MasanHappo-gu (Hangul/Hanja: 마산합포구/馬山合浦區), formerly known as Happo-gu of Masan City is a district in the Unified City of Changwon, Republic of Korea. Bordered with Goseong-Gyeongnam and Jinju City on the West, Haman County and Changwon MasanHoewon-gu on North and Changwon Seongsan-gu and Changwon Jinhae-gu on East - this district records the bleakest moment of Masan Uprising which occurred on March 15th 1960, a month before April Revolution that resulting Lee Ki-poong and his entire family committed suicide and President Syngman Rhee forced to resign. The postal codes of Changwon MasanHappo-gu start from 51251 [311 Muhak Avenue/Muhak-ro] to 51797 [756~1726 Hoejin Avenue/Hoejinno, Jinjeon-myeon].
MasanHappo-gu was previously known as Golpo Prefecture (골포현/骨浦縣) before changed its name into Happo Prefecture (합포현/合浦縣) during the 16th Reigning Year of King Gyeongdeok of Silla (757). During 8th Reigning Year of King Chungnyeol Wang Geo of Goryeo (1282), Happo Prefecture changed its name into Hoewon Prefecture (회원현/檜原縣) and its neighboring area, Uian County (의안군/義安郡) elevated its status as prefecture and changed its name into Uichang Prefecture (의창현/義昌縣). Coincidentally, three major districts of Changwon - MasanHappo, MasanHoewon and Uichang are sourced from these former Prefectures during Silla-Goryeo Timeline.
In 1408, 8th Reigning Year of King Taejong Yi Bang-won, Hoewon and Uichang Prefectures were combined into Changwon Governorate (창원부/昌原府) and five years later, this governorate elevated its status as Changwon Protectorate (창원도호부/昌原都護府). In 1604 - 34th Reigning year of King Seonjo of Joseon, it became Changwon-daedohobu (창원대도호부/昌原大都護府) or known as The Greater Changwon Protectorate.
In October 1898, the Japanese who were aiming at the control of Korea and were planning to build a railroad with its starting point at nearby Busan, began buying up land in the town; Colonel Tamura Iyozo, who was centrally involved, said the following June that "if Russia gets her hands on Masan Harbor, Japan must become useless." In May 1899 the town became a treaty port, and the Russian navy tried to buy land for its use, only to discover that the Japanese had already acquired some of the parcels they needed.
The following November, there was an ugly confrontation between Russian and Japanese seamen, and by February 1900 there was a rumor that the Russians were demanding a lease of land for military-naval use: "A large Russian squadron including the battleships Rossiya (Россия), Donskoi (Донскои), and Rurik (Рурик) sailed from Port Arthur and weighed anchor at Masampo threateningly." The Japanese cabinet insisted that Russia not acquire any site that commanded the harbors of Koje Island, and Japan placed its fleet on a war footing. The tension was lessened by a secret agreement between Russia and Japan later that year, and the war scare was finally ended with the coming of the Boxer disturbances in June.
During Japanese Imperial Period, Masan Governorate (마산부/馬山府) was formed after separated from Changwon Governorate in 1914. In 1973, Masan incorporated with Changwon County and separated again in 1980. In 1990, two districts of Masan formed which is known as Hoewon-gu and Happo-gu, taken from the historic Hoewon and Happo Prefectures until these districts dissolved in 2000. Fortunately in 2010, Masan combined with Jinhae and Changwon into Unified Changwon City and reinstated the former districts of Hoewon-gu and Happo-gu which later become as Changwon MasanHoewon-gu and Changwon MasanHappo-gu until today.
On March 15th 1960, a protest against electoral corruption took place in Masan. The protest, sparked by Democratic Party members' exposure of electoral corruption, led to about a thousand residents of Masan gathering in front of the Democratic Party Headquarters in Masan around 7:30 in the evening. As the citizens faced off against the police, the city was blacked out. The police started shooting at the people and the people responded by throwing rocks at the police.
On April 11, Kim Ju-yeol's body was found in the harbor at Masan by a fisherman. Kim had been a student at Masan Commercial High School who had disappeared during the Masan rioting of March 15. Authorities announced that an autopsy confirmed that the cause of his death was drowning, but many rejected this explanation. Some protesters forced their way into the hospital. They found that Kim's skull had been split by a 20 centimeter-long tear-gas grenade which had penetrated from Kim's eyes to the back of his head, which indicated that the police had shot the tear gas to an angle less than 45 degrees, which could be fatal if shot directly at a person's face. Rhee’s regime tried to censor news of this incident, however the story was reported by the Korean press along with a picture of Kim when his body was first found, and delivered to the world through AP. This incident shocked the nation and became the basis of a national movement against electoral corruption on April 19. Masan erupted into three days of spontaneous mass protests which led to further violent clashes.
President Rhee claimed that the Communist Party of North Korea had been behind the Masan protests trying to shift the focus. Later a National Assembly investigating committee found that the firing into the crowd by the police had not been intended to disperse the crowds, but rather to kill protesters. It was later revealed at a criminal trial that Park Jong-pyo, the Chief of Public Security who ordered firing against protesters, tied rocks on Kim Ju-yeol's dead body and threw him away into the Masan shore to prevent him floating up on the shore.
The District Office is located at 210 March 15th Boulevard/3.15-daero, Jungang-dong 3-ga 4-11 beonji with its postal code: 51736. The current District Officer is Chung Soo-hoon (unaffiliated) and Raphael Lee Joo-young (Saenuri) as the district assemblyman for 20th Session of Gukhoe (2016-2020). Changwon MasanHappo-gu consists four communes (myeon), 15 Administrative Precincts on 49 legal precincts as shown on the map below (in Hangul and Hanja).
Changwon MasanHappo-gu at Large
Downtown Changwon MasanHappo-gu