Sources: “The Old Joseon we have learnt about is fake”


Kim Un-hoe 김운회. 2012: 우리가 배운 고조선은 가짜다: 한국고대사 천 년의 패러다임은 넘어 (The Old Joseon we have learnt about is fake: going beyond the thousand year paradigm of ancient Korean history). Gyeonggi-do Goyang: Wisdom House

Abbreviations: K. = Korean, Ch. = modern Mandarin Chinese, lit. = literal meaning


Forward: A country is like the body, history is like the soul
Prologue: Writing a new history of Old Joseon (古朝鮮)

Chapter 1: The Liao (遼) dynasty, the successor to Old Joseon
1. Old Joseon and the Liao dynasty
2. The original form of the people’s myth, the myth of Tanshihuai (檀石槐)
3. Old Joseon and the Dongho (東胡)

Chapter 2: A thousand-year-old myth, the myth of Dan’gun
1. The appearance of the Dan’gun myth
2. The Dan’gun myth as a political ideology
3. Reevaluating [lit. re-illuminating] the Dan’gun myth

Chapter 3: The mad wind [광풍, ie ‘mania’] of Gi Ja (箕子) that blew across the Joseon dynasty
1. Gija, becoming the king of Joseon
2. “The Yin (殷) dynasty was a barbarian country”
3. The downfall of Dan’gun, restoration (부흥) of Gija

Chapter 4: The real nature of Gi Ja Joseon
1. The theory of Gi Ja coming to the east and Guzhuguo (孤竹國)
2. The new meaning of Gi Ja Joseon

Chapter 5: Old Joseon during the Spring and Autumn period
1. The Ye (濊), Maek (貊) and Old Joseon
2. Old Joseon, a powerful state of the Spring and Autumn period

Chapter 6: Sushen (肅愼 K. Suksin), the root of Old Joseon
1. Shandong was the Eastern barbarian (東夷) land
2. The Sushen and the Korean peninsula
3. Sushen, the root of Koreans

Chapter 7: The Malgal (靺鞨 Ch. Mohe) who appeared in Seoul
1. Malgal who appear in the Samguk-sagi (三國史記)
2. The Yemaek and the Malgal

Chapter 8: Old Joseon during the Qin and Han dynasties
1. Wi Man (衛滿), the mystery of Old Joseon
2. The forbidden game
3. A thousand-year-old kingdom disappears

Chapter 9: In search of Joseon
1. Various names relating to Joseon
2. Alternative opinions about Joseon
3. Another different Jushin

Chapter 10: The descendents of Old Joseon 1 – Goguryeo
1. The remnants of Old Joseon, the Zhu/Zou (鄒); the beginning of Goguryeo’s establishment on the former territory of Guzhuguo
2. Altai, the root of Goguryeo

Chapter 11: The descendents of Old Joseon 2 – Xianbei
1. The descendents of Old Joseon, Xianbei Wuhuan (鮮卑烏桓)
2. Old Joseon, the continuous resurrection

Chapter 12: Hongshan (紅山) hiding within Asadal
1. In search of Asadal
2. The culture of holy mountain worship amongst the pan-Altai people
3. The true nature of ancient Eastern barbarian civilization, the Hongshan culture
4. The changing history of Mount Baekdu: replace Baekdu with Taebaek

Appendix 1: The Tungus, the root of the bear-woman (웅녀)
1. Tungus, a name lost in a labyrinth
2. Introduction to the Tungus
3. The spirit and cultural characteristic of the Tungus: centering on shamanism

Appendix 2: Detailed analysis of Chapter 1 – contentious points [concerning] Old Joseon
1. The Paesu river (浿水)
2. The Dongho (東胡)
3. Wanggeom-seong (王險城 왕험성), Xiandu (險瀆 K. Heomdok)

Appendix 3: Detailed analysis of Chapter 10, 1 – Goguryeo and the Korean route
1. The three routes
2. The Gaoli (高麗, Goguryeo) route
3. Altai, the homeland of Koreans’ hearts [‘spiritual homeland’]

Appendix 4: Detailed analysis of Chapter 10, 2 – The meaning of ‘Goguryeo’
1. Gaoli were the predecessors to Ghengis Khan
2. The most universal meaning of Gaoli
3. Madam Yuhwa (柳花) and belief in holy trees
4. The various meanings of Gaoli

The following are direct translations of a selection of the more representative sections from this book.  The English reflects the structure and phrasing of the original Korean at the expense of fluidity.  In written Korean repetition of vocabulary and tautologies are more natural than in English but still, it can be a tedious style and is notably combined with ambiguous phrasing whenever the content becomes less reasoned or substantiated.  Text in square brackets is vocabulary added by myself; English text in parenthesis are part of the original translated source whilst the Chinese characters and Korean text are largely added by myself (Chinese characters are sometimes included in the original text alongside the hangul but I have not differentiated between those and where I have added them myself).  The numbers preceded by an ‘N’ in square brackets indicate the position of endnotes in the original text though I’ve only translated the more interesting ones, their numbers highlighted in bold.  The book itself has no bibliography but some references (not all) are given in the notes; I hope to add a bibliography based on these.

Prologue: Writing a New History of Old Joseon

Due to China’s Northeast Project (東北工程) the common logic of China is being globalized and consequently the ethnic identity of the Korean people is imperiled. In particular, as the Liao River civilization which is older than the Yellow River civilization has come to the fore, China has schemed to artificially (억지로) incorporate it [into its official historiography] as the origin of Chinese civilization; the [history of the] entire regions of Manchuria and Mongolia is thus being revised with the Han Chinese as the central [protagonists]. However, historical facts are continuously demonstrating that the history of this region was in actuality unrelated to the Han and directly related to the [so-called] Eastern barbarians (東夷族), namely the Manchus, Mongols and Koreans.

