Ssuktaemŏri 쑥대머리 “Hair disheveled like mugwort” from the musical adaptation of pansori classic, Song of Ch’unhyang

The following are the lyrics with translation of the song titled “Ssuktaemŏri” (쑥대머리 “Hair disheveled like mugwort”) a musical-style adaptation of the same titled song from the pansori classic, Song of Chunhyang (春香歌 춘향가 Ch’unghyangga). 

This version of “Ssuktaemŏri” was composed by Ozzy Chong (O Chi-ch’ong 오지총)
and first recorded and performed by Park Ae-ri (박애리). It appears to have first been composed for the fusion musical “Kiss The Chunhyang (키스 더 춘향) for which a recording was released in 2012 (link to recorded version by Park Ae-ri on YouTube here).

The song is now often performed by other pansori and musical trained singers.

Among them, in 2015 YoonA Lee (이윤아) gained popular recognition after she performed a shortened version on the television game show, “I Can See Your Voice” (너의 목소리가 보여).

Below I provide the lyrics first of the shortened version matching YoonA Lee’s performance, and then the full-length version with a performance by Jeong Sori (정소리).

Short version from television performance by YoonA Lee 이유나

Performed by YoonA Lee (Yi Yun-a 이윤아) on “너의 목소리가 보여” 24 December 2015.

쑥대머리 鬼神形容(귀신형용) 寂寞獄房(적막옥방)의 찬 자리여
ssuk-tae-mŏ-ri kwi-sin-hŏ-yong chŏng-mak-ok-pang ŭi ch’an cha-ri-yŏ
Hair disheveled like mugwort, looking like a demon, in this cold forlorn cold prison

생각나는 것은 님뿐이라
saeng-gak-na-nŭn kŏs-ŭn nim ppun-i-ra
But thinking only of my love.

보고지고 보고지고 보고지고
po-go-ji-go po-go-ji-go po-go-ji-go
I miss [you], I miss [you] I miss [you]!…

무덤 앞에 섯난 돌은 望夫石(망부석)이 될 것이요
mu-dŏm ap’-e sŏn-nan tol ŭn mang-bu-sŏk i toel kos-i-yo
The stone in front of my grave will become a mangbusŏk (Waiting for One’s Husband Stone)

무덤 근처 선 나무는 相思木(상사목)이 될 것이니
mu-dŏm kŭn-ch’ŏ sŏn na-mu nŭn sang-sa-mok i toel kŏs-i-ni
The trees near the grave will become sangsamok (trees thinking of each other)

生前死後(생전사후) 이 寃痛(원통)을 알아줄 이가
saeng-jŏn-sa-hu i wŏn-t’ong ŭl ar-a-jul i ka
This regret [extending] before birth and after death,

뉘 있으란 말이냐
nwi iss-ŭ-ran mar-i-nya
Who will know of it?!

Hair disheveled like mugwort!

Full-length version

Performed live by Jeong So-ri (Chŏng Sori)

쑥대머리 鬼神形容(귀신형용) 寂寞獄房(적막옥방)의 찬 자리여
ssuk-tae-mŏ-ri kwi-sin-hŏ-yong chŏng-mak-ok-pang ŭi ch’an cha-ri-yŏ
Hair disheveled like mugwort, looking like a demon, in this cold forlorn cold prison

생각나는 것은 님뿐이라
saeng-gak-na-nŭn kŏs-ŭn nim ppun-i-ra
But thinking only of my love.

보고지고 보고지고 보고지고
po-go-ji-go po-go-ji-go po-go-ji-go
I miss [you], I miss [you] I [miss]!

손가락 피를 내어 事情(사정)으로 님을 찾아볼까
son-ga-rak p’i rŭl nae-ŏ sa-jŏng ŭ-ro nim ŭl ch’aj-a-bol-kka
Shall I squeeze blood from my finger to visit you through a [letter explaining] events?

肝腸(간장)의 썩은 눈물로 님의 畵像(화상)을 그려볼까
kan-jang ŭi ssŏg-ŭn nun-mul-lo nim ŭi hwa-sang ŭl kŭ-ryŏ-bol-kka
Shall I draw a portrait with tears from my rotting innards?

桂宮姮娥(계궁항아) 秋月(추월)같이 번듯이 솟아서 비추고저
kye-gung-hang-a ch’u-wŏl ka-ch’i pŏn-dŭs-i sos-a-sŏ pi-ch’u-go-jŏ
Like Cháng’é {Lady in the Moon} of the Cinnamon Palace, the autumn moon rises and shines down.

輾轉反側 (전전반측) 잠 못 이뤄 胡蝶夢(호접몽)을 어이 꿀 수 있나
chŏn-jŏn-ban-ch’ŭk cham mot i-rwŏ ho-jŏb-mong ŭl ŏ-i kkul su in-na
Tossing and turning, unable to sleep; how could I ever have a [pleasant] dream [such as Zhangzi dreaming] of being a butterfly?!

내가 만일 님 못 본채 獄中孤魂(옥중고혼)이 되거들면
nae-ga man-il nim mot pon-ch’ae ok-chung-go-hon i toe-gŏ-dŭl-myŏn
If I should become a lonely ghost in prison without having been able to see my love [again]

무덤 앞에 섯난 돌은 望夫石(망부석)이 될 것이요
mu-dŏm ap’-e sŏn-nan tol ŭn mang-bu-sŏk i toel kos-i-yo
The stone in front of my grave will become a mangbusŏk (Waiting for One’s Husband Stone)

무덤 근처 선 나무는 相思木(상사목)이 될 것이니
mu-dŏm kŭn-ch’ŏ sŏn na-mu nŭn sang-sa-mok i toel kŏs-i-ni
The trees near the grave will become sangsamok (trees thinking of each other)

生前死後(생전사후) 이 寃痛(원통)을 알아줄 이가
saeng-jŏn-sa-hu i wŏn-t’ong ŭl ar-a-jul i ka
This regret [extending] before birth and after death,

뉘 있으란 말이냐
nwi iss-ŭ-ran mar-i-nya
Who will know of it?!

Hair disheveled like mugwort!

쑥대머리 鬼神形容(귀신형용) 寂寞獄房(적막옥방)의 찬 자리여
ssuk-tae-mŏ-ri kwi-sin-hŏ-yong chŏng-mak-ok-pang ŭi ch’an cha-ri-yŏ
Hair disheveled like mugwort, looking like a demon, in this cold forlorn cold prison

생각나는 것은 님뿐이라
saeng-gak-na-nŭn kŏs-ŭn nim ppun-i-ra
But thinking only of my love.

보고지고 보고지고 보고지고
po-go-ji-go po-go-ji-go po-go-ji-go
I miss [you], I miss [you] I [miss]!

Hair disheveled like mugwort!


Kwangju Housing Site Incident YouTube video translation

[서울 부산간 고속도로 1970.7.7]
[Seoul – Pusan Expressway, 7 July 1970]

국민 모두가 잘 먹고 잘 살아보겠다는 희망에 부풀어 있던 1971년
버림 당한 사람들이 있었다
In 1971, when all citizens were inflated with the hope of eating and living well,
There were people who were abandoned.

“도시 빈민의 절규, 광주대단지 사건”
“Scream of the Urban Poor: the Kwangju Housing Site Incident”

1960년대 경제 개발의 시작과 함께
수도 서울로 대거 유입된 상경민들
Together with economic development that began in the 1960s
was the large scale influx of people moving to the capital, Seoul.

인구밀집으로 서울의 땅값이 폭등하자
집을 구할 길이 없게 된 타향살이 영세민들은
도심 근처에 무허가 판잣집을 짓고 살게 된다
Land prices in Seoul rocketed up due to the increasing population density,
living away from their native home villages, and without a way to obtain a home, the desitute
lived in p’anjat-chip wooden-built shacks constructed without permission near the city centre.

우후죽순 들어선 무허가 판잣집은
시간이 지나며 점차 포화상태에 다다랐고
Appearing ‘like bamboo shoots after the rain’ as time progressed
the number of these illegal {lit. “without permission”} shacks reached saturation point.

행정당국은 무허가 판잣집을
도시 경관을 해치는 골칫거리로 인식하게 된다
The administrative authories viewed these illegal shacks
as a blight on the city’s appearance.

그새서 당국이 내놓은 특단의 대책
So the authorities implemented a special counterpolicy.

그것은 서울 외곽에 집단 이주단지를 조성하는 것이었다
The construction of a housing site for group migration beyond the Seoul city limits.

여러 후보지들 중
개발단지로 최종 선택된 광주 대단지
Among several candidate sites
the final site selected was Kwangju Housing Site (Kwangju Taedanji)

경기도 광주는 서울과 지리적으로 가까운 동시에
국공유지가 많아 개발에 제격인 곳이었다
Kwangju, Kyŏnggi Province (Gwangju, Gyeonggi) was both geographically close to Seoul
and had much publicly owned land so was a suitable site for development.

[광주군 성남지구 도시건설사업소]
[Sŏngnam city construction office, Kwangju county]

하지만 급작스럽게 수립된 개발 계획
However, implementation of the development plan was rushed.

10개월 간 택지 조성후
단 2 개월 만에 시작된 입주
Preparation of the land took 10 months.
Just 2 months later people were relocated there.

졸속으로 시작된 개발은
많은 문제를 내포하고 있었다
Such hasty development
created many problems.

당시 당국의 개발지침
‘선 입주 후 건설’
The authorities development principle was
‘Settlement {i.e. relocation} first, construction {of housing} after.’

“일단 입주해 살고 있으면
기반 시설과 공장을 지어주겠다”
“Once you are relocated and living there,
we will build basic facilities and factories.”

[Sign: Welcome to fast progress Kwangju Housing Site]

당국의 말을 철석 같이 믿은 당시 15만 명의 빈민들이
서울살이를 포기하고 광주대단지로의 이주를 선택했다
150,000 urban poor, believing the authorities’ words as though their were iron and stone,
chose to abandon their Seoul lives and relocate to Kwangju Housing Site.

하지만 당국의 약속은 끝내 이행되지 않았다
However, in the end the authorities’ promise was never implemented.

입주 후 2년이 지나도록
입주민을 위한 보건, 위생시설이 전무했던 광주 대단지
2 years after relocating,
Kwangju Housing Site still lacked basic health and hygiene facilities.

이들을 국가의 보호라는 울타리 밖으로 내몬 것은
That which had driven them outside of the state’s protection was:

자본의 논리
the logic of capitalism..

대단지 개발 이면에 깔린 자본의 논리
The underside to housing development, was the logic of capitalism.

서울시의 주택지 ‘경영사업’의 일환이었던
광주대단지 개발
The development of Kwangju Housing Site
was one part of Seoul’s housing site ‘management business.’

서울시는 대단지 개발에 필요한 자금을
입주민들로부터 충당하려 했다
Seoul City tried to charge the relocated residents,
for the money required to develop the site.

그 결과 기습적으로 단행된 대단지 토지 불하가격 인상
The result was that, as if in a surprise attack, the land prices of the housing site suddenly increased.

평당 최고 16,000원으로 책정된 대단지의 토지 불하 가격은
당시 서울의 토지 불하 각격과 비교했을 때 10배 이상 높았다
The highest price per-p’yŏng (pyeong) price of the land was set at 16,000 won.
At the time, this was more than 10 times the price of land in Seoul.

경제적 약자였던 도시 빈민들에게
하루 아침에 감당할 수 없는 짐을 떠안긴 셈이었다
To the economically disadvantaged urban poor,
this represented the imposition of a sudden impossible burden.

이에 몇몇 입주민들이 시정위원회를 구성해
행정당국에 집단적으로 항의하였으나
Thereupon the relocated residents formed a civic committee
and protested as a group to the administrative authorities.

돌아온 대답은
But the response they received,
was silence.

이러한 당국의 미온한 태도에 실망한 많은 입주민들이
시정위원회의 활동을 지지하면서
시정위원회는 투쟁위원회로 발전하기에이른다
Many residents were disappointed at the authorities tepid attitude,
and supported the civic committee’s actions.
The civic committee developed into a ‘struggle committee.’

조직적인 움직임에 당황한 서울시는
그때서야 입주민들에게 협상을 제안했지만
성난 입주민들을 진정시킬 수는 없었다
Seoul City was caught off guard {lit. “bewildered”} by this organized movement;
Only now did they propse to negotiation with the residents,
but they were unable to calm their anger.

결국 1971년 8월 10일에 양택식 서울시장이 직접 대단지에 방문해
투쟁위원회와 협상을 하기로 하면서 대립은 일단락되는 듯했다
Eventually, the confrontation was seemingly resolved when Seoul City mayor, Yang T’aek-sik
agreed to personally visit the housing site on 10 August 1971 in ordered to negotiate with the struggle committee.

폭우가 내리던
On 10 August 1971,
a day of torrential summer rain.

사태의 해결을 바라며
대단지 공터에 운집한 6만 명의 군중
Desiring a resolution to the situation
some 60,000 residents gathered at the empty housing site.

하지만 양택식 시장은 일정 지연으로
약속한 시간이 한참 넘어서도 나타나지 않았다
However, due to a delayed schedule, Mayor Yang T’aek-sik
failed to show up even long after the agreed time.

이번에도 속았다며 분노하는 군중들
집회 분위기는 순식간에 험악해지고
The crowd were enraged at again being cheated.
In a short moment the group atmosphere turned dangerous/threatening.

몇몇 입주민들이 성남출장소와 관용차를 불태우면서
집회는 소요 사태로 번지기 시작한다
As a group of residents set fire to the local police station and the authorities’ cars
group rioting began to unfold.

사태의 심각성을 인지한 청와대는
입주민들의 요구를 모두 수용하였고
With the presidential Blue House recognizing the severity of the situation,
the government accepted all of the residents’ demands.

이듬해에는 광주대단지를 성남시로 승격시켜주면서
주민들의 투쟁은 승리로 끝난다
With Kwangju Housing Site being elevated to Seongnam City in following year,
the residents’ struggle ended in victory.


사건 발생후 50년이 넘는 시간 동안
For 50 years since the start of the incident

광주 대단지 사건은 제대로 된 이름조차 갖지 못한 채
우리 현대사에서 외면받았다
The Kwangju Housing Site “incident” has not even received a proper name,
and been neglected from our contemporary history.

이후 도시 빈민들의 투쟁사가 암울했던 것은
우리 스스로가 빈민들의 역사에 대해 말하길 터부시했기 때문은 아니었을까
Perhaps the recent history of the urban poor’s struggle has continued to be so dark/grim
because we ourselves have viewed the history of the poor as a taboo.

