Kim Gu (Hangul:김구, 1876–1949) was a Korean independence activist and politician. He was the President of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea three times. Kim was the 6th, 12th, and 13th (and final) president. He was the leader of the Korean independence movement against Japanese Imperialism and a reunification activist. Kim was also called Baekbeom. It was his pen name. He is a well respected person to many Korean people. Prime Minister 1921 to 1927 and Interior Minister of Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea 1923 to 1924.
Kim was born in Hwanghae, Korea in 1876. At the age of 15, he studied the Chinese language. (한학; 漢學). In 1893, he joined the Donghak movement. He became the regional leader for Haeju. The next year, while he was leading the Donghak Peasant Revolution, he went to Manchuria to escape from Japanese soldiers. In 1896, he returned to Korea and killed Josuke Tsuchida, a Japanese soldier. He killed Tsuchida as revenge for the 1895 assassination of Empress Myeongseong of the Korean Empire. Empress Myeongseong was killed by Miura Goro, a Japanese assassin.
After the March 1st Movement in 1919, Kim Gu exiled himself to Shanghai, China. He joined the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea. From that time, he started fighting against Japanese Imperialism. He wanted independence for Korea. He organized the Korea Patriotic Legion. It was a nationalist group. He told Yoon Bong-Gil to bomb the ceremony for the Emperor's birthday at Hongkeou Park in Shanghai. Also, he had Lee Bong-chang try to kill the Japanese Emperor Hirohito in Tokyo. This ended up with failure. Kim also created the Korean Liberation Army. He was re-elected several times as the leader of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea.
After the independence of Korea on 15 August 1945, he came back to Seoul. He worked as a right-wing politician with Lee Seung Man and Kim Kyu-sik. He tried to prevent the division of the Korean peninsula. In 1948, he tried to stop South Korea’s national election and to start negotiations between South and North Korea. This failed.
In 1949, Kim was assassinated by a Korean soldier, Ahn Doo-hee. Ahn was later killed by a taxi driver. Many people think there must have been a conspiracy. It is not known if this is true. In 1962, he was awarded the Republic of Korea Medal of Order of Merit for National Foundation. He wrote Baekbeomilji (Journal of Baekbeom). It is his autobiography. It is important both historically and educationally.
- Autobiography, 《Dowaesilki》(도왜실기, 1932)
- 《Baikbumilji》(백범일지, 1947)