We [Koreans] view Old Joseon as the dawn of our history. However, compared to the great amount that is known about Old Joseon, instances when sources are insufficient are rare [sic this is surely a mistake!] To speak of the extreme, previous to the 3rd century BC the only record is from the Weilüe (魏略) quoted in the Sanguozhi (山國志), “As Zhou diminished, Yan named its own king and attacked eastwards whereupon the Lord of Chaoxian/Joseon (朝鮮候) also declared himself king.” The Shiji (史記), too, has no record on the origin of Joseon but only concerning the war with the Han military and so [as an objective source] is extremely suspect. In spite of this, there has in the meantime been more research on Old Joseon than can be counted. [But] this research is invariably based either on extreme Sinocism (小中華思想 ‘believing oneself to be a “little China”‘) or a [Korean] nationalistic (國粹主義) viewpoint and so historical distortions are severe and we have been unable to attain a historical awareness from any larger dimension.

The history of Old Joseon is based around an expansive territory which extended from the vicinity of modern Beijing across Liaoxi and Liaodong to the Korean peninsula. This region was at once the ‘hub’ (허브) for the northern peoples and a place of continuous realignments [of alliances] as well as the border between nomads and farmers and as a consequence there are a large number of debates concerning the history of Old Joseon. And, following the collapse of Old Joseon, whilst its territory was divided between Goguryeo and the Xianbei its history, too, split into two main branches. One part headed west towards the Chinese continent, the other went to the Korean peninsula and Japan.

[Modern] Korean awareness and understanding of Old Joseon’s history follows two main trends. One could be termed the ‘unofficial school’ of history (在野史學): based on an expanded interpretation of the Dan’gun myth for which there is no historical evidence, they group the Xianbei and Goguryeo as one and consider them to have been the rulers of the continent [but] ancestors [only] to Koreans on the modern Korean peninsula. The other is the ‘conservative school’ of history (保守史學): they understand the history of Old Joseon to be centered on the Korean peninsula [but] because they strictly exclude the Xianbei as descendents of Old Joseon they make its history incomplete.

Both the unofficial and conservative schools have the point in common that their awareness of Old Joseon’s history is incomplete. The perspective of the unofficial school has the fatal weak point that it is impossible to prove through historical facts [whilst] the perspective of the conservative school has the problem that it takes only a part of Old Joseon’s long and expansive history and tries to claim this history on the Korean peninsula as Old Joseon’s entire history. In particular, the unofficial school has a tendency to focus only on unearthing sources which demonstrate the wide reach of Old Joseon’s strength in order to conceal [their] methodology which is deficient in historical reality (역사적 실체). They do not hesitate to make the historical distortion [claiming] that ‘[the people of] Old Joseon were the rulers of the continent’ [but] only peninsula Koreans are [now] their ancestors. On the other hand, the conservative school, ignoring the historical reality of Old Joseon arm themselves with the logic that peninsula Koreans were the only group [of other people] to resemble Chinese whilst the rest were barbarians of no relation to us [Koreans]; they comprehend as Korean history only a half fragment excluding the northern peoples who [also?] existed expansively in the central and southern part of the Korean peninsula. It is time to sift through and arrange what is correct and wrong [from these arguments]. This book has been written with this objective.

More than anything, history must be grounded on historical facts. The northern peoples of Manchuria are faced with the prospect of extinction and their identity is being shaken, but [only] their history will not disappear. Although Manchus and Mongols have been the leading protagonists throughout the greater part of East Asian history and were rulers of the Chinese continent, their identity is disappearing on account of the Chinese government’s relentless [lit. ‘stubborn’] [revisionist] history projects. In this reality, Koreans of the Korean peninsula must not allow all of these peoples’ history to become Chinese history, nor should [Koreans] take everything and regard it only as Korean peninsula history. During the long history of East Asia, the descendants of Old Joseon have been the rulers of the continent (Xianbei); with the Korean peninsula and Japan at the centre (Buyeo) they have played a new role in the development and balance of East Asia and have [now] become a 21st century ‘digital’ global ‘hub’ and ‘technology leader’.

On a foundation understanding and recognizing about history based on these kinds of facts, the next task is to research in what fashion the descendants of Old Joseon branched out and how they came to form the international relationships of East Asia whilst cooperating with one another. This is what could be termed research on the history of Eastern barbarian (東夷) relations. Looking from a broad perspective (범주 lit. ‘category’), as the peoples who thrived across Altai, Mongolia, Manchuria and the Korean peninsula their languages, blood ties and cultural similarities are strongly apparent; they can thus be understood as the same related group (계열) and consequently they were classified in the voluminous Chinese histories as Eastern barbarians. Amongst these Eastern barbarians, the Xianbei (鮮卑) and Sushen (肅愼) took the stage as rulers of the Chinese continent [even] after the Sui-Tang period.

Before [the people of] Old Joseon appeared in the histories as Eastern barbarians, they had already often appeared in them. Of course, these records [of them] were very superficial and short and so they have the problem that there can [always] be multiple interpretations. [But] what is clear is the point that Old Joseon and ‘Kori’ (코리국, 高麗 Gaoli) had already appeared as representative kingdoms of the Eastern barbarians. Consequently it can be said that the countries which form the basis of Eastern barbarian history are Old Joseon and Kori. And, although there are instances of these two countries being clearly divided [from one another], as representative states of the northern people, most of the time they existed in a manner mixed together (혼재하다) [whilst] remnants [of former configurations] would unite and establish new states.