말하지 못한 자들의 몫을
역사에서나마 돌려줄 때가 되었다
– 광주 대단지사건 연구자 임미리 –
The time has come to return the share of those who couldn’t tell their story to history.
– Kwangju Housing Site Incident researcher, Im Miri –

김원,「1971년 광주대단지 사건 연구」, 2008
임미리,「1971년 광주대단지 사건의 재해석 」, 2012
성남시시사편찬위원회,『성남시사6-도시개발사』, 2015

Kim Wŏn. 2008. “1971 nyŏn kwangju taedanji sagŏn yŏn’gu” [Research on the 1971 Kwangju Housing Site Incident].
Im Miri. 2012. “1971 nyŏn kwangju taedanji sagŏn ŭi chaehaesŏk” [Reinterpretation of the 1971 Kwangju Housing Site Incident].
Seongnam City Compilation Committee. Sŏngnamsi-sa 6 – tosi kaebalsa [History of Seongnam City 6: history of urban development].

연출: 류인상
구성: 차현진
편집: 이치현
Director: Ryu In-sang
Writing: Ch’a Hyŏn-chin
Editing: Yi Ch’i-hyŏn

Doojin Hwang’s Most Urban Life (2017): Sŏsomun Apartments

The following is a draft translation of the chapter on the building(s) “Sŏsomun Apartments” from architect Doojin Hwang‘s Kajang tosijŏk in sam 가장 도시적인 삶 [The most urban life], pp113-125.

Looking from the north end of Sŏsomun Apartments.

Sŏsomun Apartments: an index for multipurpose “rainbow cake” buildings

Following along Manch’och’ŏn, a stream lost from view

“Manch’och’ŏn 만초천 (Manchocheon) Stream” is an unfamiliar name. Even those with a fair knowledge of Seoul geography may not have heard this name. The monster in Bong Joon Ho’s film, The Host (2006), lives in Manch’och’ŏn. In the film it is portrayed as a place that originally had concrete pillars and looks like an underground sewer. Strictly speaking, this is the end section of a natural waterway that flows into the Han River at the northern terminus of Wonhyo Bridge 원효대교. During the Japanese occupation period, and sometimes still today, it was called Ukch’ŏn 욱천 (旭川 Ukcheon). Other names are Mu’akch’ŏn 무악천 and Tŏngk’ullae 덩쿨내.

Map showing Manch’och’ŏn Stream before it was covered over.

The source of Manch’och’ŏn is in the region of Mu’akchae 무악재 ridge, between the mountains of Inwang-san and An-san. The stream passes by the high-rise apartments of Donuimun New Town 돈의문 뉴타운, traverses Seoul Station, and flows on to Yongsan Electronics Arcade, before finally meeting with the Han River. Its total length is around 7.7 kilometres. Except for a short section between Samgakji and Yongsan Station, the entire river has been covered over so any traces of it are hard to find. The covering of Manch’och’ŏn occurred during 1962-1977 so overlaps with the project to cover Cheonggyecheon Stream. As a consequence of its disappearance from sight, little public consciousness remains of Manch’och’ŏn. Only an elevated road section running between Namyeong Station and Yongsan Electronics Arcade bears the name Ukcheon (Ukch’ŏn – Google Maps link).

In The Host it is portrayed as dark and dank, but Manch’och’ŏn was originally famous for its clean water. In the late Koryŏ period it appears in Mok’ŭn Yi Saek’s 牧隱李穡 목은 이색 poetry cycle, Yongsan p’algyŏng or Eight Views of Yongsan 龍山八景, as the site of a spectacle of lighting lamps to fish for crabs. They say that even today one section shows signs of crabs living there. When it rains one can see significant water flowing at the uncovered section by Samgakji. Similarly, at Sŏsomun Apartments if one opens the manholes on the ground floor of the commercial sangga units one can see the upper reaches of the stream flowing below. Manch’och’ŏn is an important waterway for the region west of the old Seoul city walls. If Cheonggyecheon is the main stream within the city walls, Manch’och’ŏn is the equivalent beyond.  There is even an “Ukcheon Revival Association” 욱천살리기모임 led by residents of Yongsan District.

Manch’och’ŏn has disappeared from sight but its flow is still perceptible above the ground. It is the road that cuts between the main buildings and carpark of Seoul Red Cross Hospital nearby Seodaemun, and that loosely curves its way between the back gate of Ehwa Womans University and high rise buildings such as the Vabien Suites. Gradually bearing south, this road crosses Tongil-ro Road 통일로, that extends from Independence Gate to Seoul Station. As the flow of water changes direction, the street bends like a bow towards Seoul Station. The building constructed on this bend is Sŏsomun Apartments (서소문 아파트Seosomun Apartments – Google Maps link) of Migeun-dong ward. A “waterway” mentioned on the Sŏsomun Apartments’ registered construction address as 건축물대장주소 “covered waterway area,” is Manch’och’ŏn.

The possibility of preservation through the impossibility of redevelopment

If Nakwon Arcade and Apartments building pays a price of occupation 점용료 for having been built astride a road, then Sŏsomun Apartments pays the same for being built astride a waterway. Compared to buildings erected on land, that will be divided into taxed plots of real estate 재산세 토지분, both buildings possess an extremely unique aspect. It shows just how much pressure for development there had been at the time. As it was not easy to secure land, they even erected buildings over roads and rivers! Another case is Yujin Sangga 유진상가 that straddles Hongjech’ŏn 홍제천 Stream. Redevelopment usually proceeds under the premise that buildings have no value but that the price of their land lots will increase. But here there is no money to be made 공식이 먹히지 않다. As even a discussion of redevelopment is inappropriate, the opposite possibility of preservation increases. However, Sŏsomun is aging badly. This building received its approval for usage on 23 January 1971, a time when apartments accounted for no more than two percent of the residential market. It was built by a company named Ojin Construction 오진건설. The name of the designer 설계자 is unknown. Counting from 2017, this “young middle-aged” building is no more than 47 years old, but unfortunately it looks much older than its physical age. It struggles to hold itself up, but its historical significance is not insubstantial. Among researchers it is one of the most popular apartment buildings. It was almost designated one of the “future heritage sites of Seoul” 서울 속 미래유산 but due to opposition from residents it was removed from the final list. It is truly an old general that has been through the battles and led a bittersweet (웃프다 lit. “happy and sad”) life.

It should be banned {lit. “be a taboo”} to simply say that the building is currently in poor shape while ignoring its history. Even today among those who have lived in Seoul a fair while Sŏsomun Apartments is remembered as a famous spot where many in the broadcasting industy resided and was thus frequented by celebrities. Owing to this fame, it appeared in the film My Dear Enemy (2008) 멋진 하루  directed by Lee Yoon-ki 이윤기. Around the first floor sangga commercial units, there is also a quite famous eateries frequented by gourmet lovers. With reliable hot water, thanks to a bunker oil-based central heating system, and flushing toilets, it was originally an apartment complex boasting the most advanced facilities of the time. As evidence, there is still a chimney stack on the back side of the building. How, then, may we evaluate {어떤 존재 lit. “How is the existence of”} Sŏsomun Apartments?  Not through its illustrious anecdotes [of its past], or the wonder of being built above a waterway, but as a building? Specifically as a uniquely linear-shaped 선형mixed sangga (commercial arcade)-apartments-type building? For this, we must set aside all preexisting knowledge and carefully exam the building as it is today.

Reading Sŏsomun Apartments

First of all, the building is 115 metres in length. Even today there are few examples of buildings in central Seoul that can boast such a length. With the first floor comprising commercial units (sangga) and six storeys of apartments above, totalling a height of seven storeys, its scale is considerable. Now it is surrounded by high rise buildings but when it originally stood by itself it would have exhibited a greatly majestic/dignified aspect 위용. According to the architectual listing 건축물대장, there were eighteen shops on the ground floor including mostly restaurants and cafes, as well as beauty parlors and convenience stores. From the second to seventh floors there were 129 apartments ranging between 36 and 56 square metres in size. Although a single block (tong), there are a total of nine stair cases, each numbered as a separate block or tong. Although from the outside it is a seven-storey building, if one ascends one of the narrow staircases, one reaches an eighth floor. Like many other buildings, this is because the fourth floor has been skipped due to the inauspicious associations {of sa 四 사 “four” with sa 死 사 “death”}.

The tong numbering starts from the north and appears related 유관하다 to a gradual slope of the road in front that runs southwards. To account for this slope, the first tong block facing Tongil-ro Road is slightly higher than the others. The pavement along the road in front exhibits a soft aspect 재직이 연질임을 보다, and so demonstrates consideration for pedestrians. In the evenings the restaurants place tables and chairs on the pavement creating a lively atmosphere. As the road is just two lanes, overall there is not too busy an atmosphere.

Although Sŏsomun Apartments is commonly known as being a curved-shaped building, this is not the case. It is actually comprised of three straight lines that turn direction between the tong 3 – 4, and 6 – 7. If the entire building had been a single long curve there would have been significant limitations on such matters as furniture installation. Although a seven-storey building, it unfortunately has no elevators. As a rule, permission is no longer given for building above waterways. Without special measures, the only method for preserving this building is {minor} structural change rather than full redevelopment. But how then can the elevator problem be solved? Because the building is structured around staircases rather than corridors the challenges are not trivial. Because there are no stakes to be held in the land, there can be no expectation for the real estate value to increase through redevelopment {as is common elsewhere}. Perhaps because of this, the units are rarely bought or sold. However, because the location is good, the market for monthly rentals is vibrant. This is a reflection 읽히는 부분 of Korean society’s thoughts about the value of homes. When the vicious cycle of building and destroying gradually diminishes with the end of the high growth era 고도성장기, then the current circumstance 풍토 {lit. “topography”} in which people only care about asset value and ignore usage value {of real estate} will gradually change {for the better}. A July 2017 posting for Sŏsomun Apartments on the real estate website “Peter Pan’s Good Room Search” 피터팬의 좋은 방 구하기 ( stands out. It reads, metro stations are nearby, there are many parks in the area, local markets 재래시장and supermarkets are not far so food shopping is convenient, and the area is safe as there is a police station immediately adjacent. Guessing from the content, this was posted by a young person. The photos attached to the post show the interior tidily arranged {고치다 lit. “repaired/fixed”} and a convenient lifestyle within. This demonstrates well the attraction of downtown sangga apartments.

If one ascends to the rooftop, a wide view of the area unfolds. On the rooftop, aside from the usual flowerpots, washing and various electric cables, a particularly noticeble element on the north end, facing Tongil-ro Road, is an incredible amount of electrical apparatus. This is probably equipment related to mobile communications. Because the building curves one wonders to where the flow of the building continues. The direction of the building points towards Seosomun Park, that is currently under construction. Behind the park, and surrounding it like a folding screen is the enormous combined commercial and residential building of our own era, Brownstone Seoul 브타운스톤. Beyond that is the road running behind Seoul Station. Beneath that street flows Manch’och’ŏn Stream.

Horizontal connectedness and urban etiquette

Despite Sŏsomun Apartments’ enormous size and its quite rough-looking exterior, if one examines it closely they can discover a significant delicacy/finesse to the building. This is particularly demonstrated in its attitude towards the surrounding area. The sangga shops and restaurants on the group floor do not finish with the building, but continue on to surrounding streets. That is to say, the ‘horizontal connectedness’ 가로의 연속성 is extremely well achieved {lit. “managed”}. The two ends of the building are truly interesting for this same aspect. Looking at the opposite end from Tongil-ro Road, the {southern} direction {intersecting with Chungjeong-ro Road} that faces towards the Gyeongeui-Jungang railway line, the line of sangga on this end of the building turns the corner and continues along the adjacent building {on Chungjeong-ro Road}. The apartments above, however, are walled off {i.e. without windows}. Perhaps this end facing the railway was judged not to have enough of a street presence {lit. “street personality”}. It may also have been necessary in order to block the sound from the railway line. However, had they also blocked the sangga at this end, then the flowing line of sangga along the street of  Sŏsomun Apartments that reaches to Chungjeong-ro Road would have been broken.

At the Tongil-ro Road end, the sangga on the corner is constructred in an open manner {i.e. without a pillar or wall on the corner}. Not only that but they have treated the ground plan 평면 {lit. “flat plane”} at this end differently in order to take into account that the end of the building meets together with Tongil-ro not at a right angle, but at an acute angle. As result, the side of the building is exactly parallel Tongil-ro. Additionally, at this end of the building the upper floors all have windows facing Tongil-ro. Although now they are covered with non-transparent sheeting, the originally intention is clear, namely: Sŏsomun Apartments is also a building present on Tongil-ro, one of the main arteries 간선도 {lit. “trunk road”} of Seoul. Sŏsomun Apartments is thus readily fulfilling its urban role that any building situated in its location should have. Unfortunately, such consideration 배려 for the location is not exhibited by the other buildings that have been built in the area since. The adjacent police station 경찰청 is an archetypal authoritarian building surrounded by a fence. The lower floors of the nearby high-rise office buildings behave similarly stern/unfriendly towards the street. With the horizontal connectedness of the area thus broken, Sŏsomun Apartments, too, appears quite diminished, but its clear reading of the surrounding area maintains significant {spatial} meaning.

Passageway through the building between tong 7-8

The point at which Sŏsomun Apartments’ urban finesse is most visible occurs between tong 7 and 8. Here there is an open passage through the building. Sacrificing the place of an extra sangga, they have constructed a passage connecting through to the backstreet running behind the building. As a result, the flow of ground-level sangga starting from Tongil-ro Road connects both to the backstreet of Sŏsomun Apartments, as well as to the Gyeongeui Railway Line end of the building. This is a characteristic virtue 특유의 미덕 of Sŏsomun Apartments that cannot be replicated by current-day apartment complexes, that rather seek to wall off the surround area. This quality is not something to be ignored just because the building is old. Recent buildings could learn from the fundamental attitude of that period when {designers’} reading and interpretation of the city was physically implemented. Namely, they should learn urban etiquette 도시적 예의범절. This is the reason that Sŏsomun Apartments, this experimental work of the developmental period, remains worth protecting 소중하다.

Translated from: Hwang, Tujin (Hwang Doojin) 황두진. 2017. Kajang tosijŏk in sam 가장 도시적인 삶 [The most urban life]. Seoul: Panpi 반비.

Doojin Hwang’s Most Urban Life (2017): Seun Sangga

The following is a draft translation of the chapter on the building(s) “Seun Sangga” from architect Doojin Hwang‘s Kajang tosijŏk in sam 가장 도시적인 삶 [The most urban life], pp283-301.

Seun Sangga is currently known as Sewoon Plaza. See here for a 2019 Korea Exposé feature video on Sewoon Plaza.

