The Korean National Association (KNA) was an anti-Japanese underground revolutionary organization formed by Kim Hyong Jik, an outstanding leader of the anti-Japanese national liberation movement in Korea, on March 23, Juche 6 (1917).
The Japanese imperialists’ military occupation of Korea in 1905 gave rise to successive popular uprisings against them in different parts of the country. But the struggle was met with suppression as it took place separately.
The Korean people also launched a campaign for reparation of national debts to Japan in order to restore their national sovereignty for over one year from February 1907. They had to pay back a loan of 13 million won which feudal Joson dynasty had received from Japan. To this end, all the Korean men gave up smoking, and the women cut down their expenses on food and sold their trinkets. Even Emperor Kojong of feudal Joson dynasty joined the campaign.
All the Koreans contributed their hard-earned pennies to pay back their national debts, but they failed to achieve their sovereign rights.
Kim Hyong Jik realized that national sovereignty could be achieved only when all the fellow countrymen turned out in the struggle with united efforts. Based on full preparations for a long period, he finally formed the KNA at Haktanggol in Pyongyang.
The KNA was aimed at achieving national independence and establishing a truly modern state through the efforts of the unified Korean nation.
The KNA admitted to its membership people from all walks of life with steadfast anti-imperialist stand.
Its manifesto stated that the association must promote the rallying of the masses and preparations for achieving Korea’s independence through the efforts of the Korean people.
As stipulated in the manifesto, the KNA members actively conducted the work of expanding their organizations and information activities for anti-Japanese struggle in different parts, collecting funds and purchasing weapons needed for armed struggle and training military cadres.
The organizational network of the KNA spread throughout Korea and even reached China, Japan and other countries. The KNA was one of the largest organizations formed by Korean patriots at home or abroad at that time.