Having now examined the history of Old Joseon from [both] a wider perspective and more objectively, we [can] expect [this to provide us with] a new chance to more concretely examine in what form and what influence our ancient ancestors had on world history, in what manner they branched out establishing new states, and further, what the history was of their descendants. Properly illuminating this history, whilst on one hand [helps to] confront the provocation of Chinese historiography, on the other, it [provides] an opportunity to physically realise (구현하다) a new ethnic identity from a larger dimension through the rediscovery of a people (민족).  This is the best spiritual gift our generation can give to [our own] descendants.  [That’s what it said!]

Chapter 7, section 2: The Yemaek and Malgal

Let us consider from another angle how ‘Suksin’ (肅愼 Ch. Sushen) is another term for ‘Joseon’ (朝鮮).

Firstly, it has continuously been noted [throughout the book so far] that Suksin, who were predecessors (先民族) to the Malgal, is a variant pronunciation (轉音) for Joseon. That is to say, the Joseon and Suksin were originally the same people but because different characters were used to denote them, they came to appear distinct.

Secondly, in modern Korean language, ‘Malgal’ who were the predecessors of the Jurchen (여진) and ‘Yemaek’ who were predecessors of Koreans, appear as greatly different words but it is thought that because they were words expressed by borrowing [characters for their] phonetic values, they in fact denote the same [original] word. This is thought to be a word meaning Bal-jok (發族), Maek-jok (貊族) etc which precisely symbolized the brightness of the sun.

That is to say, the deduced pronunciation of the ‘maek’ of Yemaek is or whilst the pronunciation of ‘malgal’ is mòhé meaning there is a high probability that ‘Malgal’ and ‘Yemaek’ express the same thing or that they are variant pronunciations. When Yemaek is written backwards as Maeg’ye (貊濊), it is thought that this pronunciation, too, would have been mòhé and so the relationship that ‘Yemaek=Maeg’ye=Malgal’ etc is established. [N 134]

Malgal and Yemaek were words written with [characters for their] borrowed phonetic values, the individual meanings of the characters should be ignored. Thus such words as bak (亳), baek (白), bal (發), maek and mak [{sic } mal ] do not carry the meaning of their characters such as ‘socks’ (靺:버선), ‘leather’ (鞨:가죽), ‘night soil’ (濊:똥오물) or ‘leopard cat’ (貊:살쾡이), but rather denote 밝(다) bak(dda) or 붉(다) buk(dda) which was the native word (고유어) of ancient Koreans meaning the brightness of the sun. According to Mencius (孟子), the maek of Maek-jok was the same as baek (白), bak (亳) and bak (薄) which were vocabulary native to the region of northeastern China; and that it could be deciphered as bakgo (薄姑) bright ‘bakdda’ (明:밝다) or ‘bakggo’ (밝고). [N 135] Also in the Shanhaijing (山海經) it states, “The character maek original meant ‘to be chief’ or ‘to make something white’ (i.e. bright 밝게).” [N 136] This is something that can be easily comprehended by Mongolians, Manchus, Koreans or Japanese but for Han Chinese is hard to appreciate. [N 137]

Thirdly, the territory of Suksin is a duplication of the territories of Old Joseon and the Dongho. As examined in the previous chapter, taking a different perspective, this can also be understood through [considering] the process of the appearance of the Wùji (勿吉 mulgil) who were descendants of the Malgal. That is to say, during the Balhae period, a branch of the Suksin first designated the Wùji based around Makhilbu (鄚頡部). Makhilbu, which denoted the Wùji, appears in circa 5th century sources. The problem is the location of Makhilbu which designated the Wùji earliest is thought to be Changtu County (昌圖縣) of Liaoning Province (遼寧省). This Makhilbu, having been established by Goguryeo and inherited by Balhae, was the former territory of both Old Joseon and Dongho. [N 138] The Manzhou Yuanliu-kao (滿洲源流考) tells us that, having emerged from the Suksin, the pronunciation of ‘Jurchen’ – the people who founded the Qing dynasty – was Jushin (珠申 쥬신); the Chinese (漢語) pronunciation of Wùji resembled that of Woju (沃沮 Okjeo) and [so] Wùji was derived from Woju. Ultimately this demonstrates that inhabitants of the Korean peninsula and [continental] Manchuria were one and the same.

On this point, when naming the ancient peoples, henceforth we must restrain ourselves as much as possible from [using] the modern Korean pronunciations of characters. This is because the [modern Korean] pronunciation is quite distant from the Chinese pronunciation and makes analysis of the peoples even more ambiguous. Looking [only] at the pronunciation of characters used in Korea today it would be impossible to find the commonality between Malgal and Yemaek. It would be difficult to consider that there could be a relation between Mulgil (勿吉) and Okjeo. And further, it would be entirely impossible to grasp the relation between [Japanese] Wae (倭 wa) and Mulgil (wuji, waji).

Something still more important is that around the time ‘Malgal’ began to appear [as a term], the word ‘Yemaek’ became hidden. Coming to the period of the Jinshu (晉書), the Yemaek became hidden from Chinese history books. Considering it is not possible for the numerous Yemaek to have suddenly evaporated, this people must have changed their name. Consequently Malgal can be seen as a term [denoting] not only Old Joseon, Buyeo and Goguryeo but also most of the peoples [inhabiting] the northern half of the Korean peninsula. Just for reference, they later reappear under the name of Jurchen.

Fourthly, the Hanshu (漢書) records that whilst being in northeastern China the Maek-jok were also in the region of the Samhan. This means that Maek was used as a general term for all peoples included within the Korean peninsula and so the Malgal were naturally [considered] a part of the Maek. As a concrete example, in the commentary of the Hanshu passage The Maek and Yan (燕) sent valiant mounted warriors to help the Han, [139] it states, “The Maek are in the northeast (of Han), all classed as Samhan are Maek, the pronunciation is balk (밝) or mak (in the original text makgaek 莫客).” [140] This ‘Makgaek’ [referred to] here concerns the pronunciation of ‘Maek’ in Chinese characters, in modern [Mandarin] pronunciation it basically becomes mòké, and so it can be thought of as a variation of mòhé [meaning] Malgal and is considered to be in between the pronunciation of balk (밝) and maek (맥).