Seun Sangga (Sewoon Arcade): a paradoxical lesson

The “Restoration” of Seun Sangga
How was 2016 for Seun Sangga? Like the title of the Frank Sinatra song, perhap “It Was A Very Good Year.” For a start, the policy of “total demolishment [of existing buildings] followed by new construction and creation of green spaces,” that had appeared during the administration of the previous Seoul City mayor (2006-2011), O Se-hun, now entirely ended. This was due both to internal complications and the global economic environment, but received support from UNESCO International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS)’s threat to remove the status of the Jongmyo Royal Shrine should the area become transformed with high rise buildings. Nevertheless, Hyŏndae (Hyundai) Sangga, that had comprised the northernmost end of Seun Sangga, had already been demolished.

Today Seun Sangga (Sewoon Arcade – click for map) is an important pillar (lit. “axle”) in the urban regeneration policy promoted by Seoul City. The Tasi Seun “Seun Again” 다시 새운 project name indicates that at least for the time being, this building’s future is relatively bright. Diverse initiatives 사업 are operating under the banner of “regeneration as tangible mixed culture and industrial spaces” 입체적 복합문화 산업공간. On the verge of being demolished, Seun Sangga has suddenly become a cultural icon of the city. 2016 is also the year in which major construction began to restore the Seun Sangga’s pedestrian deck, or skyway. This revives part of the original concept of Seun Sangga, that had been for it to include a pedestrian skyway extending from Jongno street in the north to Toegyero street in the south. Dividing the project into two halves, either side of the intersecting Euljiro street, design companies were selected through international competition. For stage 1, connecting Jongno with Euljiro, the winner was Modern Vernacular of construction company E_Scape (Kim T’aekpin, Chang Yongsin and Yi Sanggu). For stage 2, that will connect Euljiro to Toegyero, and further include the Namsan pedestrian zone, Italian designer company Modo Studio’s “Open City Platform” was selected in the first half of 2017. So far, as of the second half of 2017, stage 1 has been completed.

Korean society’s interest and emotional attachment towards architecture is extremely insufficient. Prior to Seun Sangga, there is no previous case of so sincerely attempting to restore a privately owned building 민간 – one that hasn’t been designated a cultural treasure – to its original design decades after its construction. The reason for the restoration of Seun Sangga may in part be due to a complicated entanglement of multiple interests across the expansive spatial area that the building occupies. However, an important fact is that the building was designed by Kim Su-gŭn (김수근1931-1986), the most famous Korean designer of modern and contemporary architecture, together with his successors. No other building discussed in this book is so strongly defined by the aura of its designer than in the case of Seun Sangga. Seun Sangga is regularly the subject of all kinds of exhibitions and research. During July-August, 2016, it was the central exhibit at Seoul Museum of History for an exhibition titled “The City is a Line” 도시는 선이다 on former Seoul mayor (1966-1970), “Bulldozer” Kim Hyŏn-ok (1926-1997), who had been Seun Sangga’s key backer 신파역. During September-October, the central yard and rooftop of one of Seun Sangga’s constituent buildings, Taerim Sangga, played host to a dance event that was a part of the Seoul Dance Project 서울댄스프로젝크. We may thus regard 2016 as the year that Seun Sangga’s “restoration” was made official within civil society. In the future, 2016 may even become remembered as the moment in which our appreciation 인식 for old downtown centres 구도심 and all urban architecture fundamentally changed. Many view 2016 as the year that has ushered in a period in which, rather than destroying and rebuilding, we seek to revive and use buildings currently standing.

Although much has been written on Seun Sangga there is not much basic information about the physical building. More interest has been paid to interpretations and attributing meanings, than to collecting sources and quiet observation. To date, Seun sangga wa kŭ iuttŭl『세운상가와 그 이웃들』[Seun Sangga and its Neighbours, 1]  compiled in 2010 by Seoul Museum of History contains the most detailed information, but this book is not for sale 비매품 and can only be consulted at libraries. Only with the promotion of Seun Sangga’s urban restoration is Seoul City now preparing a sourcebook of data. In such a circumstance of insufficient basic sources, the increase in interest about Seun Sangga is not entirely desirable. For example, it is commonly stated that “constructed in 1967, Seun Sangga is Korea’s first multipurpose building combining residential and commercial functions 주상복합건물,” however, this statement only pertains to a tiny part of the building, and – as discussed in the chapter on Chwawŏn Sangga Apartments 좌원상가아파트, according to public records, there is doubt as to whether Seun Sangga actually was the first building to combine residential and commercial functions.

As is well known, the site on which Seun Sangga was built had previously been an evacuation site created in the latter part of the Japanese occupation of Korea (1910-1945) to avoid air raids during the height of the Pacific War. With the site subsequently becoming a slum, Seoul mayor, Kim Hyŏn-ok, proposed to President Park Chung Hee the idea of building a large, combined residential and commercial building. Kim also created the name from se 世 “world” and un 運 “luck” with the meaning that global fortune would gather there, a name that was extremely self-manifesting 자기 현시적, and typical of the developmental era. Kim Su-gŭn was the architect tasked with the design. At the time Kim Su-gŭn was managing a relatively large organization and so he entrusted the job to younger architects under him. However, at the stage of implementation, such key design elements as the pedestrian passage failed to materialize owing to the construction of each section being carried out by multiple different companies. Eventually a bizarre situation ensued in which no one claimed to be the designer. At the time of completion all of the commercial units and apartments proved popular, but once the brief moment of popularity cooled and the building(s) began to age, it became subjected to the valid criticism that it was an urban monstrosity. From “anarchronistic idea” to “principal offender in ruining Seoul’s urban structure,” various pointed {lit. “sharp-bladed”} criticisms gushed forth. In her work, Han’guk ŭi ap’at’ŭ yŏn’gu  [Research on Korean Apartments] (아연출판부 2004), French scholar Valérie Gelézeau, concisely branded it “a complete failure.”

(L) South end of Seun Electric Arcade, (R) North end of Ch’ŏnggye Sangga.

A failed utopia?
Accepting this public (lit. “earthly / mundane”) debate, the following summarizes Seun Sangga’s external appearance. From north to south, Seun Sangga comprises the following eight buildings: Hyŏndae Sangga (demolished in 2008), Seun Sangga Ka-dong (currently Seun Electric Arcade 세운전자상가 {“Ka-dong” indicates “Block A” but the buildings do not maintian the counting system}), Ch’ŏnggye Sangga, Taerim Sangga, Samp’ung Sangga (currently Sampoong Nexus / Samp’ung Neksŏsŭ), P’ungjŏn Hotel (Poonjeon Hotel currently PJ Hotel), Sinsŏng Sangga (currently Inhyŏn Sangga) and Chin’yang Sangga. The total length is 945 metres, extending from Jongno street, crossing Cheonggyecheonno street, Euljiro, and Mareunnae-gil road through to Toegyero street. The earliest building to be completed was Seun Sangga Ka-dong, approved for use 사용승인을 받다 on 17 November, 1967. The last to be complete was P’ungjŏn Hotel, approved on 31 December 1982. The time difference being as much as 15 years should be noted. However, there are opinions that the actual completion of construction 준공일 was earlier, and so it is hard to be certain. Supplementary construction causes a new approval for usage 사용승인 so the final date may have been delayed for this reason.

In the end, P’ungjŏn Hotel has quite a different aspect to the other buildings. Underground there is a spacious car park. The fact that the Car Park Law 주차장법 was enacted in 1979 is profoundly important. Contemporary architecture researcher, Chŏng Taŭn 정다은, informs us that rather than a car park the basement of P’ungjŏn Hotel original had a high class supermarket. According to a Maeil kyŏngje 매일경제신문newspaper article of 23 June 1970, despite initial fears, “Samp’ung Syup’ŏmak’it’ŭ” 삼풍슈퍼마키트, considered a revolution in structural circulation, was running smoothly. Even President Park Chung Hee had attended its opening on 7 November, 1968. Ten years later than had occurred in the origin place {of supermarkets} in America, one can imagine the revolutionary social atmosphere of the time. Combined sangga (arcade)-apartments 상가아파트 were the site of that experiment.

The first newspaper article to inform of “the opening of Seun Sangga” was on 26 July, 1967. It even gives the time as 2pm. Then first lady, Yuk Yŏngsu (1925-1974) and mayor Kim Hyŏn-ok participated. The building which opened was Seun Sangga Ka-dong. The official approval for use was still several months aways, on 17 November, but because commercial units opened first on the first and second floors the opening day was that much earlier. In other words, the sangga apartments were still under construction. As indicated by the differing names, each building was constructed by a different company. Among them, Hyŏndae (Hyundai), Taerim and Samp’ung are well known. One lesser known company, Sinsŏng Construction (신성건설) would subsquently revive its experience of constructing a giant building combining residential and commercial functions, completing Yujin Sangga in Hong’eun-dong on 6 July, 1971.

However, because the construction companies differed from one another, it proved difficult to realize a common conceptualization. In the case of the pedestrian deck, that was a key element running through the entire building, the section crossing Mareunnae-gil road to connect P’ungjŏn Hotel and Sinsŏng Sangga was never constructed. Subsequently the deck along Cheonggyecheon stream, and the P’ungjŏn Hotel deck were removed during remodelling in 2004 and 2006, respectively. Thus the total connectivity of the deck was never completed and it has now been some time since significant portions that had been constructed disappeared. Of course, efforts to restore the concept are now underway, but viewing the situation in its entirety, we can appreciate how problematic it is to approach a composite-type building as enormous and as historically complex 사연 많다 as this if we reduce it to the single name of “Seun Sangga.” A more profitable approach may rather be to conceptualize it as different buildings while seeking to creating a common denominator among them.

(L) North end of Sampoong Nexus, (R) South end of Chin’yang Sangga

A challenge not attempted by others
Both then and now, the largest object of dispute concerning Seun Sangga is the deck, that is the skyway 공중가로. Of course, the concept of a skyway, in which cars pass on the road below and pedestrians walk above, is not unique to Seun Sangga. Globally, it was a period dominated by ambitions to construct a new society through enormous buildings that would overcome past contraditions and heal 복구하다 the wounds of war. Japan tried to apply a biological system to cities and architecture through Metabolism architecture (新陳代謝 shinchintaisha). The Singaporean equivalents to Seun Sangga, People’s Park Complex and Golden Mile Complex were constucted in 1973 and 1974, respectively. The skyway concept had already been introduced in the 1960s under the name of “Streets in the Sky” by architects Alison & and Peter Smithson, who were associated with Britain’s New Brutalism movement. This had actually been proposed as a method to alleviate the problem of traffic accidents in London; it is doubtful if Korea at that time could claim the same problem. However, more than anyone, Kim Su-gŭn was sensitive to the directions in global architecture, and he knew how to utilize them in his own career.

In order to make a large number of people climb to a second-floor walkway there needs to be a particular inducement. A skyway without such motivation has no purpose. The reason that the Pedway, a 1960s’ experimental network of skywalks in London, failed was similarly due to the lack of a strong motivator. Seun Sangga was no different. The only inducements to the deck were illegal vices 음란물 and so it acquired a dishonorable reputation 불명예. In this way, the negative opinions towards Seun Sangga were actually largely due to the fault of the abandoned skyway. It is said that the entire building gradually became a slum but even now the interiors, especially the inner courtyards, are in comparatively fine condition. During site visits, several residents I met spoke of their worry that the rent will increase. This indicates there is demand for the apartments. Having undergone extensive remodelling, both Samp’ung Sangga and P’ungjŏn Hotel look as tidy and clean recompensing for their [former] shame at the dishonorable rumours. Let us imagine that from the beginning, rather than placing the skyways on the exterior sides of the building, there had been a single skywalk running through the middle that passed through each of the central courtyards. That is, rather than the central courtyards being only for the use of residents, as they currently are, if they had been open to pedestrians as a public space. How might it have been if they had realized the same kind of close relation that other sangga apartment buildings have formed with the streets, but with an elevated skyway?

After its former glory and shame, and miraculous survival, Seun Sangga has now pledged a new life in the name of urban regeneration. Here there is a need to ask again the fundamental question about the role of architecture and architects. To criticize Seun Sangga as a failed utopia may be a justified position if viewed only from the end result. It is also extremely easy to do. However, if one is not careful, such a view gives birth to a defeatism in which the sheer act of dreaming about, or imagining the future becomes futile. Just as with all human behaviour, in architecture, simply repeating the same methods to a point of refinement does not at all guarantee success (lit. “constitute basic achievement” 근본적인 성취가 이루어지지 않다). Someone has to take on challenges, and attempt that which others have not. However, we have reached a limit in the current habit, and effectiveness in trying to realize (lit. “resolve”) our future through importing previous examples from other countries. We need to know how to make creatively original – and thus potentially lonely – decisions that are based on intensive observation and analysis of our {local} reality. A symbol of a failed utopia, yet one that has somehow beaten the weight of time: that is the paradoxical lesson of Seun Sangga.

Translated from: Hwang, Tujin (Hwang Doojin) 황두진. 2017. Kajang tosijŏk in sam 가장 도시적인 삶 [The most urban life]. Seoul: Panpi 반비.

Kim Shiduck’s Conflict City (2019): Ch.18 Seongnam City

The following is a draft translation of Chapter 18 “Seongnam: Gwangju Daedanji, Bundang, and Pangyo New Towns” from the book Kaldŭng tosi 갈등 도시 [Conflict city] (2019), by Kim Shiduck (김시덕 Kim Sidŏk).

Kaldŭng tosi 갈등 도시 [Conflict city] (Paju: Yŏllinch’aektŭl 열린책들, 2019)

Chapter 18. Seongnam: Gwangju Daedanji, Bundang, and Pangyo New Towns

As is well known, Seongnam City is broadly divided into three parts {namely: the original downtown of Jungwon-gu, Bundang-gu, and Pangyo}. From the 1960s, the urban poor of Seoul were forcibly relocated to Gwangju Daedanji housing site, which has become Sujeong-gu and Jungwon-gu districts of northeastern Seongnam. Between 1962-1985 this area hosted the military prison camp 육군교도소 beneath Namhan Mountain Fortress and was thus very much a frontier region of greater Seoul. Those who were in the army at this time would be familiar with the expression “going to Namhan Mountain Fortress.” Another name for the prison was Hwimangdae (희망대 “hope platform”) and because there were few other distinctive features, Hwimangdae became a general name for the whole area. Residents of houses in the area of Hwimang Park 희망 대공원, that was first constructed around that time, have recently nearly all been relocated due to current redevelopment.

