Empress Myeongseong, popularly known as ‘Queen Min,’ was assassinated by Japanese agents on October 8, 1895.  Myeongseong was 43 years old at the time of her demise. The plot to kill the empress was masterminded by Miura Goro, the then Japanese minister to Korea. The Russian ministry of foreign affairs kept the records on the assassin and revealed them publicly in 2001.

The Assassination of Empress Myeongseong

The records included a testimony provided by King Gojong, as well as several accounts given by witnesses to the killing. Also, the documents comprised of a report sent to Lobanov-Rostovsky by Karl Ivanovich Weber. Back then, Lobanov-Rostovsky was the foreign minister of Russia, while Karl was a diplomat at the Russian embassy in Seoul.  According to the account of Seredin-Sabatin, a Russian eyewitness, several Japanese agents and servicemen from the Hullyeondae army went into the royal palace and killed Queen Min. Afterwards, the assassins defiled the corpse in the north wing of the palace. The witness was an employee of the King of Korea.

After the killing of the Empress, the father of King Gojong, Daewongun, returned to the palace. Later on, King Gojong abandoned the Gyeongbokgung palace for the Russian consulate on Seoul. The king governed the Korean empire form the Russian embassy for almost a year. This period is referred to as the Korean royal refuge at the Russian legation.

 

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