Fifthly, in the Samguk-sagi Goguryeo mostly mobilizes Malgal soldiers to attack Baekje (peninsula Buyeo) but in the Chinese histories Goguryeo [is recorded] as mostly mobilizing Yemaek. If one has the preconception that the Yemaek were on the Korean peninsula and Malgal in Liaoxi (遼西) and Liaodong then this makes no sense at all. Further, the Samguk-sagi records that whilst attacking the [lower central peninsula] region of modern Chungju (North Chungcheong province), some 6,000 Yemaek were mobilized. [N141] This could be further proof that ‘Malgal=Yemaek’.

For example, in the Hou Hanshu (後漢書) it records, “Leading armies of Yemaek and Mahan, Goguryeo king Gung surrounded Hyeondo-seong fortress [aka Xuantu Han Commandery]. The Buyeo king sent his son Wigutae and more than twenty-thousand men who, together with the regional (州郡) armies, smashed [the Goguryeo army]…. Later on Goguryeo king Gung’s son died and his grandson, Baekgo (伯固) became king, whereupon the Yemaek were subjugated [or became submissive].” [N142] Looking at this, we can learn that Goguryeo was originally [composed of] Yemaek and that they conducted warfare together. The Sanguozhi (三國志) too records, “Gongsun Yuan (公孫淵) once dared to disobey a royal command… Together with Goguryeo and the Yemaek, Gongsun Yuan engaged in banditry and pillaging.” [N143] Here too, Goguryeo and Yemaek are depicted as trying to attack Wei (魏). Thus in the records above, it is made apparent that Yemaek=Goguryeo people and Malgal=Goguryeo people; ‘Yemaek’ and ‘Malgal’ are words which, as general terms for Dong’i-jok [東夷族 Eastern barbarians], appear to be used interchangeably. Of course these words appear differently according to different periods and books.

If we examine the above contents, there is absolutely no reason for the Malgal to have been excluded from an active historical identity (주체) in Korean history. The largest and most central problem concerning the Malgal and Goguryeo is the complete absence of sources [that could] concretely explain the relationship between the two. This [might] allow us to interpret the Malgal as the main class of Goguryeo people. This is because, if ‘Malgal’ itself has the same meaning as ‘Yemaek’ then there would be no need to [further] explain it.

In this way, because Korean academic historians have actively excluded the widespread Malgal who appeared on the Korea peninsula from being [considered] Korean, they have made the concept of ‘Korean people’ still more obscure; whilst getting caught in the self-contradiction of saying that the peninsula Malgal and [continental] Manchurian Malgal were different [groups], [attempts to] analyze the origins of the Korean people (한민족) within the peninsula have become trapped in a labyrinth. Fortunately, research claiming the Malgal as a regional group (지방민) of Goguryeo is recently being published by one or two scholars. [Gives no reference.]

In the [Chinese] Northeast Project (東北工程, a project to erase Northeast Asian history), these Malgal have an important meaning. This is because they are directly related to the question of Balhae. Korea is still in a situation where Malgal are not included as our people (우리 민족); [meanwhile] China and Russia regard [Balhae] as a country with absolutely no relation to Korean history because [they consider that] ‘Balhae=the country of the Malgal (말갈국)’. The fact that Balhae succeeded Goguryeo appears in various sources. Professor Han Gyu-cheol, an expert in Balhae history, explains ‘Malgal’ as having been at once both a depreciative term (비칭) for the common population of Goguryeo below the ruling strata, and also a general term for the [wider] population of Northeast Asia during the Tang dynasty; on this basis he asserts that Balhae was the country of the former remnant population of Goguryeo (유민). This view has also previously been professed by representative scholars of Manchurian history including Shiratori Kurakichi (白鳥庫吉, 1865-1942), Hinoga Isaburo [sic ] (Hino Kaisaburō日野開三郎, 1908-89) and Sun Jinji (孫進己 b.1931).

Consequently, without breaking the current academic paradigm [in Korea] which separates Malgal and Suksin from [the notion of] Koreans, it will [remain] impossible to reach historical reality. We have now come to a point in time where we must construct a new historical paradigm; this will enable us to more closely approach historical facts; we must [also] recognize the fact that it will form a clear methodology (방법론) [with which] to overcome the Northeast Project.


134) Looking at concrete examples, the pronunciation for ‘ye’ (濊) of Yemaek becomes huì (휘), huol (후오) or weì (웨이). Generally speaking, up until now Yemaek is thought to have been [pronounced] as huìmò (휘모) and Maeg’ye as mòhuì (모휘) or mòhé (모허). [No references given for this information.]

137) Of course, the pronunciations of Maek (貊) [in these various people’s languages??] are based on the modern Chinese pronunciation. It is fundamentally difficult to accurately know what pronunciations they would have been 2,000 years ago but within the modern pronunciations the old pronunciations are preserved to a comparatively large degree. In China, until the 20th century and introduction of written vernacular (白話文) and simplified characters (簡字體), the pronunciation of ancient characters tended to be, comparatively speaking, accurately preserved. China has two methods of using characters, literary (文言文) and written vernacular (白話文). If literary Chinese is that used by the intelligentsia, then written vernacular is that being used in the marketplace. That is to say, if written vernacular is modern colloquial Chinese, literary Chinese is the Chinese that was used previous to the modern era. For reference, simplified characters are characters made artificially during the Cultural Revolution; they were not newly made [from scratch] but [rather] created by reducing the number of strokes in complex characters to a bare minimum.