In 1963 the administrative region of Seoul City was greatly expanded. As the incoming population from the provinces continued to increase, the government and Seoul City implemented policies to demolish the city slums {빈민촌 lit. “village of poor citizens”} and forcibly relocate their residents to the outskirts of Seoul and to the surrounding Gyeonggi (Kyŏnggi) Province. Relocation began in 1969 and by 1971 the population of this region had reached around 150-170 thousand. Seongnam administrative office 출장소 was established by the Gyeonggi authorities in the vicinity of the current Seongnam branch of E-Mart. This continued to function as the Seongnam city hall until 2009. Still today, the bus station named “(Old) City Hall, Sinheung 1 dong, Administrative Welfare Center” (구)시청. 신흥 1동 행정복지 센터, testifies to the Gwangju Daedanji period of the area’s local history.

From satellite images of Taepyeong-dong district north of E-Mart, one can readily see the area has been divided up into closely clustered square plots. What can’t be seen from the satellite images but becomes readily apparent upon visiting is that this area is a relatively large hill. They say that the authorities drew the plots as lines in the mud on the denuded hillside, then loaded Seoul urban poor onto trucks and threw them off at this place. Given that the topography has not changed since then, we can still appreciate that if one looks down the valley from the top of the hill the height perspective becomes muddled. Not long ago, this phenomenon trended online as “Seongnam Inception.” It may sound nice to reference Inception but in reality the valley is so narrow that local buses cannot enter, and the hill is high, so for several decades the residents have had to endure great inconvenience.

If one walks the narrow streets that were the original downtown area 원도심 (wŏndosim) of Seongnam, one can see such shop signs as “cooperative market” 공판장that one usually sees in old (rural) villages, but at the same time there are also advertisement signs referencing place names in Gangnam {the southern central district of Seoul City} such as Yeongdong 영동 or Cheongdam 청담. Travelling around South Korea today, one often sees redevelopment and reconstruction projects that are modelled on Seoul’s Gangnam. Through such street signs one can confirm that in the original downtown area of Seongnam, too, conflict occurs between residents who try to live in the area as it original was, and those who, through such names as ‘redevelopment,’ ‘new town,’ or ‘urban revitilization,’ are ultimately seeking to change it. The area of Chungdong 중동, for example, that used to function as a redlight district on the outskirts of greater Seoul, is now being redeveloped into high-rise apartment complexes. In this manner, the original downtown of Seongnam that had once been called Gwangju Daedanji 광주 대단지 is erasing its past and assuming a new shape. There is one small neighbourhood of urban poor located to the southwest of Bokjeong Station 복정역, on the border between Seoul and Seongnam that remains as a last ‘urban fossil’ from the Gwangju Daedanji period.

It is common for urban poor to work as day laborers in the center of the city, so that is where they need to live. There is the case when, after the fire at Guk’il gosiwon 고시원 residence in Jongno district {central Seoul} on 9 November, 2018, Seoul City government found temporary accommodation for the survivors on the outskirts of the city, but those survivors ignored the offer. The case of Gwangju Daedanji was similar. Those who first relocated to Gwangju Daedanji returned to Seoul after just a few months. The land became the object of complicated real estate deals. While the government sought to impose controls, during July-August of 1971 a citizen uprising occurred {Gwangju Daedanji}, an event rare in Korea’s contemporary history. The military governments of Park Chung Hee and Chun Doo Hwan both responded fiercely to anti-government struggles of workers {i.e. organized labour} and students, but they responded more moderately both in the case of the Gwangju Daedanji incident, and that of the Mok-dong struggle 목동 투쟁 {that occurred in 1985}. In the case of Gwangju Daedanji, aside from the sentencing of twenty-two participants, the government and Seoul City accepted the residents’ demands {for promised infrastructure and support}, and thus the city of Seongnam came to be born.

In Seongnam today, opinions collide between those who want to accept Gwangju Daedanji as the origin 원형 {lit. “original shape”} of Seongnam and those who oppose this. In 2017 when I was writing my previous book, Seoul Proclamation (서울 선언Sŏl sŏn’ŏn) and posted to a social network service that I would include mention of Seongnam, I was contacted by several persistent persons who expressed that they would be watching in what manner I would treat the relationship between Gwangju Daedanji and Seongnam. I guess that these people were not residents of the original downtown whose relocation there as urban poor marked the beginning of Seongnam, but rather those residing in Bundang-gu district who had moved south into Seongnam through the expansion of Seoul’s Gangnam. When exploring on the ground in September 2018 I had the chance to confirm this conflict between Seongnam’s original downtown district, and Bundang new town. I photographed graffiti from the mens’ toilet at Moran subway station (Bundang Line) located between the original downtown and Bundang (see photo on p446 “Seongnam f***ers, do not cross into Bundang…”).

In any city there are conflicts between areas, but the conflict between the original downtown of Seongnam and Bundang is known to be particularly extreme. The conflict has even extended to a movement for an independent Bundang city. In an effort to resolve the conflict it seems as though Seongnam city hall has been positioned centrally between the original downtown and Bundang. However, if one actually walks around the area, in between the original downtown and the city hall, they have established a natural park area, whereas one can walk directly between the city hall and Bundang so in reality the city hall has been relocated from the original downtown to Bundang. Currently in provincial cities around Korea, as the main administrative offices 관청 are relocated from the old centres to the new towns, the old centres are being left hollowed out, with only hollow calls for their regeneration. Unfortunately, Seongnam is no exception.

Constructed 형성 in 1989, Bundang New Town separated from the old Seongnam city centre of Jungwon-gu to become Bundang-gu in 1991. Ironically {흥미론운 것은}, the residents of Bundang-gu are now opposing the establishment of an independent Pangyo-gu that would involve the separation of Pangyo New Town from Bundang. There are various reasons that Bundang residents oppose the establishment of Pangyo-gu, but we may speculate that because the Pangyo is best known for the Naver offices 네이버 사옥, were Pangyo New Town to gain independence, Bundang’s own fame would be considerably weakened.

The two new towns of Bundang and Pangyo are typically characterized as extensions of Gangnam, and regularly  referred to as “Gangnang 5th district” 강남 5구 or “secondary Gangnam” 준강남. However, the aspect of this conflict on which I wish to focus are the voices of residents from the period when the area was comprised of farming villages and simply a part of Gyeonggi Province 농촌 경기도 시절. Such voices reveal their existence beneath the new towns. The conflicts between the original downtown and Bundang, and between Bundang and Pangyo are both ultimately conflicts related to class identity occurring between different migrant groups from Seoul. However, similar to other surrounding areas of Seoul, present-day Seongnam was originally an agricultural region 농업지역 of Gyeonggi Province. Those people who have moved to the new towns ignore this fact, but there were people living in this area before the new towns were built, and during the period of construction, considerable conflict occurred between those original inhabitants, and the development companies and local authorities 행정당국. After the construction of the new towns, a minority of those inhabitants such as the landowners re-settled in the area, but the remaining majority were pushed out.

The first new towns began to be constructed around Gwacheon, Seoul and Gyeonggi in the 1980s. Within the new town communities there is now a second generation that thinks of the new towns as their own “native homeland,” kohyang 고향. Among them, there is now a movement to document and preserve the (first generation) apartment complexes such as the Chu-Gong apartments 주공아파트 {that were built by Taehan Housing Construction Company 대한주택공사}.[1] Although not a first generation new town, such affection for new towns as this is exemplified in the following passage from a record text discussing Chu-Gong apartments in Gangnam, Seoul. “Why are we still only able to think about destroying (밀어 버리다) all things? Why do we so readily accept the loss of important things?” {Yi In-gyu. 2016. Ap’at’ŭ sup 아파트 숲 [Apartment Forest]. Maŭl e sum’ŏ 마을에숨어}. It is obvious, however, that even before the construction of the new town there were farm villages 농촌that to somebody else were [equally] beautiful and important. It is not only Chu-Gong apartments that have been someone’s valued kohyang, and in greater Seoul it is not only apartments that should be the object of preservation.

When conflict arises among residents who have either moved from central Seoul to the outskirts, or from Seoul City to surrounding towns, the residents of the Gyeonggi period farm villages either quietly hide themselves or 가만히reveal their presence. Thus, when looking at the new towns of Gyeonggi Province that are on the outskirts of greater Seoul, it is key to examine what relations are formed and what conflicts arise between the following three groups: the residents of the Gyeonggi period farm villages, the first generation of migrants who moved from Seoul, and the second generation who were born in the new towns.

I have identified two sites of heritage in Seongnam City that pertain to the Gyeonggi period farm villages. In one corner of Songhyeon Park 송현공원 {Google Maps link}, located behind a high-rise apartment complex in Pangyo on the west side of the Bundang-Suseo Expressway, there is a stele erected in 1990 (Tan’gi 4323) named “Stele Cherishing Tonggan Village” 동간 마을 모향비 (慕鄕碑 lit. “Kohyang-cherishing stele”). Donggan is a village that was located in this area prior to the development of the new town. The stele is earnestly inscribed with the thoughts of the original residents, who at the time of departure yearned for a kohyang that was about to disappear, presumably having received appropriated compensation for the land. However, the Tonggan Village Stele is not marked on the park information board for Songhyeon Park. The obvious fact that people used to live here is ignored and forgotten. This is in stark contrast to the yangban {former class of scholar-officials} grave(s) and house(s) from the Gyeonggi period of farm villages that proudly occupy the Bundang Central Park. Reading the text of the Donggan Village Stele, one realizes that the plight of residents who had to leave their kohyang in accordance with national policy, was no different to the plight of those who had once resided beside the Han River {central Seoul} but were forcibly moved away {lit. “move inland”} due to redevelopment of the river area. In both cases they were “people who had lost their kohyang” 제자리 실향민. For this reason the first passage of the Donggan Village Stele mentions those who had lost their kohyang 실향민 through Korea’s division and the Korean War. It pains me that the existence of this village and stele is ignored by the residents of Seongnam New Town and so, although it is quite long, I reproduce the full text below. There is also a concern that the stele will be removed by someone with no interest in the period when Seongnam was a rural area of villages. There are many cases throughout the country where stelae commemorating former villages have been rudely locked away in storehouses.

Feelings (chŏng 정) gush forth at the new town.
The 38th Parallel (at which we feel) bitter resentment, and compatriots who left their local homelands (kohyang)!
Painful fate! With sorrow (han 한) drenched in blood,
The pain in our hearts is similar to feelings (chŏng) for our compatriots.
There is also hope in the fresh name of a “new town.”
Even though we try to bear the pain of leaving our kohyang,
There are circumstances of worry for the feeling of loss at going far away.
The mountains and streams of our kohyang where our ancestors’ grace and achievements 은공 have accumulated,
Human feelings (chŏng) have accumulated through those many years!
One can encounter the feelings (chŏng) of neighbours that cannot be forgotten.
Lament the mountains, rivers, grass and trees of the village we love!
However, we must bear {our pain}, and must find a new way.
Prepare a new home at a new place not far away.
Gazing at the site of our kohyang, still deeper feelings will arise.
With thoughts of divided families, we will cultivate love for the country
Without forgetting the dream of our kohyang that is etched in our bones
Let us make flowers bloom and beautifully establish them as a tower of flowers that will be the new town!
Let us make these rivers and mountains of our ancestral land 조국 into our kohyang all together!
Let us continue the accumulated achievements of those sacred and wise patriots!

Tan’gi 4323 August, Kim Ki-yong of Sasong-dong, Seongnam City

Concerning the position and name of the village
The former address was: 1 t’ong 2 pan, Sasong-dong, Sucheong-gu, Seongnam City. It was on the east side of the four villages comprising 1 t’ong local district, and was on the south side of the nearby mountain valley close to Sut-nae (“charcoal stream”) 숯내 炭川. Today it is in the vicinity of Seon’gyeong Apartments, building 113, Hatap-dong, Bundang-gu. The two mountain peaks east of the village strangely form an entrance to the village, that from the village was called tonggu’an “east entrance.” This gradually change to tonggan (Donggan) and became the name of the village.

Village history
In the mountains to the south there is an area of flat land of several hundred p’yŏng where there is the remains of a tiled house and path that is called “the original site” (said to have been the site of an inn for long-distance travellers) that dates to before the settling of the village. It is said that at the bottom of the mountain to the north there lived the Yi clan {family/descent group} 李氏. On the neighboring mountain there are two sites with grave stones but the dates are unknown. More certain is that around 300 hundred years ago, a person of the Ŭiryŏng (Uiryeong) Nam clan 南氏, who had moved here from Chingni, Kwangju-myŏn (Jingni Gwangju-myeon) 광주면 직리 and held the office of tongch’u 同樞, was buried by his children on the mountain behind the village. They also built a tiled house. Their arrival marks the beginning of the village. Their descendants have since moved to other areas. About 80 years ago, at the time that Chairman Kim Ku {independence activist, 1876-1949} escaped from Incheon Prison, several friends and brothers from {a branch of} the Kyŏngju (Gyeongju) Kim clan that had been living in Osan 오산 and who had been involved in an incident in which they killed Japanese soldiers, moved here in order to avoid the Japanese police. The number of houses increased and the village gained greater recognition. Thereafter the following families arrived and lived here affectionately {lit. “with deep chŏng”} each for several years. Before liberation, members of the Raju Chŏng (Raju Jeong) clan 라주 丁氏 came from Piasu 비아수 and lived here for around 30 years, while the Chinju Yi (Jinju Yi) 진주李氏 of Songhyeon-dong came around liberation for 20 years. Among the many refugees of the Korean War, the Ch’ŏlwŏn (Cheolwon) Chŏn (Jeon) 全氏 and Sim 沈氏  clans, and Chŏn (Jeon) of Hamgyŏng Province came and lived here for around 20 years. After the war, the Ch’ilwŏn Yun 尹氏 came from Nam’yang and lived here around 20 years. At the time of development {of Seongnam City} the Kyŏngju Kim of Yesan, South Ch’ungch’ŏng (Chungcheong) Province came and lived together, also for 20 years. Several other families lived here affectionately 정붙여 for a few and moved on. At the time of development the original residents 원주민comprised twenty houses/families of the Nam and Kim clans, together with several houses of new arrivals.

