Dosan Ahn Chang Ho should be Korea's most respected patriotic historical figure. His philosophy and the way he lived his life are pure examples of sincerely serving people as a true leader. Dosan is his pen name. He chose it after seeing Hawaii for the first time from the ship he was traveling on. Dosan and his new bride Yi Hye Ryon (Helen Ahn) left Korea on their first journey to America in 1902 . "Dosan" means "island mountain". Dosan realized he was going to be on his own like an island and had to rise up strong like a mountain to lead Korea to become a modern democratic independent nation.read more
At a young age, Dosan realized weak and corrupt Korean feudalism desperately needed to be reformed to allow Korea to modernize and evolve with the Western world. Japan stole the opportunity to modernize Koreans out of Dosan's hands. The Japanese closed down the chain of bookstores, the schools, the businesses and patriotic organizations he started. Dosan whole heartedly fought the Japanese to keep their Imperialism from obliterating Korea from the face of the earth. He sacrificed the family he left in America leaving them behind. He gave up his freedom to save his people. He was arrested and held in Japanese prisons at least six different times. After his 1932 arrest, he spent four years in Taejon Prison for violating Japan's Preservation of Peace Law in Korea. He stayed true to the causes of democracy, human rights, women's rights, modern education and fair labor. He forged Korea's destiny to become a powerful independent nation of patriotic citizens.
Dosan endured countless painful experiences as a prisoner tortured in jails in Korea run by the Japanese Army. The stressful life of a freedom fighter who could be arrested by the Japanese for no reason and living in exile in his own country cut his life short. He ultimately gave his life for Korea never wavering in his commitment to serve his people.Without a doubt, Dosan's story is worth knowing in detail.
Helen Ahnis Dosan's wife. Her Korean name is Yi Hye Ryon. She came to America with Dosan in 1902. They were the first married couple to come to America from Korea. Her contribution to the Pioneer Korean community in America and her sacrifices for the Independence Movement and Korean people are more important than many people understand. Without her solid support Dosan could not have been as effective of a leader as he was. She was the center of the early Pioneer Generation community for many years. Her life was extremely difficult, but, she never gave up her love for Dosan and for Korea. Her story deserves more recognition. read more
Yi Hye Ryon - Mrs. Helen Ahn with Philip Ahn in Riverside, CA in 1907
Dosan's Mug Shot from Sodaemun Prison in 1937. Dosan was arrested in the Donguhoe Incident.
March 10 is Dosan's Death Day. He was killed by the Japanese. In 1937 the Japanese police arrested Dosan and jailed him at Sodaemun Prison in Seoul. They tortured him, as they had done many times before during his previous arrests. According to Dr. Won Tai Sohn the Japanese guards ground up glass and put it in Dosan's food to finish him off. Dosan already had internal health complications from torture. After Christmas of 1937 the Japanese realized Dosan was nearing death. They took him out of prison and put him in Seoul National Medical Hospital. The Japanese knew if Dosan died in prison that would spark patriotism and fuel anti-Japanese emotions among Koreans. He spent the last couple months of his life ailing and suffering. The Japanese would not let many people see him. They limited his visitors. Dosan finally died on March 10, 1938. After he died they buried him up in the hills of Mangwoori outside of Seoul where it was difficult for people to pay respects. The Japanese guarded the pathway to Dosan's grave.
From his early years to his last days he lived and died for Korea and its people. He loved Korea more than life and more then his family he left in California for the last time in 1926. He gave his all to be of service to Korean people and died for their Independence.
All people who have a drop of Korean blood no matter where they are were influenced and are influenced by Dosan's life. Without the sacrifice Dosan made to fight off Japanese plans to obliterate Korea - Korea and Koreans would not have its success as a nation today. All Koreans owe Dosan their respect forever.
Dosan was the most sincere Korean patriot, ever.
Dosan's last Prisoner ID Card from Sodaemun Prison in Seoul.
Dosan’s Understanding of LEADERSHIP
According to Dosan's teachings the development and support of a true leader was undoubtedly one of the most significant factors in an organization. A leader had to possess a sincere and respectable character to be a good influence on others; and, he had to display ideals he believed in by way of his own actions. In order to save Korea from Japan, Dosan believed this type of leader was the one who could lead the nation one step closer to its independence.
Starting from the Shinmin-hoe (New People’s Association) era (1906-1911) Dosan had the consistent commitment to developing capable individuals for leadership. Developing the Korean nation's future leaders can be interpreted as one of his key hopes and strategic approaches to gain independence. The role of sound leadership was the most essential component in unifying the Independence Movement forces to fight the Japanese.
Dosan did not consider a leader as one who only possessed a superior ability or a special talent. A good leader was the product of a society that demanded combining such efforts with sincerity, dedication and integrity. According to him, the leader was there because of a realistic necessity of the organization.
Furthermore, he said that there was no absolute standard to become a leader. A person could become a leader when one displayed dedicated sacrifice and sincere effort for the sake of the organization more than others did. Dosan criticized the jealous attitude of not acknowledging a leader and the arrogant behavior of not accepting a leader. He considered these two circumstances the worst hindrances for leaders in doing their jobs appropriately.
Dosan said: "Thinking there is no one with the right qualification to be a leader means the same as not understanding the principle of cooperation and not wanting to support the leader themselves". Anyone’s self-serving interests, personal relationships, acts of favoritism, or self-serving political reasons should not be of any influence when it came to electing the leader for the organization. Each member of the organization should select their leader based on cautious observation and not an opinion based on incomplete information. "Do not unmindfully put someone in the position of a leader. After carefully inspecting their central concern and real character, after accepting their quality as a leader based on examination of performance, not based on something that is believed to be true without proof, select the most capable leader."
Dosan’s Qualities of a Leader
Honesty - Practice What You Preach - Ability to Delegate - Communication - Sense of humor - Confidence
Commitment - Positive Attitude - Creativity - Ability to Inspire
Dosan.org is published by Dosan's grandson Philip Cuddy. This website is not part of the Dosan Memorial Foundation, the Hung Sa Dan or any organization using Dosan's legacy. There is no representation of any of the other Ahn family members' opinions or contribution from them.
The information represented here is what I believe is the truth.
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Do not recognize anyone as a leader based on vanity... Examine his qualities not by rumors that go around but by looking into his history and actions. »Dosan