“Historians’ Joint Academic Symposium on Dan’gun and Old Joseon” Opening address
I am Yun Naehyeon, chairman of the Dan’gun-hakhoe (단군학회 ‘Dan’gun Society’) from Seoul.
Esteemed [colleagues] (존경하는) Ryu Mi-yeong, chairman of the Dan’gun Minjok Tong’il Hyeophoe, Kim Jeong-yeong (사회과학원 부원장님), Heo Jongho (조선력사학회 회장님) and Jeong Changgyu (력사연구소 소장님), I am extremely pleased to meet in this way. And I thank you for your many efforts in making possible this event.
Ladies and gentlemen gathered here from South and North, good afternoon. It is truly a pleasure. My heart is pounding. I am deeply moved with appreciation. 57 years since the division of our ancestral land (조국), 57 years since the [Korean] minjok was split, our scholars from South and North are holding here in Pyeongyang at the Inmin-munhwa-gungjeon (인민문화궁전 ‘People’s Palace of Culture’) a joint academic symposium about Dan’gun, the founding progenitor of our minjok, and Old Joseon, the first country our minjok established. How filled with emotion this event is. It cannot but be a truly honourable occasion.
Research about Dan’gun and Old Joseon is not merely the confirmation of historical facts, but an undertaking to establish the value and identity of our minjok, and to confirm and restore the homogeneity of the minjok. This undertaking prepares the foundation stones for the coming unification of [our] minjok and advances the unification of [our] ancestral land.
Esteemed North [Korean] scholars.
Ourselves coming from the South know very well that you have already achieved many results in your research about Dan’gun and Old Joseon. We also know that you have excavated various Old Joseon period sites. We extend our congratulations and praise for the many undertakings/projects you have achieved. On our Southern side, too, we are enthusiastically researching Old Joseon’s history from various angles. Now, if through this joint academic symposium of Southern and Northern scholars, the research results previously obtained by Southern and Northern scholars are combined, the history of our minjok will become enriched a level further.
There is much we are curious about one another. There is much we wish to ask. However, in the short time of today’s academic symposium, we will not be satisfied about everything we want to know. Just as our proverb say’s “How can [we] be full from just one spoonful of rice?!”, we cannot be satisfied immediately, but I believe we will gradually become satisfied if we continue [these] South-North academic symposiums in the future.
There is also the proverb “The beginning is half [the achievement]”. Today our minjok coming from South and North will have celebrated the Gaecheon-jeol festival together and even held a joint academic symposium, so we could say that we have already achieved half of the task of our unification. If we achieve just the remaining half then the unification of our minjok and ancestral land will be complete. In order to achieve the remaining half I want to take the opportunity to propose that joint academic conferences and joint research be continued with [scholars] regularly travelling between Seoul and Pyeongyang. And, I ask the Southern and Northern scholars gathered here to lend their active support in achieving this proposal for the advancement of the unification of the ancestral land and minjok.
I finish my opening words by extending deepest thanks to those involved in enthusiastically welcoming us all from the South and making our stay comfortable, to the citizens of Pyeongyang and [our] Northern brethren/compatriots (동포). Thank you.
Dan’gun-hakhoe chairman, Yun Naehyeon
Place: Pyeongyang Inmin-munhwa-gungjeon (People’s Palace of Culture)
(Source – Yun 2003:25-7)
At a time when the intention and fervent wish is rising up of the 70 million [strong] gyeore (aka Korean race) seeking to realise the reconciliation, union (단합) and unification of the [Korean] minjok based on the spirit of the historical June 15th South North Joint Declaration, celebrating Gaecheon-jeol [together] the South’s Dan’gun-hakhoe and the North’s Ryeoksa-hakhoe have jointly held in Pyeongyang the “Historians’ Joint Academic Symposium on Dan’gun and Old Joseon.”
Participating in the symposium were Southern and Northern historians, archaeologists and university lecturers (대학교원들) [as well as] Southern and Northern representatives who were [also] participating in [wider] Gaecheon-jeol events.
At the symposium, questions including the foundation year of Dan’gun Joseon and the character of its society, its central heartland and territory, examination of Dan’gun related archaeology and written sources, and historical study concerning the Dan’gun myth were discussed seriously and candidly (허심탄회) through the format of paper presentations and panel (or round table 좌담회) discussions; the following points were jointly agreed upon.
Firstly, Dan’gun is an actual historical person; he is the founding progenitor who established the first state of our minjok.
Secondly, our minjok is the Dan’gun Minjok in possession of a near-eternal (유구하다) history; we place weight on the fact that various history books, beginning with the Samguk-yusa, record that Pyeongyang was the central heartland of Old Joseon.
Thirdly, Old Joseon was a strong and great country (강대국) which had as its basic territory the expansive region of today’s Korean peninsula and northeastern Asia.
Fourthly, South and North historians will energetically strengthen the scholarly bonds [between them] and actively carry out joint cooperation for the purpose of illuminating the 5,000 year near-eternal history of the minjok and firmly defend (고수하다) its superior nature (민족성).
Fifth, South and North historians will hold deep the sense of one’s life mission (시명감) carried before the minjok, and strengthen solidarity between South and North historians; they will actively continue to contribute to the great undertaking of combining the strength of our minjok between ourselves and unifying the ancestral land (조국) through continuing to deepen research on the history of [our] minjok from a position of ‘love for the country and love for the minjok‘ (애국애족).
South side Dan’gun-hakhoe North side Ryeoksa-hakhoe
Yun Naehyeon Heo Jong-ho
October 3rd 2002, Pyeongyang
(Source – Yun 2003:21-2)