Characteristics of the village
The height, size and direction of two mountains formed a subtly wondrous 묘하게entranceway to the village. One was the last peak in a line that rises to the east behind the village; this was called  Ponghwang-dae (“Phoenix Platform”), and was where one could view the moon. The other was the last peak of the mountains in front of the village, beyond the grove of tall pines and poplar trees. The two peaks created a special effect as if they were guarding the village. On the east side of Ponghwang-dae was a medicinal-water spring that could reduce allergic reactions to lacquer trees 옻나무. Outside of the east entrance of the village was the clear Sut-nae steam, on which a water wheel turned for many decades. The mountain in front of the village was shaped like a boat and thickly grown with old pines. There many flocks of white herons would seasonally gather and nest. Beside the large well in the centre of the village that suckled {the village} for generations was a hawthorn tree some 200 years old that would be the first to bloom each spring with yellow flowers. To the back of the village and on either side was a mountain ridge thickly covered in chestnut and other trees and plants that provided a natural barrier against the wind. This coziness, like a samt’aegi three-sided straw basket, together with their being richly fertile fields in front of the village led passersby to remark on the village’s subtle wondrousness 묘하다는 마을. At various times of war and trouble the village became a place of refuge. We now raise this stele in commemoration of this place of deep affection and the affectionate scenes 정경 that with development {of Pangyo New Town} have disappeared without a trace.

Erected in the autumn of 1993, Tan’gi year 4326 by the members of the Association Cherishing their Native Home of Donggan Village.

Today, in an effort to preserve the identity from the Gyeonggi period farm villages, those who had once farmed this land prior to the establishment of Pangyo New Town have created an exhibition of agricultural artifacts at the Naksaeng Nonghyeop (Nonghyup agricultural bank) building. Those migrants {from Seoul} view Pangyo only as an extension of Seoul and a new destination for middle-class migration. They want to imagine that local history of the area connects directly from the twenty-first century to the mid-Chosŏn dynasty, to a small government office of P’an’gyowŏn 板橋院, from which the area took its name but that disappeared at the time of the Japanese invasions {1592-1598}. However, the Naksaeng Nonghyeop exhibition of agricultural artifacts is quietly shouting at such migrants that, until just a few decades ago there was a village called Naksaeng that was inhabited by farmers, and those [former] village residents are still living in this area {such that they organized this exhibition}. Concerning Naksaeng Village, one can consult  Hyangt’to munhwa ch’ongsŏng 8: Naksaeng maŭl chi 『향토문화총서 8: 낙생마을지』 [The complete collection of local culture, vol.8: Gazetteer of Naksaeng Village]. Additionally Seongnam Culture Centre 성남문화원 has documented 기억을 정히하다 rural Seongnam from the period that it was a part of Kwangju (Gwangju) County by publishing gazetteers for each of the villages that disappeared with the development of new towns. These include P’angyo, Taewang, Pokchŏng, T’aep’yŏng, Kŭmgwang, Tandae, Sadaewŏn and Tolma (Pangyo, Daewang, Bokjeong, Taepyeong, Geumhwang, Dandae, Sadaewon and Dolma). It is a wonderful project.

[1] Translator’s Note: The term chugong ap’at’ŭ 주공아파트 refers to government subsidized apartments built by Taehan Housing Construction Company 대한주택공사. Such apartments were built as part of government housing policy from the 1970s onwards, they were aimed at low to middle wage families. The first and still iconic Chu-Gong apartments were built at Banpo-dong, Seocho District of Gangnam, Seoul. Through to the mid-1980s the Chu-Gong apartments complexes were typically five-storey buildings. Today, most have been replaced or are in the process of redevelopment.

Translated from Kim, Sidŏk, Kaldŭng tosi 갈등 도시 [Conflict city] (Paju: Yŏllinch’aektŭl 열린책들, 2019), 441-453.

Professor Kwon Oh Young on Early Korean History

Why study history? In order not to behave weirdly!
역사는 왜 공부하느냐 이상한 짓을 하지 않기 위해서 공부하는 것이죠.

Henceforth, our history education should [teach] an open kind of nationalism and show consideration towards others.
앞으로 우리의 역사 교육은 열린 민족주의 그리고 상대방에 대한 배려.

Now is the time to do so.
이제는 우리가 그렇게 할 때가 됐습니다.

I’m Professor Kwon Oh Young (Kwŏn O-yŏng). I work at the History Department of Seoul National University. I study and teach students about ancient Korean history.
저는 서울대학교 인문대학 국사학과에 근무하고 있는 권오영 교수 입니다. 한국고대사를 공부하고 우리 학생들을 가르치고 그런 일을 하고 있습니다.

Why study history? We study in order not to behave weirdly!
역사는 왜 공부하느냐. 이상한 짓을 하지 않기 위해서 공부하는 것이죠.

If we allow Nazi-like historiography into our heads, we start to ignore and hold in disdain the minorities and foreigners around us. We become racist and develop aggressive thoughts that then become policies. It’s not okay.
만약에 우리의 머릿속에 나치즘 같은 역사학이 들어와 있다고 한다면 주변에 대해서 소수인들 아니면 외국인들에 대해서 무시하고 경멸하고. 우리가 인종주의에 빠져서 침략적인 그런 사고를 갖고 정책을 펴는 것은 안 되겠죠?

Conversely, if we develop a historical consciousness of slaves such as with which colonial period scholars sought to indoctrinate us, or if we accept a history of submission, it’s also not okay.
또 반대로 일제 식민사학자들이 그렇게 노력했던 우리 한국인의 머릿속에 노예근성을 넣으려고 했던 역사인식을 우리가 갖게 되거나 그건 또 우리가 굴종의 역사를 감수하고 살게 되는, 안 되는 것이겠죠.

I have to study my whole life, but I will still know less than I don’t know. 저도 평생을 공부해야 되지만 아는 것보다 모르는 게 많습니다

If you look at Youtube, there are countless people speaking with [feigned] confidence. People who have studied neither law nor medicine, and yet they’ll be saying, “This medicine cures all. It makes you look younger, and cures cancer.” Such people have no sense of responsibility. It can’t be helped. They are not specialists.
유튜브 틀어 보면 그런 이야기들을 막 자신 있게 하는 분들이 (얼마나) 많은지 법률적인, 의학적인 공부를 하지 않은 사람이 ‘만병통치약 있는데, 이거 먹으면 얼굴도 젊어지고 암도 낫는다, 이것 먹어봐’ 이런 이야기를 그분들은 책임감은 없어요. ‘아니면 말고’예요. 전문가가 아니니까.

But if normal citizens come under their influence, many develop aggressive ideas about history. They develop discriminatory and racist historical ideas towards Chinese, Japanese and Southeast Asians. When youngsters take responsibility for the future and promote such diplomatic strategies, do historians not feel any sense of responsibility?
그러한 영향을 받아서 만약에 우리 일반 시민, 많은 국민들이 침략적인 역사인식을 갖거나 중국, 일본이나 동남 아시아에 대해서 민족차별적인, 인종주의적인 역사인식을 갖고 그 젊은이들이 대한민국의 미래를 책임지고 그런 외교 전략을 펼쳤을 때, 역사가들은 책임감이 없습니까

They do. It means they failed at teaching proper history.
있죠. 제대로 역사교육을 못한 거죠.

Henceforth, our history education should teach an open kind of nationalism, and considerations towards others. Now is the time to do so.
이제 앞으로 우리의 역사 교육은 좀 열린 민족주의 그리고 상대방에 대한 배려. 이제 우리가 그렇게 할 때가 됐습니다.

The period when we were oppressed and beaten is passed. We, too, should develop warmth towards immigrant women and workers, and [other] minorities. We should narrate a history that can show them consideration. Will we forever only teach how Yŏn Kaesomun (Yeon Gaesomun) and Ŭlji Mundŏk (Eulji Mundeok) caused such great slaughter of the Tang and Sui armies, in order to feel proud? Such historical ideas are utilized in discrimination against people from other places. It’s not okay. 우리가 그렇게 얻어맞고 치이고 이런 시절은 지났잖아요. 우리도 따뜻한 마음을 가지고 이주민 여성들, 노동자들, 아니면 소수인들 이런 분들에 대해서도 우리가 배려할 수 있는 그런 역사인식을 이야기를 해줘야지. 언제까지 우리가 젊은이들에게 연개소문이 당나라 군대를, 을지문덕이 수나라 군대를 마구마구 학살하는 것을 보여 주면서 자부심을 느끼고 그 자부심을 가지고서 다른 지역에서 들어온 분들에 대해서 차별하는 이런 사고방식이 이용되는 역사, 그것만큼은 안 되겠죠.

History should not teach ethnic chauvinism, but show that in the process of our development we both fought to the death with other groups, and also got on well with them, sometimes allying against common enemies. Then our descendants can properly establish and negotiate their way through the 21st century. It’s with this in mind that I wrote a book [The maritime silk road and early states of East Asia (2020)].
역사학도 우리 민족 제일주의가 아니라 우리 민족이 이렇게 만들어지는 데에는 주변에 다양한 집단들과 죽기 살기로 싸우기도 했고, 사이좋게 지내기도 했고 공동의 적을 놔두고 손 잡기도 하고, 이런 다향한 모습을 보여줘야지만 우리 후손들이 앞으로 21세기를 제대로 설계하고 헤체나갈 수 있겠다. 그런 생각을 해서 제가 책을 쓰게 된 작은 이유가 거기에 있습니다.

All excavation involves destructive actions. There are few countries that have dug up as much of their land as Korea has over the past 20-30 years. Digging up the country at such speed means that our generation has destroyed more than 90% of the cultural relics that had been buried for thousands of years. Then again, apartments, roads and dams must all be built. We can’t not develop because of archaeological remains. What is required is a method to minimize the damage to remains. And not to build apartments where remains are concentrated.
모든 발굴은 파괴행위를 수반하지 않을 수가 없습니다. 우리 사회처럼 20-30년 동안 전국토를 이렇게 빠른 속도를 파헤친 국가는 그다지 많지 않을 것이에요. ‘빠른 속도로 전국토를 파헤친다’는 이야기는 수천 년 동안 이어져왔던 우리 문화유산, 땅속에 있는 문화유산을 우리 세대가 거의 90% 이상 파괴한 겁니다. 하지만 주택도 짓고, 도로도 만들고, 댐도 만들어야 되는데 유적 때문에 개발을 안 할 수 없죠. 그럼 방법은 개발을 하더라도 유적의 피해를 최소화하자. 유적이 밀집되어 있는 지역에는 아파트를 짓지 말자.

Unfortunately in southern Seoul, there’s not a single street without apartments. Songpa district {southeastern Seoul} is the perfect location [for real estate]. There’s a view of the Han River, and mountains close by. Naturally there will be people who want to build apartment,s and to exercise their right to own property. The problem is that there are archaeological remains under the gound. We must at least seek a mutual consensus, but it’s never easy.
근데 불행히도 서울이 강남은 아파트를 짓지 않을 도리가 없잖아요. 특히 송파구 일대는 정말 좋은 환경이지 않습니까. 한강이 보이고 주변에 산도 있고 당연히 아파트를 짓고 재산권을 행사하고 싶어 하는 주민들이 있죠. 그런데 문제는 그 지하에 유적이 있죠. 최소한 우리 사회에서 일치된 이런 합의되는 부분을 찾아야 하는데 그것이 쉽지 않습니다.

The last capital of the Paekche (Baekje) kingdom (4th century – 660) before being overthrown was at current day Buyeo {South Chungcheong province}. And before that it’s capital was at current day Gongju {South Chungcheong province}. The problem is the early period, that seems as if clouded in fog. Where was Paekche’s first capital? It’s not only us who aren’t sure. The top intellectuals of the Koryŏ period (Goryeo 918-1392) who compiled Samguk Sagi (Histories of the Three Kingdoms, 1145) and Samguk Yusa (Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms, c.1283) in the 12th and 13th centuries also didn’t know.
백제가 멸망할 때 수도는 지금의 부여지 않습니까. 그리고 그 앞에 수도는 공주였다는 것도 의심하지 않습니다. 문제는 이 구름이 자욱하고 안개가 자욱한 것 같은 초기 역사예요. 백제의 최초의 왕성이 어디에 있느냐 문제는 지금 우리만 모르는 것이 아니라,  <삼국사기>혹은 <삼국유사>를 집필한 12세기 13세기 고려시대의 최고 지식인들도 모르는 겁니다.

However, during the 20th and 21st centuries younger archeologists have solved the problem. So does that mean they have much higher IQs than Kim Pusik or Iryŏn {compilers of the Samguk sagi and Samguk yusa}, or Tasan {Chŏng Yak-yong 1762-1836} who were unable to solve the problem? It doesn’t. It’s because we’ve accumulated our academic capacity. The volume of information we have now is incomparable to before.
그런데 문제는 20세기 21세기 들어와서 젊은 고고학자들이 풀어요. 그럼 그 사람들이 훨씬 위대한 아이큐가 높은 학자이기 때문에 김부식과 일연, 다산 선생이 못푼 문제를 풀은 것이냐? 아닙니다. 우리의 학문적인 역량이 축적되어 왔기 때문에 지금의 정보의 양과는 비교할 수가 없어요.

Concerning Paekche’s first capital there have been countless views. In the 1980s there were two opposing camps split between those who favored Mongch’on (Mongchon) earthen fortress {Olympic Park, Songpa-du district}, and Isŏng (Iseong) fortress in Hanam {c.11km due east of Mongchon}. But the excavation which decided things was the P’ungnap (Pungnap) earthen fortress excavation of 1997 {also located within the Olympic Park adjacent to Mongchon earthen fortress}.
백제의 초기 왕성에 대해서는 수많은 견해가 있었고80년대는 2파전이었죠. 몽촌토성설과 하남의 이성산성설의 주장으로 갈라졌습니다. 그런데 그 설을 결정적으로 끝장을 낸 발굴이 바로 1997년부터 이루어진 풍납토성 발구이다.

Many people thought that the P’ungnap site had already been entirely destroyed but there hadn’t been any excavations there since the 1960s. Due to the high population density of people living there, it was no longer a candidate site for excavations. But in early 1997, Yi Hyŏnggu (Lee Hyeonggu) of Sun Moon University secretly infiltrated the initial ground-breaking for apartments that were to be built within the P’ungnap site.
많은 사람들이 풍납토성은 이미 다 파괴가 되었다고 생각을 했어요. 그런데 풍납토성은 60년대에 아주 간단한 발굴이후에는 안 했습니다. 4만 8천명이 사는 인구 밀집 사는 인구 밀집 지역으로 바뀌었기 때문에 후보에서 빠졌던 거예요. 근데 97년도에 지금은 이제 은퇴하신 선문대학의 이형구 교수님이란 분이 연초에 풍납토성 내부에서 아파트를 짓기 위한 터파기 공사를 하는데 몰래 잠입을 했어요.