Two passages from Chapter 9, section1: Various names relating to Joseon

The Shiji-jijie (史記集解) says, “According to Zhang Yan (張晏), in Joseon there are the Seupsu (濕水) Yeolsu (洌水) and Sansu (汕水) rivers. These three merge into the Yeolsu (洌水). It is likely that Lelang and Joseon took their names from this river.” [N154] This is expressed too in other commentaries (주석). [N155]


155) For example, in the Suoyin (索隱) commentary of the Shiji (史記) it states, “The jo of ‘Joseon’ (朝鮮) is the same pronunciation as jo [潮 cháo – modern Mandarin]; the seon is the same sound as seon [仙 xiān]. There was a river known as Sansu (汕水) and so its name was constructed as Joseon. One pronunciation of san [汕 shàn] is san [訕 shàn].” So we can see that the name ‘Joseon’ comes from ‘Sansu’. The original text is: “朝鮮有濕水, 洌水, 汕水, 三水合爲洌水, 疑樂浪, 朝鮮取名於也.” 索隱案: 朝音潮, 直驕反. 鮮音仙. 以有汕水, 故名也. 汕一音訕. (Shiji, Chapter [sic book] 115, Chaoxian liezhuan 朝鮮列傳 section Chapter 55).

In another commentary it has, “Joseon (朝鮮) is Joseon (潮仙 cháoxiān)” (from the Zhengyi 正義). The Kuodizhi (括地志) records, “The capital of Goguryeo is Pyeongyang-seong which originally was Wanggeom-seong of the Han Lelang commandery. According to old lore (古雲?) this was Joseon land.” The original text is: “朝鮮王滿者, 故燕人也. 正義潮仙二音. 括地志: ‘高驪都平壤城, 本漢樂浪郡王儉城, 又古雲朝鮮地也. (Shiji Book 115 Chaoxian liezhuan section Chapter 55).

The opinions of previous pioneers in the field (선각들) had slight differences but they all agreed that ‘Joseon’ was written with characters borrowed for their phonetic value and so there are many other names related to Joseon which can be grouped as the same category. Namely: Joseon, Suksin (肅愼), Jiksin (稷愼), Jesin (諸申), Siksin (息愼), Jiksin (稷愼 [sic this apparent repetition is in the original]), Yeojin (女眞 [ie the Jurchen]), Jusin (珠申) etc From a point with the opportunity having been prepared [through this research] to recognize these names in the form that they are [all] variously denoting a particular people, the horizon of Korean history becomes enlarged. [N158]


158) All these terms differ slightly in pronunciation; they are all [variously] close to, ‘Jyusin 쥬신’ or ‘Chaoxian* 쨔오션 (朝鮮),’ ‘Sushen 쑤션 (肅愼),’ ‘Zhushen 쥬션 (珠申),’ ‘Juhisin 지히신,’ ‘Jishen (稷愼),’ ‘Jwisin 쥐신’ etc but according to convention they have been used as ‘Jushin 쥬신’ so there is so problem to regard their representative pronunciation as being ‘Jushin’. That is to say ‘Jushin 쥬신’ is the pronunciation which can representatively stand for the various words related to Joseon and Suksin.

*Where characters are given, the romanization is simply the modern Mandarin Pinyin, where there is only hangul, the romanization is a transliteration of the hangul. The original text in this note only gives the hangul renderings which appear based on modern Mandarin.

Concluding paragraph of Chapter 11, section 1: The descendents of Old Joseon, Xianbei Wuhuan (鮮卑烏桓)

It is thought that [the name of] Wuhuanshan mountain (烏桓山) was derived from Chishan (赤山 ‘red mountain’), or rather [in Mongolian] Ulagan. According to the geography section of the Liaoshi (遼史), “Wu province (烏州) was originally the territory of the Wuhuan around the Liao River and Wuhuan mountain; Chishan (赤山) is in Qingzhou (慶州 [old name of Ningxia in Gansu province?]).” This means that Wuhuan mountain was modern Chifeng (赤峯) which is [in] the central region of the Hongshan culture. Chifeng in Mongolian is ‘Ulagan Hada’ and in the Yuanshi (元史) it is also named as Chishan (赤山 ‘red mountain’). This [name] red mountain symbolizes the sun and is thus related to Asadal and Joseon but no concrete written sources have yet been found [supporting the] ‘Asadal-Joseon-Ulagan [are the same thing hypothesis]’.

Chapter 11, section 2: Old Joseon, the Continuous Resurrection

Under the circumstances of confrontation between the Xiongnu and Later Han, Old Joseon thrived but following attacks by Emperor Wu (漢武帝), the Xiongnu retreated and Old Joseon collapsed (108BC). This resulted in many stateless peoples (遺民) who became mixed together (雜居). At the beginning of the 1st century, the Later Han developed a defensive system as their main policy against the Xiongnu. But around the year 46 the north was attacked by [a plague] of locusts resulting in natural disaster; thousands of li [of land] turned red, the grass withered and the land became barren. [N181] Around this time, the Xiongnu internally split between South and North Xiongnu (in the year 48). Taking advantage of this, descendants of Old Joseon (or the same people 同系), the Wuhuan Xianbei (烏桓鮮卑) drove the Xiongnu to the region of Monam (莫南) and expanded their influence to Ordos (the region around modern Baotou in Inner Mongolia). [N182]

Old Joseon [thus became] reunified around the Xianbei people in the 2nd century. In the region of Liaoxi (遼西), the former northern part of old Old Joseon (옛 고조선), Tanshihuai (檀石槐) formed as much strength as Genghis Khan would in later days. In order to rule his expansive (광할?) territory, Tanshihuai divided the empire into east, central and western parts stationing powerful men (大人) [to administer them]. The eastern section was between modern Hebei (河北) and Liaoyang (遼陽), the central section Tangshan (唐山) to Beijing, and the western section Beijing to Dunhuang (敦煌).

