KU held the Reopening Ceremony of KU History Exhibition Room at Hanma Mirae-gwan on February 18th, 2021, under the theme of “The spirit of Hanma has created a new horizon to the history of Korean universities.” On the wall of the newly renovated KU History Exhibition Room were installed a lot of panels to show the 75-year history of KU at a glance. In particular, the panels show various historical records detailing KU’s efforts to lead the growth in the fields such as politics, economy, society, and culture in the community as a cradle for fostering local talent. They also express the images of KU, which has led to peace on the Korean Peninsula and global discourse by establishing the Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES) and the University of North Korean Studies. Many prominent and authoritative people attended the event: President Park Jae kyu, Former Museum Director Lee Jongheup, Chairman of the Faculty Council Im Hyeong-jun, Chairman of the Staff Council Im Pan-ho, and President of the Student Council Kim Gi-hyeon. Naturally, the event was held in strict compliance with quarantine rules. Since its opening in 1976 for research, education, and community service, the KU Museum has consistently achieved the discovery of cultural properties and research. Then, it moved to Hanma Miraegwan with the latest facilities in 2008 to operate various exhibition rooms, sharing high-quality cultural resources with local residents and school members. It was formally registered as a museum which belongs to Gyeongsangnam-do in January 2006. It has also contributed to the development of local culture through continuous excavation surveys and local cultural studies in Gyeongsangnam-do.
● Museum collections Some of the Korean cultural properties in the Terauchi Collection of KU Museum are valuable enough to be regarded as historical events in that the properties forcibly transported overseas during the Japanese colonial era were retrieved by civilian efforts. It also keeps a variety of artifacts, including the Giwoncheop by Yu Han-Ji designated as Treasure No. 1682. KU Museum retrieved one scroll and 135 volumes of ninety-eight different book titles of collections from the Terauchi Collection in the Yamaguchi Prefectural University (then Yamaguchi Women’s University) through sisterhood relationships and academic exchanges. Thecollections are currently housed in the Terauchi Collection Exhibition Room in the KU Museum. The Terauchi Collection is a private library that Terauchi Masatake, Governor-General of Joseon at the time of Japanese colonial era, looted Korean cultural properties from 1910 to 1915 and stored them in Japan.
● Until the Terauchi Collection Revealed The Terauchi Collection became widely known by a retired civil servant, Lee Jongyeong in 1990. During his kinship meeting, he came across an article in the monthly magazine Seo Yeji that two handwritten texts by his ancestor, Haengchon Leeam, were kept in the Terauchi Collection. In response, Lee Jong-yeong went to Japan to confirm the existence of the Terauchi Collection. He could also find that huge numbers of handwritten texts related to Korea were preserved there. After returning to Korea, Lee Jong-yeong reported this to Park Yeong-seok, chairman of the National History Compilation Committee at the time. Upon hearing the news, Park Yeong-seok and other officials attempted to take back Korean cultural properties officially through the KoreaJapan Parliamentarians’ Union (KJPU) of the National Assembly and the KoreaJapan Friendship Association. Until then, however, it was hard to find an instance of returning cultural properties that had been taken out from anywhere in the world. Due to this, the return work was difficult. Just in time, KU was about to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 1996. Authorities of KU, including President Park, were having an interest in Korean cultural properties that were leaked overseas as part of the anniversary. Therefore, they decided to explore Korean relics located in Japan. Finally, President Park and his party met a member of the KJPU at Narita Airport in Japan in 1995 and heard the circumstances. KU decided to pursue the project as a means of private academic exchanges with the help of the KJPU and the Korea-Japan Friendship Association. KU negotiated with Yamaguchi Prefectural University to retrieve the Terauchi Collection. As a result, on November 11, 1995, the two universities held a ceremony to sign a memorandum to transfer part of Yamaguchi Prefectural University's Terauchi Collection to KU to promote academic exchanges. Finally, all the relics listed on the memorandum were returned to their homeland, Korea after 80 years. The Terauchi Collection was designated as Gyeongsangnam-do tangible cultural property No. 509 in 2010. KU's effort to take back the Terauchi Collection is significant in that it sets a precedent for the recovery of Korean cultural properties leaked out of the country. In addition, it provides a good opportunity to contribute a lot to academic and relational exchanges between the nations.