Four metres below the current surface he discovered the early Paekche remains in situ. Following his report, national institutes quickly invested in excavations revealing the site’s entirety. While investigating the fortress walls, they estimated it would have taken more than two million laborers to construct. Excavating the inner area they discovered artifacts and structures that would have been used by the elite and royal house. The debate [over Paekche’s early capital] was thus resolved at the very end of the 20th century. In early Paekche, the most central site, and place that required the greatest manpower to construct and from which the most important artifacts were uncovered, was confirmed as P’ungnap fortress.
지금 우리가 서있는 땅 지면보다 4미터 아래에 백제 초기의 유적이 고스란히 있는 것을 처음으로 발견을 했습니다. 그래서 신고를 하고 발빠르게 국가기관이 발굴에 투입돼서 전모가 밝혀진 것이죠. 성벽 조사를 하면서 풍납토성을 만드는 데 들어간 연이어 총 노동력이 ‘200만 명이 넘는다’라고 하는 사실, 그리고 ‘경당 지구’라고 하는 토성 내부이 정중앙을 파다 보니까 최고 지배층 내지 왕실이 사용한 것으로 보이는 특수한 유물, 특수한 구조가 나오면서 20세기가 거의 끝나가는 시기에 그 장구한 논쟁이 정리가 된것입니다. 그래서 백제 초기에 가장 핵심적인 유적, 가장 많은 노동력을 투입해서 만들고 가장 중요하고 많은 유물이 나오는 유적은 풍납토성이다. 이 사실이 밝혀졌죠.

The Achillie’s heel of Korean society, and not everyone will agree with this, but I can say with certainty: those who constitute the Korean people, numbering some 70 million, didn’t have these same faces [as current day Koreans] in the Paleolithic.
우리 사회의 아킬레스건이자 많은 분들이 동이하시지 않을 부분이지만 확실하게 제가 말씀드리는 것은 한민족이라고 하는 우리 이 7천만에 달하는 우리 민족 구성원은 까마득히 먼 구석기 시대부터 이런 얼굴로 태어난 것이 아닙니다.

I’m rejecting the idea of Koreans possessing a single, pure bloodline. It’s the same for world history. China, the Korean peninsula and the Japanese archipelago were not the same shape as now. Areas where there is sea was land, so it was possible to walk. During the Paleolithic there was no distinction between Chinese, Koreans and Japanese peoples. The same is true for the Neolithic. It’s impossible to distinguish the Neolithic culture of Jilin province, China, from North Hamgyŏng province of Korea immediately to its south.
우리 민족의 순수한 단혈성론을 부정한다고 하는데 그건 세계사적으로 다 마찬가지 입니다. 중국과 한반도와 일본 열도가 지금 같은 지형이 아니라 바다가 많은 부분이 육지화돼 있어서 걸어서 이동할 수 있는 겁니다.  즉 구석기 시대에는 중국민족, 한민족, 일본민족 이런 구분이 없는 거예요. 신석기 시대에 가도 마찬가지 입니다. 중국의 길림성에 있는 신석기 문화하고 지금 바로 길림성 두만강 남쪽의 함경북도에 있는 신석기 시대 문화는 구분할 수가 없습니다.

The same is true for the Bronze Age. There is much debate about the central locus of Old Chosŏn {c.3rd century – 108 BCE}, the first Korean state in our history. I believe that the early centre was in current day China, in the Liao River basin of Liaoning province. Thinking of modern borders, you might say there’s no need to research this because it’s in China. That cannot be! There was much mutual influence so we should realise that it’s wrong to project modern notions of nation states onto the early past.
청동기 시대도 마찬가지죠. 총동기 시대 우리 민족, 우리 역사 최초의 국가인 고조선의 중심지에 대해서는 많은 논쟁이 있지만 저는 초기의 중심지는 분명히 현대 중국 땅인 요령성 ‘요하 유역’에 있었다고 생각을 합니다. 이런 걸 가지고 지금이 국경 개념을 가지고선 그쪽은 중국 땅이니까 연구할 필요가 없다. 이건 있을 수 없잖아요. 서로 간에 영향을 주고받은 부분이 많았기 때문에 현재 민족과 국가라는 개념을 고대에 투영하는 것은 잘못됐다 이렇게 봐야됩니다.

Outside of school exams, we should look at history more freely. I opposed the single  government-authored textbook {policy imposed during the Park Geun-hye administration by New Right historians} because there is no need to emphasis just one logic, one frame and one analysis [of historical events]. However, there is a precondition to this freedom: we cannot deny objective facts.
당장 눈앞에 시험을 봐야 될 일이 아니라면 좀 자유롭게 역사를 봤으면 좋겠어요. 그런 면에서 국정 교과서에 반대했던 것이 하나의 논리, 하나의 틀, 하나의 해석을 강요할 필요가 없다는 것이죠. 다만 거기에는 전제가 있습니다. 객관적인 사실 자체를 부정하면 안 됩니다.

The tomb of [Paekche] King Muryŏng (Muryeong r.501-523 CE) was excavated in 1971. That this is King Muryŏng’s tomb is a clear and unmoveable fact. From that fact we can freely interpret, and freely imagine [historical circumstances]. But if {as pseudohistorians do}, we say the tomb itself is a fabrication, and also that even the Silla tombs in Gyeongju were also fabricated by historians, we fall into baseless conspiracies theories.
1971년도에 발굴조사된 공주의 무령왕릉은 무령왕의 무덤임이 분명한, 움직일 수 없는 사실입니다. 그것을 인정하고 그 다음부터는 자유로운 해석과 자유로운 상상을 할 수 있지만 그 자체를 다 음모론적인 입장에서 ‘그건 다 거짓말이야’ ‘다 가짜야’  ‘경주의 왕릉도 역사가들이 거짓말 친 거야’ ‘경주에 신라가 없었어’ 이렇게 들어가면 우리는 근거 없는 음모론에 빠지게 됩니다.

At the heart of such conspiracy theories lies an inferiority complex. Because such advocates hate that Korean history unfolded on the Korean peninsula they insist Korean history was continental, not peninsular. They would uproot Kaya (Gaya), Koguryŏ (Goguryeo), Paekche and Silla, and replant them in different locations.
그런 음모론의 깊숙한 마음속에는 철저한 열등감이 있습니다. 왜냐면 우리 역사가 한반도에서 전개된 것이 너무 싫은 거에요. ‘우리 역사는 대륙이 역사이지, 반도이 역사가 아니다’해서 가야, 고구려, 백제, 신라를 다 뿌리를 뽑아서 여기저기 심어 놓는 거예요.

If you do that then what about our Korean peninsula? Is our land cursed?! Should we abandon the peninsula and migrate away?! It is this inferiority complex that was planted by Japanese colonial scholars in the first half of the 20th century. [They said that] peninsular identity and history is deficient and can only suffer defeat {thereby justifying the 1910 Japanese annexation of Korea}.
그럼 우리의 한반도는 뭐가 됩니까? 이 한반도가 저주받은 땅입니까? 우리가 버리고서는 이민가야 될 땅이 아니잖아요? 바로 그 열등감은 20세기 초반에 일제 식민사학자가 심어놓은 거예요. 반도성, 반도의 역사는 못난이 역사고 이것은 패배할 수 밖에 없는 역사다.

We should obviously abandon such notions. But then we can be free. We can make our TV dramas free [to our imagination], and animations as fun as we wish. I believe historical analysis should match the times in which it is made. 분명히 버릴 건 버려야 됩니다. 그리고 난 뒤에는 자유롭게, 사극도 자유롭게, 만화 애니메이션도 재밌게. 역사학의 해석은 시대의 분위기에 따라서 달라져 된다라고 봅니다.

On the Kyŏngju plain the total number of graves is beyond count. There are thousands. So why aren’t we investigating them? We mustn’t. For example, in the grand Silla tomb of Hwangnam a horse saddle was found covered in silkworm wings. This was excavated in the 1970s. If we had excavated it now, or in 40 years time we’d have been able to properly preserve the silkworms and the saddle.
경주 평야에 있는 전체 무덤이 숫자는 셀 수가 없습니다. 몇천 개 입니다. 근데 이거를 왜 우리가 조사를 안 하느냐? 조사를 하면 안 됩니다. 예를 들어서 신라의 황남대총이라고 하는 무지무지하게 큰 무덤에 말 탈 때 쓰는 안장, 그 안에 비단벌레 날개를 수천 개를 뜯어서 붙여놨단 말이에요. 이거를 70년대에 발굴을 했는데 만약에 지금 우리가 발굴을 하거나, 40년 뒤에 발굴하게 되면 그 비단벌레에 대한 보존처리를 완벽하게 해서 그 안장을 제대로 보존할 수가 있잖아요.

[In fact] even currently, we wouldn’t be able to perfectly preserve this artifact that should have been a national treasure. If our descendants excavate these [tombs] with their superior technology in the future, the value of such artifacts will increase. Cultural heritage should be passed on to our descendants If our generation wastes the heritage, what will our descendants think? I think it’s time we stop destroying everything.
이 국보급 유물을 지금 우리의 기술로는 완벽하게 보존할 수가 없습니다. 우리 후손들이 훨씬 더 좋은 기술을 갖고 있을 때 발굴하면은 정말 그 유물이 가치가 더 높아지잖아요. 후손들에게 문화유산은 말 그대로 물려줘야 되는 거예요. 유산을 다 우리 세대에 낭비하면 후손들은 어떡합니까. 이제는 그만 파괴해야 될 때가 뙜다고 생각합니다.

[11:42] Professor Kwon Oh-young of Seoul National University, a historian in search of the truth of thousands of years of ancient Korea.
수천년의 시간을 초월한 한국고대사의 진실을 찾는 역사학자 서울대 국사학과 권오영 교수.

“Record of the Sparrow’s Journey” 제비노정기

제비노정기 Chebi nojŏng-gi
“Record of the Sparrow’s Journey”

being from the
Song of Hŭngbo 興甫歌 흥보가
performed by Master Song Sun-sŏp 송순섭 선생님

The Story so Far..

The Song of Hŭngbo — along known as Gourd Song 박타령 — is one of the five classic pansori plays. A much-loved Korean folk tale, it tells the story of honest Hŭngbo and his greedy older brother, Nolbu. After their parents die, Nolbu takes the inheritance and forces Hŭngbo and his wife out of the house and into destitution. Hŭngbo nevertheless remains respectful to his brother. One day Hŭngbo finds a young sparrow fallen from the nest with broken legs. He helps fix the sparrow’s leg and nurses it back to health, seeing it off on the autumn migration. The following spring the sparrow returns, bringing a gourd seed to Hŭngbo. The following scene tells of the sparrow’s journey from southwestern China back to Korea, recounting scenes and sights along the way.

아니리 Aniri

제비 장수 들으시고
Che-bi chang-su tŭ-rŭ-si-ko
Listen to the sparrow general!

어 흥보씨 善心(선심)이야말로
ŏ hŭng-bo-ssi sŏn-sim i-ya-mal-lo
“Ah, Hŭngbo is truly good-hearted

江南(강남)까지 대단허신 양반이로구나
gang-nam kka-ji tae-dan hŏ-sin yang-ban i-ro-gu-na
As great a gentleman [would not be found] even in Jiangnan!
(region of China, south of the Yangtze River)

明春(명춘)에 나갈때는
myŏng-ch’un e na-gal ttae-nŭn
When you depart next spring

報恩瓢(보은표)라는 박씨 하나만 물어다 드리면
po-ŭn-p’yo ra-nŭn pak-ssi ha-na-man mur-ŏ-da tŭ-ri-myŏn
If you carry back to him a seed of the gourd-to-repay-kindness

네 은혜는 다 갚을 것이니라
ne ŭn-hye-nŭn ka-p’ŭl kŏs-i-ni-ra
You’ll have paid back his kindness.

그러기에 네 에미 제비가
kŭ-rŏ-gi e ne e-mi che-bi ka
Thereupon your sparrow mother

번번히 將令(장령)을 어기기 찌우에 그런 환을 당허지
pŏn-pŏn-hi chang-nyŏng ŭl ŏ-gi-gi tchi-u-e kŭ-rŏn hwan-ŭl tang hŏ-ji
Was caused grief and worry due to disobeying commands,
{uncertain meaning}

명춘에 나갈 때는 福德日(복덕일)을 받아 나가거라 응
myŏng-ch’un e na-gal ttae-nŭn pong-dŏg-il ŭl pad-a na-ga-gŏ-ra ŭng
So depart on an auspicious day next spring!”

三冬(삼동)이 지내고 三春(삼춘)이 方壯(방장)허니
sam-dong i chi-nae-go sam-ch’un i pan-hang hŏ-ni
The three months of winter pass, the three months of spring arrive,

왼갖 날짐생들이 모두 고국을 찾아 환국을 허는 때라
oen-gat nal-jim-saeng-tŭl i mo-du ko-guk ŭl ch’aj-a hwan-guk ŭl hŏ-nŭn ttae-ra
A time when all kinds of flying animals seek their homelands, return home.

흥보 제비도 나오는디 제비 路程記(노정기) 나오것다
hŭng-bo che-bi to na-o-nŭn-di che-bi no-jŏng-gi na-o kŏ-tta
Hŭngbo’s sparrow, too, sets out – and now for the record of the sparrow’s journey!