Following the death of Tanshihuai, towards the end of the 2nd century this region became temporarily weakened but continued with Qiuliju (丘力居). Named as an emperor, he seized most of Tanshihuai’s [former] territory and occupied [this territory as?] the four provinces of Qingzhou (青州), Xuzhou (徐州), Youzhou (幽州) and Jizhou (冀州). [N183] At the beginning of the 3rd century, Qiuliji’s nephew, Tadun (踏頓, ?~207) succeeded as emperor. Contemporary warlord (실력자) in northern China, Yuan Shao (袁紹, ?~202), sought friendly ties [with Tadun] and so sent a relative’s child he pretended was his own daughter as a bride. [N184] During the conquest led by Cao Cao (曹操), Tadun was executed. Around this period, it appears Goguryeo moved from the former southern territory of Old Joseon, around the Liao River (遼河) to the northern region of the Korean peninsula.

Following this, Kebineng (軻比能, ?~235) led many of the tribes against the Wei (魏) before being killed by assassins, whereupon [the Xianbei tribes] were again fragmented and reorganized as the Murong (慕容), Tuoba (拓跋), Yuwen (宇文部) Duan (段部) etc. Amongst these, the Murong were the strongest and established both the Former Yan (前燕, 337~370) and Later Yan (後燕, 384~409) states.

The name ‘Joseon’ [Ch. Chaoxian] reappears in the 4th century. The Jinshu (晉書) states, “At the beginning of Jianwu (建武), Murong Hui (慕容廆) [led] the conquest campaigns and achieved great merit, so he was made Duke of Joseon (朝鮮公) and was succeeded by Murong Huang (慕容皝, r.337~348).” [N185] The name of (Old) Joseon was preserved, not by Goguryeo, but Murong Huang.

The Jinshu records that after Murong Hui was made Prince of Joseon, he was succeeded by Murong Huang but internal strife erupted; in order to suppress this Murong Huang went to Xiandu (險瀆). [N186] According to the Shuijing-zhu (水經注) and Qing dynasty Gu Yanwu (顧炎武)’s Rizhilu (日知錄), this region is in the vicinity of modern Beijing and was formerly Guzhuguo (孤竹國). In this way, in the 4th century the former region of Old Joseon from Beijing to Liaodong was restored by Joseon/Chaoxian kings Murong Hui and Murong Huang. Concerning this, the 7th century Liangshu (梁書) compiled by Yao Silian (姚思廉) of the Tang, states, “Amongst the various states of the Eastern barbarians (東夷), Joseon/Chaoxian was the strongest; receiving Gi Ja’s enlightenment, its culture became civilized (禮樂).” [N187]

More than 450 years after its collapse, Old Joseon was revived to be even stronger [than before]. The Joseon king Murong Huang [ruled] not only the former territory of Old Joseon but [expanded] southwards and seized the greater part of northern China. In order to effectively administer China, the country’s name was [changed from Joseon to] Yan (燕, not the same Yan as the Warring States period). This phenomenon [of changing names] occurred whenever the descendants of Old Joseon ruled over China.

Later Yan was passed on to Murong Yun (慕容雲), the Jinshu states, “Murong Yun was the adopted son of Murong Bao (慕容寶), his grandfather was Go Hwa/Gao Huo (高和) and [so] he was a kinsman of Goguryeo.” [N 148] Upon ascending to the throne, Murong Yun changed his family name to Go/Gao (高), the Goguryeo king, Gwanggaeto the Great, sent an envoy bestowing the etiquette [reserved for] a fellow clansman (宗族, 408); in return [Yun] sent shiyushi (侍御史) Li Ba (李拔) to express the [strong] bond of their lineal relations. [189] [This] demonstrates the mutual exchange between the Murong section [of the Xianbei] and Goguryeo.

After the influence of the Murong clan (씨) weakened, the Tuoba (拓跋) [Xianbei] came to prominence establishing the Northern Wei (北魏, 386~534). At times, the Northern Wei and Goguryeo allied themselves through marriages, at other times they developed through competing with one another.

When King Gaero of Baekje asked Northern Wei emperor, Xuwen (歔文帝, 454~476), to attack Goguryeo, Xuwen rather rebuked him and supported [the Goguryeo] king Jangsu; saying that the six palaces (六宮) were unprepared he also requested Jangsu send a daughter. Emperor Xuwen’s son, Emperor Xiaowu (孝武帝, 471~499), or Tuoba Hong (拓跋宏), made the Goguryeo [princess] Go Joyong (高照容, 469~519) his consort; (posthumously) known as the Wenzhao empress dowager (文昭皇太后), she gave birth to the next emperor, Xuanwu (宣武帝, 499~515). [N190] Upon Xuanwu’s accession, a portion of the imperial clan revolted and so the Empress Dowager’s older brother, Go Jo/Gao Zhao (高肇), led [or defeated?] a large army and suppressed [the revolt] taking control of the Northern Wei court; he further defeated a large army of the Southern] Song dynasty around 502 [more likely the Southern Qi or the date is mistaken].

In 491, upon the death of King Jangsu, hearing the news Emperor Xiaowu wore a white weimao hat (委貌冠) and a hempen long robe (深衣) and going to the Eastern suburbs (東郊) he wailed. [N191] This kind of behaviour, far from being that of an emperor, shows someone grieving with emotion as though they had lost their own grandfather. 

