Liberation Day in Korea Date in the current year: August 15, 2016

Liberation Day in Korea One of the few things that North and South Korea have in common is Liberation Day. It is a public holiday that commemorates the liberation of Korea from Japanese colonial rule on August 15, 1945.

Japan established its protectorate over the Korean Empire in 1905 following the victory of Japan in the Russo-Japanese War. Five years later, Japan officially annexed Korea, making it an integral part of the Empire of Japan. On the one hand, Japan brought industrialization and modernization to Korea, on the other hand, the colonial authorities repressed local culture and traditions.

On August 15, 1945, Japan announced its surrender in WWII. Korea became independent and was divided into two occupation zones along the 38th parallel. In 1948, two independent Korean governments were created.

The anniversary of Japan's surrender is celebrated as a public holiday in both North and South Korea. In South Korea, it is known as Gwangbokjeol (literally “Restoration of Light Day”), while in North Korea it is called Jogukhaebangui nal (“Liberation of Fatherland Day”).

National Liberation Day of Korea is celebrated with official public ceremonies. In South Korea, the government traditionally issues special pardons on the occasion.

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