자진중중머리 Chajin chung chung mŏri

黑雲(흑운) 박차고 白雲(백운) 무릅쓰고
hŭk-un pak-ch’a-go paek-un mu-rŭp ssŭ-go
Kicking off the dark clouds, defying the white clouds

거중에 둥둥 높이 떠
kŏ-jung e tung tung nop’-i ttŏ
Floating tung tung high up into the air


두루 四面(사면)을 살펴뵈
tu-ru sa-myŏn ŭl sal-p’yŏ-poe
Surveying the for quarters

西蜀(서촉) 咫尺(지척)이요 東海 蒼茫 (동해 창망) 허구나
sŏ-ch’ok chi-ch’ŏk i-yo tong-hae ch’ang-mang hŏ-gu-na
Western Shu (one of the Three Kingdoms, 221-263 CE, Sichuan province) is near, the east sea is [still at] a boundless distance

祝融蜂(축융봉) 올라가니 朱雀(주작)이 넘는다
ch’uk-yong-bong ol-la-ga-ni chu-jak i nŏm-nŭn-da
Flying over Zhurong Peak (Hebei province), the Red Sparrow-phoenix of the South passes,

黃牛土(황우토) 黃牛灘(황우탄) 鳥鵲橋(오작교) 바래보니
hwang-u-t’o hwang-u-t’an o-jak-kyo pa-rae bo-ni
Looking down on  Huangniu mountain (west Hebei province), the Huangniu rapids and Wuque Bridge

吳楚東南(오초동남)의 가는 배는
o-ch’o tong-nam ŭi ka-nŭn pae-nŭn
Boats of Wu and Chu (Spring and Autumn Period states), the east and south

북을 두리둥둥 두리둥 울리며
puk ŭl tu-ri tung tung tu-ri tung ul-li-myŏ
Sound their drums turi tung tung turi tung tung

어그야 어기야 히어쳐 저어가니
ŏ-gŭ ya ŏ-gi ya hi-ŏ-ch’yŏ chŏ-ŏ ga-ni
ŏgŭ ya ŏgi ya hi ŏ-ch’yŏ, rowing through the waves
(refrain of Kyŏnggi minyo folksong, “Boat Song” 뱃노래)

遠浦歸帆(원포귀범)이 이 아니냐
wŏn-p’o kwi-bŏm i i a-ni nya
Are these not Ships Returning from Afar ?
(one of the Eight Views of Xiaoxiang 瀟湘八景, landscapes of modern Hunan Province)

水碧沙明(수벽사명) 兩岸苔(양안태)
su-byŏk sa-myŏn yang-an t’ae
Blue waters, bright sands, moss covered shores

不勝淸怨(불승청원) 却飛來(각비래)라
pul-sŭng ch’ŏng-wŏn kak-pi rae ra
defeated by clear sorrow, flying back
(lines from a quatrain Returning Geese 歸雁 by Qian Qi  錢起 710-782)

날아오는 저 기러기 갈대를 입에 물고
nar-a o-nŭn chŏ ki-rŏ-gi kal-dae rŭl ip e mul-go
Flying home, the wild goose carries reeds

一點二點(일점이점) 점점 날아
il-chŏm i-chŏm chŏm-jŏm nar-a
Flying, gradually

平沙落雁(평사낙안)이 이 아니냐
p’yŏng-sa nak-an i i a-ni-nya
Are these not Geese Descending on the Sands?
(one of the Eight Views of Xiaoxiang)

白鷗白鷺(백구백로) 짝을 지어
paek-ku paeng-no tchak ŭl chi-ŏ
White gulls and white herons form a union

靑波上(청파상) 往來(왕래)허니 夕陽村(석양촌)이 여기로다
ch’ŏng-p’a-san wang-nae hŏ-ni sŏk-yang-ch’on i yŏ-gi ro-da
Hither and thither above the blue waves, here is the Twilight Village
(one of the Eight Views, ‘Fishing Village at Dusk’ 漁村夕照)

回雁峰(회안봉)을 넘어 黃陵廟(황릉묘) 들어가니
hoe-an-bong ŭl nŏm-ŏ hwang-nŭng-myo tŭr-ŏ ga-ni
Flying over Huiyan (Returning Heron’s) Peak (Hunan province), entering the Yellow Tomb Temple
(Xiangtan county湘潭縣 Hubei province, on the banks of the Xiaoxiang River 瀟湘江 referenced in Qian Qi’s Returning Geese. The temple is a shrine for the mythical sisters Ehuang 娥皇 Nüying 女英, daughters of Emperor Yao and both married to Emperor Shun.)

二十五絃(이십오현) 彈夜月(탄야월)에
i-sip o-hyŏn t’an-ya-wŏl
The twenty-five stringed zither played under the night moon (the third line of Returning Geese)

斑竹枝(반죽지) 쉬여 앉어
pan-jung-ji swi-yŏ anj-ŏ
Resting on the mottled bamboo of the Ladies of Xiang (another reference to the sisters)

杜鵑聲(두견성)을 和答(화답)허고
tu-gyŏn sŏng ŭl hwa-dap hŏ-ko
Replying to the cuckoo’s call

鳳凰臺(봉황대) 올라가니
pong-hwang dae ol-la ga-ni
Flying up Pheonix Platform Tower
(southeast of Nanjing, Jiangsu province江蘇省)

鳳去臺空(봉거대공)은 江自流(강자유)라
pong-gŏ tae-gong ŭn kang-ja-yu ra
The pheonix has left, the tower is empty, only river water flows
(second line from an octave by famed poet Li Bai 李白 701-762)

黃鶴樓(황학루)를 올라가니
hwang-hang-nu rŭl ol-la ga-ni
Flying up Yellow Crane Tower (in Wuhan city, Hubei province)

hwang-hak il-gŏ pul-bu-ban ŭi
Once departing the yellow crane returns not

paek-un ch’ŏn jae gong yu-yu
white clouds drift a thousand years
(third and fourth lines from an octave by Cui Hao 崔灝 704-754)

金陵(금능)을 지내여 酒肆村(주사촌) 들어가니
kŭm-nŭng ŭl chi-nae-yŏ chu-sa-ch’on tŭl-ŏ ga-ni
Passing Jinling (Nanjing), enter the wine shop village
(reference to a Li Bai poem)

kong-suk ch’ang-ga to-ri gae ra
Peach and plum trees bloom in the empty brothel

落梅花(낙매화)를 툭 차서 舞筵(무연)에 펄렁 떨어지고
nang-mae-hwa rŭl t’uk ch’a-sŏ mu-yŏn e p’ŏl-lŏng ttŏl-ŏ ji-go
Kicking the falling plum blossoms, they drop to the dance stage.
(reference to a poem by Du Fu 杜甫 712-770)

終南山(종남산)을 지내 灕水(이수)를 다달라
chong-nam-san ŭl chi-nae i-su rŭl ta-dal-la
Passing Zhongnan Mountains (south of Xi’an), arriving at the Li River

鷄鳴山(계명산) 올라가니 張子房(장자방) 간 곳 없고
kye-myŏng-san ol-la ga-ni chang-ja-bang kan kot ŏp-ko
Flying over Jiming (cockcrow) Mountain (northwestern Hefei county 合肥縣, Anhui province); Zifang Zhang Liang allowed no way out.
(Zhang Liang 張良 d.186 BCE was a strategist who helped Liu Bang win the Battle of Gaixia 垓下 in 202 BCE)

南屛山(남병산) 올라가니 七星壇(칠성단)이 비는 터요
nam-pyŏng-san ol-la ga-ni ch’il-sŏng dan i pi-nŭn t’ŏ yo
Flying above Nanping Mountain (location of the Red Cliffs, Chibi city 赤壁市, Hubei province), Seven Star Altar is deserted.

燕齊之間(연제지간)을 지내여
yŏn-jae ji-gan ŭl chi-nae-yŏ
Passing between Yan and Qi
(early states whose territories roughly equate to Hebei and Shandong provinces)

長城(장성)을 지내 碣石山(갈석산)을 넘어
chang-sŏng ŭl chi-nae kal-sŏk-san ŭl nŏm-ŏ
Passing the Great Wall and over Jieshi Mountain (northern Changli county 昌黎縣, Hebei province)

燕京(연경)을 들어가 皇極殿(황극전)에 올라 앉어
yŏn-gyŏng ŭl tŭr-o ga hwang-gŭng-jŏn e ol-la anj-ŏ
Entering Yanjing (Beijing), perching atop the Huangji imperial palace (in the Forbidden City)

萬戶長安(만호장안) 구경허고
man-ho chang-an ku-gyŏng hŏ-go
Surveying the capital of ten thousand homes

正陽門(정양문) 내달라 上達門(상달문) 지내
chŏng-yang-mun nae-dael-la sang-dal-mun chi-nae
Descending to Zhengnan Gate (south of Beijing), passing Shangda Gate (Tian’anmen)

潼關(동관)을 들어가니 薩(살) 彌勒(미륵)이 百(백)이로다
tong-gwan ŭl tŭr-ŏ ga-ni sal mi-rŭl i paek i-ro-da
Entering Tongguan, a hundred Bodhisattvas and Maitreyas [fill the temples]

遼東(요동) 칠백리를 瞬息間(순식간)에 지내여
yo-dong ch’il-baeng-ni rŭl sun-sik-kan e chi-nae-yŏ
Seven hundred li of Liaodong (eastern Liaoning province) passes in a moment!

鴨綠江(압록강)을 건너 義州(의주)를 다달라
am-nok-kang ŭl kŏn-nŏ ŭi-ju rŭl ta-dal-la
Crossing the Yalu River, arriving to Ŭiju

寧古塔(영고탑) 統軍亭(통군정) 올라 앉어
ning-go-t’ap t’ong-gun-jang ol-la anj-ŏ
Flying up and perching on the T’onggun Pavilion (on the Yalu banks northwest of Ŭiju) of Ningguta (東京城 in Ning’an 寧安縣城, Heilongjiang province – geographically out of place)

안남산 밭남산 石壁江(석벽강) 龍川江(영천강)
an-nam-san pat-nam-san sŏk-byŏk yong-ch’ŏn-gang
Annam Mountain, Patnam Mountain, Sŏkpyŏk (stone cliff) River, Yongch’ŏn (Dragon stream) River (North P’yŏng’an province)

左右嶺(좌우령)을 넘어들어
chwa-u-ryŏng ŭl nŏm-ŏ dŭr-ŏ
Passing over high ridges left and right (east and west of Yongch’ŏn river)

부산 把撥(파발) 換馬(환마)고개
pu-san p’a-bal hwan-ma ko-gae
Hwanma (horse change) peak of the bustling horse-station
(thought to be Wiwŏn county 渭原郡, North P’yŏng’an Province – now Chagang Province)

江東(강동) 다리를 건너
kang-dong ta-ri rŭl kŏn-nŏ
Crossing Kangtong (river east) Bridge

七星門(칠성문) 들어가니 平壤(평양)은 練光亭(연광정)
ch’il-sŏng-mun tŭr-ŏ ga-ni p’yŏng-yang ŭn yŏn-gwang-jŏng
Entering through Ch’ilsŏng (seven star – the Big Dipper constellation) Gate (P’yŏngyang’s north city gate), viewing the Yŏn’gwang (silk light) Pavilion (on the banks of the Taedong River)

浮碧樓(부벽루)를 구경허고
pu-byŏng-nu rŭl ku-gyŏng hŏ-go
and the Pubyŏk (floating cliff) Tower (east of Morangbong peak).

大洞江(대동강) 長林(장림)을 지내
tae-dong-gang chang-nim ŭl chi-nae
Passing Changnim (long forest) on the Taedong River,

松都(송도)를 들어가 滿月臺(만월대) 觀德亭(관덕정)
song-do rŭl tŭr-ŏ-ga man-wŏl-dae kwan-dŏk-chŏng
Entering the Songdo (pine capital – modern Kaesŏng), viewing  Manwŏl-dae (full moon) Platform (site of the former Koryŏ palace south of Song’ak Mountain), Kwandŏk Pavilion

朴淵瀑布(박연폭포)를 구경허고
pak-yŏn p’ok-p’o rŭl ku-gyŏng hŏ-go
and the Pak’yŏn Falls (Changp’ung county 長豊郡, Hwanghae province)

臨津江(임진강) 時刻(시각)에 건너 三角山(삼각산)에 왔다
im-jin-gang si-gak e kŏn-nŏ sam-gak-san e wa-tta
In a moment crossing the Imjin River, and arrived at Samgak (three horn) Mountain.
(Mt. Pukhan, north of Seoul, Koyang county 高陽郡, Kyŏnggi province)

地勢(지세)를 살펴보니
chi-sae rŭl sal-p’yŏ bo-ni
Examining the earth’s geomantic vitality,

總領(총령)의 大元脈(대원맥)이 中嶺(중령)으로 흘러져
ch’ong-nyŏng ŭi tae-wŏn-maek i chung-nyŏng ŭ-ro hŭl-lŏ-jyŏ
The paramount vein flows through the central pass

金華(금화) 金城(금성) 分開(분개)허고
kŭm-hwa kŭm-sŏng pun-gae hŏ-go
Kŭmhwa (gold flower) and Kŭmsŏng (gold fort) divide

春塘(춘당) 迎春(영춘) 휘돌아
ch’un-dang yŏng-ch’un hwi-dor-a
Circling around Ch’ungdang (spring dike) Pavilion (in Ch’angdŏk-gung Palace) and Yŏngch’un (welcoming spring) Gate (the east gate of Kyŏngbok-gung Palace)

道峰(도봉) 望月(망월)이 생겼다
to-bong mang-wŏl i saeng-gyŏ-tta
Mangwŏl (moon gazing) Peak of Tobong Mountain is formed!

文物(문물)이 彬彬(빈빈)허고 風俗(풍속)은 熙熙(희희)하야
mun-mul i pin-bin hŏ-go p’ung-sok ŭn hŭi-hŭi ha-ya
Culture is refined, customs are bright

萬萬歲之(만만세지) 金湯(금탕)이라
man-man se ji kŭm-t’ang i-ra
An everlasting fortress!

全羅道(전라도)는 雲峰(운봉)이요
chŏl-la-do nŭn un-bong i-yo
Unbong (cloud summit) district, Chŏlla province (southwest Korea)

慶尚道(경상도)는 咸陽(함양)인듸
kyŏng-sang-do nŭn ham-yan in-dŭi
Ham’yang district, Kyŏngsang province (southeast Korea)

운봉 함양 두 얼품에 흥보가 그 곳에 사는지라
un-bong ham-yang tu ŏl-p’um e hŭng-bo ka kŭ kos e sa-nŭn ji-ra
Hŭngbo, he lives on the boundary of Unbong and Ham’yang!

저 제비 거동을 봐라
chŏ che-bi kŏ-dong ŭl pwa-ra
Watch now the sparrow’s actions!

보은표 박씨를 입에다 물고 남대문 밖 썩 내달라
po-ŭn-p’yo pak-ssi rŭl ip e-da mul-go nam-dae-mun pakk ssŏk nae-dal-la
With the seed of the gourd-to-repay-kindness in its beak, it arrives beyond Namdae-mun (Seoul south gate)

七牌(칠패) 八牌(팔패) 靑牌(청패) 배다리
ch’il-p’ae p’al-p’ae ch’ŏng-p’ae pae-da-ri
Seventh ward, Eighth ward, Ch’ŏng’pa ward, and the boat-bridge

아야고개를 얼른 銅雀江(동작강) 越江(월강)
a-ya go-gae rŭl ŏl-lŭn tong-jak-kang wŏl-gang
Speeding over Aya Crest (It’aewŏn hill), crossing Tongjak (bronze sparrow) River (a tributary of the Han River at Hŭksŏk-dong)

僧房(승방)을 지내여 南泰嶺(남태령) 고개 넘어
sŭng-bang ŭl chi-nae-yŏ nam-t’ae-ryŏng ko-gae nŏm-ŏ
Crossing Nŭngbang (Buddhist nunnery, a place name beyond Kŭmdang-dong), passing over Namt’ae-ryŏng Pass

두 죽지 쩍 벌리고 번뜻 수후후 펄펄 날아
tu chukchi tchŏk pŏl-li-go pŏn-ttŭs su-hu-hu p’ŏl p’ŏl nar-a
Stretching its two wings, flying p’ŏl p’ŏl.

