*Sold to Malaysia in 2019
Born in 1902 in Busan, Port City of Korea, Mr. Seu Ring-Hai, had joined the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea (PGRK), established in Shanghai in 1919, at his age of 17 after his participation at the March First Independence Movement in Korea during the Japanese colonial period.
In 1920, Mr Seu was went to France by the PGRK to study French and to start independence mouvement in Europe. After 6 years of his study in France, he founded a press company called ‘Agence Korea’ in Paris. By contributing articles to the French press and others, he divulged the atrocity of Japanese colonialism in Korean peninsula and endeavored to let the europeans know about Korean culture and history.
Along with his activities as a journalist, he wrote books in French like Autour d’une vie coréenne (Around a Korean life), Miroir, cause de malheur (Mirror, cause of misfortune), etc. Publishing books and articles about Korean history and culture was also part of his independence movement activities. In 1934, he was appointed as Korean Provisional Government’s Representative to France, whereas Syngman Rhee, who became later the first president of Republic of Korea, was appointed KPGR’s Representative to the United States. So, these two people constituted the most important pillar of KPGR’s diplomatic activities in the international arena.
In 1937, Mr. Seu, at his age of 35, married Elisabeth C. Brauer, an artist from Austria, and had a son, Stefan Seo. But, because of the World War II, their marriage life didn’t last long. After Korea’s liberation in 1945, he returned to Korea finishing his 28 years living in France.
He was expected to become the first foreign minister in the new government, but there was no place for him to stand anywhere. Because, he followed Kim Gu’s political line who was a political adversary of Syngman Rhee.
After assassination of Kim Gu, having found no reason to live in the liberated Korea, Mr. Seu decided to go back to France with his newly married wife, Miss Hwang Soon-jo, a school teacher of 20 years younger than him, arrived in Shanghai in 1948 as a stopover to France. Another misfortune came to the new couple. During their stay in Shanghai, China became communist country.
Seu Ring-Hai, who didn’t have a Korean passport couldn’t join his wife’s returning to Korea. Thus, their marriage, which is less than two years, was over. Since then, they never met again. His whereabouts is still a mystery. Somebody says, he lived in the North Korea and finished his life over there. But there is no solid evidence.
As an icon of exile, Mr. Seu is still wandering around us wanting to be known as a great independence activist who loved his country and his people. This book could be served as a requiem for his lonely life during 28 years abroad and after his missing in Shanghai.