After the collapse of the Northern Wei in the 6th century, it was succeeded by the Sui and Tang periods (7~10th centuries). During this time, many northern peoples experienced drastic Sinicization. From the period of the Murong ruling northern China, the Xiongnu and descendants of Old Joseon began to really expand the territory under their control into China [proper]. Previously they had not imagined ruling China, but forming their power they now began to strongly show a tendency of advancing into China. Subsequently, excepting the Song, Ming and Chinese Communist Party, all dynasties of China have been established with the participation of the descendants of the Xiongnu (thought to have been the predecessors to Old Joseon) and Old Joseon.

In particular, the Sui and Tang made a system of fusion (퓨전) administration combining the tradition of the Xianbei (descendants of the Dongho) with the developed culture of the Chinese Han. Yang Jian (楊堅), founder of Sui, was of mixed Han and Xianbei lineage; the founder of Tang, Li Yuan (李淵), was Yang Jian’s maternal cousin. Professor Bak Han-je of Seoul National University judges this to have been a fusion of Dongho and Han (胡漢融合) or a dual structural organization between Dongho and Han (胡漢體制). The first large international [국제국가 multi-ethnic?] country in East Asia, the Tang, was a ‘Xianbei state’, but its Sinicization was severe and [modern] China too regards [both] the Han and Tang dynasties as the flowers of Chinese culture so it is difficult to regard this period as [preserving] only the unique [cultural] traits (固有性) of Old Joseon. The identity of Tang must be understood as neutral, neither Chinese Han nor barbian yi (非漢非夷). During this period many of the northern peoples naturalized as Han or integrated (편입) themselves; north of the Great Wall, it became the reason for the unique characteristics (固有性) of the northerners to diminish. Consequently the unique [cultural] traits of Old Joseon were [instead] preserved in Manchuria by the Khitan, Goguryeo and Balhae; it provided a breakwater (방파제) [against the spread of Chinese culture.]

The Khitan (the central power of the Liao dynasty) who thrived during the 10th century were descendants of the Yuwen (宇文部) [Xianbei]. After the Yuwen were destroyed by the Murong, their remnants became known as the Khitan (契丹 거란 Qidan). The Weishu records, “Khitan/Qidanguo is to the east of Kumoxi (庫莫奚), they are the same people…. Their ancestors were one group (별종) of the eastern Yuwen; after being defeated by Murong Yuanzhen (慕容元眞, aka Murong Huang), they fled and hid in the area of Songmozhijian (松漠之間). [192] Songmozhijian is modern Inner Mongolia.

The Liaoshi (遼史) states, “The ancestors of Liao were the Khitan, the land was originally that of the Xianbei. They lived in [the region of] Liaoze (遼澤). [N193] This Liaoze (the Liao river delta area) is the largest marshland in the world covering the region between the Dailing (大凌河) and Liao rivers; during the Warring States period it was Old Joseon territory and part of the region where Goguryeo was established. With the Yan invasions, it is thought to have become the western border of Old Joseon had been pushed into retreat [eastwards].

Continuing, the Liaoshi states, “Liao originated from the former land of Joseon; it preserves the tradition of the eight article law code (八條犯禁) the same as Old Joseon [did]. In the geography section of the Liaoshi it has, “The Eastern capital (which was the eastern gateway to the [main] capital), Liaoyang-bu (遼陽府), was originally Joseon territory.” [194] Old Joseon’s descendants, the Khitan (descendants of the Dongho), were suppressed by various peoples such as the Murong and Tuoba, but differently to the Northern Wei, Sui or Tang, Old Joseon’s unique traditions were maintained and its former territory restored; cultivating even greater strength [than before], it extended into the Chinese Central Plain.

Old Joseon existed from the legendary period of China, it was maintained in the form of such states as the Five ba Hegemons (春秋五霸) of the 7th century BC Spring and Autumn period and the Seven xiong of the Warring States period (戰國七雄). From around the 4th century BC it became more of an independent ancient state and competed with the Yan; from the end of the 3rd century BC its borders faced the Qin (秦) dynasty [but] it maintained peace. In the 2nd century BC, it thrived between the rivalry of the Xiongnu and Han dynasty; after its collapse, it was [both] succeeded and continuously revived by Goguryeo and Silla in the south and Xianbei Wuhuan (鮮卑烏桓) in the north. After the 4th century Murong, the descendants of Old Joseon showed a serious trait of ruling China and they began to move southwards into the Chinese continent. Subsequently the vast majority of non-Han Chinese dynasties were established by these people. However, in the process of ruling over China, they lost their unique cultural traits (固有性) of Old Joseon. These traits were largely maintained by Goguryeo, the Khitan (Liao), the Jin, Goryeo and the Qing.

Concluding paragraphs of Chapter 12, section 2: The culture of holy mountain worship amongst the pan-Altai people

Concerning holy mountains (聖山) the strongest object of worship is the second birth place of the pan-Korean people (범한국인의 제2발상지), Taebaeksan (太白山 [also known as] Changbaishan 長白山 and Baekdusan 白頭山). Here we can confirm a common identity with no distinction between Yemaek, Suksin or Dongho. According to the [Jinshi 金史] history of the Jin dyansty, which was [ethnically] Suksin, Changbai mountain was elevated to ‘Land of King Xing’ (興王之地), enfeoffed as king and an ancestral shrine built on it [N211] whilst the Liao dynasty, which was [ethnically] Dongho, made the mountain the protective god of the imperial family (皇室). [N212] That is to say, Taebaek-san (Baekdu-san) was the holy mountain of the Mongols who established the Liao dynasty and Manchus who established the Jin (金) – that is [combined] the people who Koreans refer to as dong’i Eastern barbarians (東夷族) – and of course [it was also the holy mountain] of the Koreans; this is the second birthplace of the Eastern barbarians.

