member. In a 1974 interview, Yang Ju-eun, a fellow attendee of that meeting, remembered that Jeon had a reputation in the community as a man of action, in contrast to Jang, whom he described as a "quiet and shy Christian gentleman".

On March 23rd 1908, Jeon and Jang approached Stevens at the Port of San Francisco as he prepared to embark on a ship bound for Washington, D.C. Jeon attempted to fire his revolver at Stevens but his gun, which was wrapped in a handkerchief, would not fire. Jeon then rushed at Stevens and used his weapon as a club to hit Stevens in the face. Jeon then ran off and was pursued by Stevens. Jang then fired at Stevens, the first bullet hit Jeon and two others struck Stevens in the back. The crowd which had gathered urged that they be lynched on the spot; Jang was arrested and held without bail on a charge of murder, while Jeon was sent to the hospital for treatment.

After the death of Stevens in hospital, Jeon provided a written statement in Korean detailing his reasons for the attack on Stevens, in which he asserted that Stevens had betrayed the trust of Koreans who "looked to him, as an American, for justice" and expressed his willingness to die in order to express his anger at Stevens' alleged falsehoods about the Korean peoples' condition under Japanese rule. The statement was translated and first printed by the San Francisco Call. There was insufficient evidence to prove that Jeon and Jang had conspired with each other; Jeon was still charged with attempted assassination, but eventually acquitted.

Jeon was died on November 19th 1947 in Los Angeles, California because of heart disease - leaving his widow, Cho Soon-hee and two daughters: Jeon Kyung-sook and Jeon Kyung-youngHe was posthumously awarded the President's Medal of the Order of Merit for National Foundation (건국훈장 대통령장/建國勳章 大統領章/Geon-guk Hunjang Daetongnyeong-jang - 2nd Class) by South Korea's Ministry of Patriots' and Veterans' Affairs in 1962. In April 1994, Jeon's remains was repatriated to Seoul National Cemetery at Dongjak-dong, Seoul Dongjak-gu from Calvary Catholic Cemetery and reburied at the Patriots Section.

The graffiti inscripted Jeon Myeong-woon's name in Old Korean and his Anglicised name at
Holly Street Bridge, Pasadena, California, USA (well, this is incorrect Hangul usage for his name)

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