In conclusion, the name ‘Joseon’ appears to be derived from such names as Suksin, Jusin, Asadal and Astara (아스타라) and its meaning can be viewed as ‘mountain holding the sun’ or ‘shining mountain (red shining mountain)’. Further, this name ‘Joseon’ stores the belief in Altai mountain worship of northern nomads.

Appendix 3, part 3: Altai, Koreans’ Spiritual Homeland

Altai is positioned in the centre of the Eurasian continent. This region is the centre of Europe and Asia; it is a juncture through which many nomads pass and at which they rest. In the 1940s, the folk tales and stories of this region were concertedly collected by such Russian folklorists as [안나] 가르프 and [빠벨] 쿠치약. Amongst the Altai folk tales, “하늘로 간 별이, 즐드스” is similar to Kongjwi Patjwi (콩쥐 팥쥐), [whilst] “여황제 알튼차츠” resembles Ureong gaksi (우렁 각시). Between Altai and the vicinity of [Lake] Baikal, there are many folk tales similar or [even] identical to those on the Korean peninsula which have been passed down to the present such as The Woodcutter and the Fairy (나무꾼과 선녀), Old Mr Hokburi (혹부리 영감) and the Tale of Simcheong (沈淸傳). Amongst these, The Woodcutter and the Fairy is the foundation myth of the Manchus.

The myth of King Geumwa is directly related to the Altai region; looking at the shared possession and biological similarities of many folk tales and stories as a basis, it is not unreasonable to consider Altai as the first Proto-Korean region.

In the first half of 2000, Professor Go Gi-seok of the anatomy department of Konkuk University presented research results [concluding], “The people who bear most similarity to Koreans are Kazakhs.” Although these results are extremely important there was no [further] discussion. The structure of human craniums are not only an important object [of study] for the purpose of distinguishing human origins and whether they are the same relation [to what?!] but also, they do not easily change according to period. [There are] more than sixty research items related to the structure of craniums; for example, [researching] the suture lines (봉합선) can indicate the presence or not of a hole at the joining part, and amongst Koreans it comes out at 75% [having a hole??]

Taking into account this research, the closest peoples to Koreans come out as Kazakhs (of Kazakhstan), Mongols, Buryat (Mongols residing in the region of Lake Baikal) etc. As a branch of the Turks and physically as Mongols (몽골인), the Kazakh people reside in Altai, Kazakhstan and western China; the Buryat are also a part of [the] Mongols and ultimately, from a large perspective, appear [in research results] as Mongols. As for the region which actually has the closest impression on modern Koreans, as Kazakhs of the central eastern region (or Kyrgyzs) the people of 오르타 주스 are archetypal Mongols. Consequently, Mongol Kazakhs are, overall, the closest thing to Koreans. [N373] It is worth noting that this eastern region is right next to Altai. According to Dr. Bulat E. Komekov, when Chenghis Khan invaded westwards [late C.12th so of no significance here!!] many Koreans came with him and [became] a tribe known as Kerei (케레이). These people say their ancestors are Korean.

Thus the origins of Koreans we are able to trace through written and medical [evidence] goes back to Altai. That is to say, Altai appears to be the central region from which the history of Koreans began. Broadly speaking, they are thought to have entered [the Korean peninsula] either through a route across the grass plains from Altai (the Gaoli 高麗 [Goryeo] route), ‘Mongolia – eastern Mongolia – Amur River – northern Manchuria – Yalu River – Korean peninsula,’ or from Altai across northern China (the Jushin 쥬신 route), ‘Shandong – Beijing region – Liaodong peninsula – Yalu River – Korean peninsula.’ Here, the southern lineage (남방계) [of Korean ancestry] (the Wa route) is thought to have entered the Korean peninsula travelling via ‘southern India – southeastern Asia – Southeast China Sea – Liaodong Peninsula[?!]’. The Gaoli [people] subsequently continuously revived and resurrected [themselves in] ‘northern Manchuria ([as] Buyeo) – southern Manchuria and the northern Korean peninsula ([as] Goguryeo, Balhae) – the central Korean peninsula ([as] Goryeo)’. Consequently, the Gaoli who were the root of Buyeo can be classified as ‘Proto-Korea’ (?~3rd century BC?); the Gaoli of Go Jumong (Goguryeo, Goryeo, and Guryeo) as ‘Old Korea’ (1st century BC?~668AD); Balhae established by Dae Jo-yeong (大祚榮) as ‘Great Korea’ (689-926) and medieval Goryeo established by Wang Geon (王建) as ‘Medieval Korea’ (918~1392). This nomenclature can be transcribed in international languages as Korea (코리아), Corée (꼬레), Корей (카레이) etc.

Alongside Old Joseon (Beijing and Liao River region), Proto Korea (原 코리아) can be said to have been the closest country to Koreans‘ original form (원형). [Coming across] from Altai, Baikal and Mongolia, it is thought that one group of Koreans came south to Chang’an (長安 [modern Xi’an]) and Luoyang (洛陽) before going north again from the vicinity of Beijing (the Jushin route), whilst another group crossed Mongolia and Da Hinggan Ling (大興安嶺) and came south through Manchuria via the Amur River (the Gaoli route); under pressure from the Chinese Han, the place where these [two groups] met again was ironically the Liao River region. Of course, even before pressure from the Han, the Liao River region was one of the places where they were already concentrated. However, the Liao River region is thought to be the place where the cultural territories of the Gaoli state (까오리국) and Old Joseon overlapped, and is precisely the centre of the Hongshan culture (紅山文化) which today has become the subject of great interest.


373) This has still to be systematically researched, but looking at the outline and appearance of faces when actually travelling [there], it is thought that there was a lot of contact not only between Kazakhstan but also Kyrgyzstan. The need is increasing for research on records concerning the ancestors of King Munmu, said to have been a group of Xiongnu who moved directly to Silla.

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