중중머리 Chung chung mŏri

흥보 門前(문전)을 當到(당도) 흥보 門前(문전)을 當到(당도)허니
hŭng-bo mun-jŏn ŭl tang-do hŭng-bo mun-jŏn ŭl tang-do hŏ-ni
Hŭngbo comes to his front gate, Hŭngbo comes to his front gate!

堂上堂下(당상당하) 飛去飛來(비거비래)
tang-sang tang-ha pi-gŏ pi-rae
Up and down the rafters, flying hither thither

翩翩(편편)히 노는 擧動(거동) 무얼 같다고 이르랴
p’yŏn p’yŏn-hi no-nŭn kŏ-dong mu-ŏl kat-ta-go i-rŭ-rya
“What’s that remind me of, so elegant in flight p’yŏn p’yŏn ?

北海黑龍(북해흑룡)이 如意珠(여의주) 물고
puk-hae hŭng-nyong i yŏ-ŭi-ju mul-go
Like the black dragon of the northern seas, carrying a wish-fulfilling cintāmaṇi pearl in its mouth

彩雲間(채운간)으로 넘노난듯
ch’ae-un-gan ŭ-ro nŏm-no nan-dŭt
flying among the colored clouds.

丹山鳳凰(단산봉황)이 竹實(죽실)를 물고
tan-san pong-hwang i chuk-sil rŭl mul-go
Like the pheonix of the Tuan mountains, carrying bamboo fruit

梧桐(오동) 속으로 넘노난듯
o-dong sok ŭ-ro nŏm-no nan-dŭt
flying among the paulownia trees.

春風黃鶯(춘풍황앵)이 蘭草(난초)를 물고
ch’un-p’ung hwang-aeng i nan-ch’o rŭl mul-go
Like a yellow oriole carrying an orchid flower

細柳中(세류중)으로 넘노난듯
se-ryu-jung ŭ-ro nŏm-no nan-dut
flying among the weeping willows.”

집으로 펄펄 날아드니
chip ŭ-ro p’ŏl p’ŏl nar-a dŭ-ni
P’ŏl p’ŏl flying into the house

흥보가 보고 좋아하 얼씨구나 떴다 내 제비야
hŭng-bo ka po-go cho-a ha ŏl-ssi-gu-na ttŏ-tta nae che-bi ya
Now Hŭngbo sees and jumps with joy – “My sparrow!

어데를 갔다가 인제 와
ŏ-de rŭl ka-tta-ga in-je wa
Where have you been?!

北風寒淸雁(북풍한청안) 飛高(비고) 기러기 넋이 되야
puk-p’ung han-ch’ŏng an pi-go ki-rŏ-gi noks-i toe-ya
Did you become the spirit of a goose flying high on the cold winter wind

平沙落雁(평사낙안)에 놀다 와
p’yŏng-sa nak an e nol-da wa
retuning after Geese Descending on the Sands?

有曰有巢(유왈유소) 얽힌 남기 構巢次(구소차)로 네 갔드냐
yu-wal yu-so ŏl-k’in nam-gin ku-so-ch’a ro ne ka-ttŭ nya
Have you been to the house nests on trees placed there by Youchao?

遠村咫村(원촌지촌) 널 보내고
wŏn-ch’on chi-ch’on nŏl po-nae-go
Sending you off to villages [I knew not if] distant or near,

欲向靑山(욕향청산)에 問杜鵑(문두견)
yok-hyang ch’ŏng-san e mun tu-gyŏn
I went to the green mountains to ask the cuckoos

消息(소식)이 寂寂(적적) 漠然(막연)터니
so-sik i chŏk-chŏk mak-yŏn t’ŏ-ni
But news was still and silent

니가 나를 찾어오니 天道之度(천도지도)가 반갑다
ni ka na rŭl ch’aj-ŏ o-ni ch’ŏn-do ji-do ka pan-gap-ta
So I’m happy, for the way of heaven, that you visit me now!”

저 제비 거동을 봐라
chŏ che-bi kŏ-dŭng ŭl pwa-ra
Watch now sparrow’s actions!

집으로 펄펄 날아들어
chip ŭ-ro p’ŏl p’ŏl nar-a dŭr-o
P’ŏl p’ŏl flying into the house

들보 우에 올라 앉어 제비 말로 운다
tŭl-bo u e ol-la anj-ŏ che-bi mal-lo un-da
Perching atop a cross-beam, in sparrow language it chirps,

사람의 말로 헐 것 같으면
sa-ram ŭi mal-lo hŏl kŏt kat’-ŭ-myŏn
Were it human speech, t’would have been

흥부씨 그새 평안하셨소
hŭng-bo-ssi kŭ-sae p’yŏng-an ha-syŏss-so
“How have you been, Mr Hŭngbo?

나 강남 갔다 왔소 헐 것인데
na kang-nam ka-tta wass-so hŏl kŏs-in-de
I’ve been to Jiangnan and back!”

제비 말로 하느라
che-bi mal-lo ha-nŭ-ra
In sparrow speech,

知之知之(지지지지) 主之主之(주지주지)
chi-ji ji-ji chu-ji ju-ji
“Do you know, master?

去之年之(거지연지) 又之拜(우지배)요
kŏ-ji nyŏn-ji u-ji pae yo
Departing for a year, I’m back to pay my regards,

落之腳之(낙지각지) 折之連之(절지연지)
nak-chi kak-chi chŏl-ji yŏn-ji
Fixing my broken legs after I fell,

恩之德之(은지덕지) 酬之次(수지차)로
ŭn-ji tŏk-chi su-ji ch’a ro
To repay your grace and virtue,

含之瓢之(함지표지) 來之拜(내지배)요
ham-ji p’yo-ji nae-ji pae yo
I’ve returned, carried in my mouth this gourd!”

ppae tŭ tŭ tŭ tŭ

찬찬히 살펴보니 折骨兩脚(절골양각)이 宛然(완연)
ch’an ch’an-hi sal-p’yŏ boni chŏl-gol yang-gak i wan-yŏn
Carefully examining, the two broken legs are crooked

唐絲(당사)실로 감은 다리가 아리롱 아리롱이 지니
tang-sa-sil lo kam-ŭn ta-ri ka a-ri-rong a-ri-rong i chi-ni
The legs wrapped in multi-colored Chinese silk-thread,

어찌 아니가 내 제비랴
ŏ-tchi a-ni-ga nae che-bi rya
“How now my sparrow?!”

저 제비 거동을 봐라
chŏ che-bi kŏ-dong ŭl pwa-ra
Watch now sparrow’s actions!

보은표 박씨를 입에다가 물고 이리저리 넘놀다
po-ŭn-p’yo pak-ssi rŭl ip e-da-ga mul-go i-ri chŏ-ri nŏm-nol-da
Flying around with the seed of the gourd-to-repay-kindness in its beak,

흥보 兩主(양주) 앉은 앞에다가 박씨를 뚝 던져 놓고
hŭng-bo yang-ju anj-ŭn ap’ e-da-ga pak-ssi rŭl ttuk tŏn-jyŏ no-k’o
Dropping the gourd seed in front of where Hŭngbo and is wife are sitting,

白雲間(백운간)으로 날아간다
paeg-un-gan ŭ-ro nar-a gan-da
Flying away between the white clouds.


Greater Seoul – Esquire Korea column

The following is an English translation of part 1 of a new column appearing in Esquire Korea magazine, authored by Kim Shiduck (김시덕).

The column title Seoul susaek, is a pun, as susaek carries the meaning “susaek” (搜索) as well as being the name of the Susaek neighbourhood (水色洞) featured in the article.

In Search of Seoul

The Greater Seoul road from South Gajwa, Seoul, to Gajwa, Goyang city.


I term the metropolis including both Seoul City and the Seoul suburbs of surrounding Gyeonggi province as “Greater Seoul.” The relationship between Seoul City and Greater Seoul is similar to that between the notion of London and Greater London. If we want to understand the past, present and future of Seoul City, it is not enough only to look at the central city. We must also look at the intimately connected suburbs of Gyeonggi province.

Something I’ve come to feel while researching each area of Greater Seoul, is that – perhaps for political reasons – Seoul City, or its individual wards, and the surrounding Gyeonggi province towns are each only concerned with promoting their own stories. What’s interesting, however, is that if we trace even a little way back in time, the administrative districts of Greater Seoul were entirely different to the present.

Take Jamsil (잠실Chamsil) district as an example. In 1910, it was an island belonging to Ttukto township (뚝도면) of Goyang county (Koyang 고양군), in Gyeonggi province. However, due to the course of the Han river differing to that of today, rather than adjoining the gangnam south side of the river as it does now, Jamsil was on the north side. Consequently if we speak of Songpa ward ( Songp’a 송파구) of Jamsil (잠실동) as we know it in 2019, we cannot communicate all aspects of what “Jamsil” has been. Another example is Siheung city (Sihŭng 시흥시), Gyeonggi province, the location of which today doesn’t even overlap with that of former Sihŭng county of the Chosŏn dynasty period (1932-1910). So imagine the result if we tried to tell the history only of “Siheung” from the present administrative definition.


Given that Greater Seoul has undergone such unparalleled changes, any strategy of exploring the metropolis from the street level must also account for such evolution. None of this “district circular walk” or “in the footsteps of famous residents” trails, such as are typically promoted by the city and district halls. We need a strategy of exploring Greater Seoul that puts the citizens – the protagonists of this democratic republic – center-stage.

In this column, I plan to introduce a method based on walking the arterial streets that extend throughout Greater Seoul and cut across administrative boundaries. That is to say, rather than a compartmentalized areal conceptualization, we can better understand Greater Seoul through lineal perspectives. Politically, economically and culturally, Greater Seoul constitutes a single mass, but has been arbitrarily divided into administrative districts. By walking such streets, we can achieve a more holistic picture. After all, few people live their daily lives thinking about the administrative centers of the districts in which they live, rather their spatial center is the location of their own homes.

The first arterial road to walk is Susaek Road (수색로). Within Seoul City, Susaek Road starts at Sacheon bridge intersection, Yeonhui of Seodaemun ward, and extends northwest to Deog’eun bridge intersection, Susaek, of Eunpyeong ward. From there it continues into Gyeonggi province, traversing through the centre of Goyang city, where it changes name to Central Street (Jung’angno중앙로), and finally finishes at the entrance of the Gajwa Village apartment complex on the western edge of Goyang.

Sacheon bridge intersection is famous for the local ppŏngt’wigi (뻥튀기) cracker store, while to its east are the sought after neighbourhoods of Yeonhui, Yeonnam and Seongsan. This area first began to urbanize from the 1930s with the establishment of the city railway. Since the 1980s it has become a desirable district to live owing to the proximity of universities and large houses.

By contrast the area to the northwest of Sacheon bridge, between Gajwa and Susaek stations and bordering Gyeonggi province, has an entirely different, military town atmosphere. There during the 1930s, to support their invasion and expected consolidation of Manchuria and China, the Japanese built the Keijō (Seoul) railway switch-yard, military barracks and a power substation. Among these, the switchyard was particularly important, and became current day Susaek station.


Even today, the enormous scale of the Keijō switchyard can be felt through such remaining structures as the old Susaek double-level railway tunnel (수색쌍굴) and the Japanese military officer’s barracks, as well as knowledge of the fact that during its construction public cemetery for untended graves (무연고) had to be entirely relocated. The military atmosphere was maintained even after 1945, as the neighbourhood houses the 30th Military Division, the Korea Aerospace University and, until recently, the Korea National Defense University.

Today, however, the character of Sang’am, in the middle of this area, has greatly changed with the addition of the World Cup Stadium and influx of television broadcast stations. The region of the former Susaek power substation, which for a time produced its own nostalgic atmosphere of dilapidation, is also currently under redevelopment. It will likely be a century from the establishment of this area in the 1930s, that it will have entirely changed. But of course, there are still many traces currently remaining, including: Moraenae Market opposite Gajwa station; Korea’s first multipurpose pillar-elevated building, Jwawon Apartments (좌원상가아파트); the former village adjacent to Susaek station, the iron monger’s street, Yeokjeon barber shop (역전이발관 photos), and the old Sangam village. Observing how these sites will change over the coming ten or twenty years is a key point in walking Susaek Road.

In this way, and in contrast to other regions of Greater Seoul, even after 1945, various state facilities were located along Susaek-Central Road that necessitated keeping the surrounding areas clear due to both security and safety concerns. In 1973 during the height of the oil crisis, the Mapo Petroleum Reserve (now a recreational park) was established in the northeast of the adjacent Nanjido waste site (photos), and in 1992 North Seoul Oil Reserve was placed at a location close to the name change of Susaek Road and Central Street, that is, the administrative border between Seoul City and Goyang city. This was likely to minimize the security and safety risks in case of fire and explosion.

From the 1970s through to the 1990s, Nanjido of Mapo district was used as the main waste dumping site for Seoul, and still today the Nanjido Waste Water plant serving Seoul City is adjacent to this, but inside Goyang. There was likely a psychological factor involved in locating the Nanji waste site and sewage works at the administrative border between Seoul and Goyang where few ordinary people frequented due to the military, railway and other such state infrastructure. These state installations, together with various other factories, waste treatment businesses, and warehouse facilities combine to produce a unique and somewhat poignant industrial landscape absent from other areas of the border between Seoul City and surrounding Gyeonggi province.

From the point at which Susaek Road becomes Central Street, and heading towards North Seoul Oil Reserve, the road is wide and quiet. Walking among this rarely visited, spacious industrial area, one encounters business enterprises with names such as “Mapo Logistics Storage Warehouse,” and “Susaek Logistics” (수색물류).


At one time Seoul City was greatly more powerful than other regions and so it relocated its overflowing number of destitute citizens, orphanages, crematoria and military facilities to the surrounding Gyeonggi border regions. The satellite cities forced to receive the, such as Goyang in the northwest and Seongnam to the south, nevertheless chose to use Seoul rather than their own names on many such facilities. This might be interpreted as a expression of resistance towards Seoul City. Equally however, and for reasons that can easily be guessed, some Gyeonggi residents may have actively chosen to keep the name of Seoul City. The examples of “Mapo” and “Susaek” logistics companies reflect this psychology.

On a map, the administrative border dividing Seoul and Goyang cities appears absolute, however, only if you walk the Susaek-Central road, does a more subtle, mixed psychology among the residents of these two cities become apparent. Just as the border on the ground is ambiguous, I feel in my bones there is no such thing as Seoul or Goyang citizens, but only Greater Seoul citizens.

The Tide Turns? Part V

“Colonial historiography cartel” (2017.9) by Kim Hyŏn-gu 김현구


“In the current day Republic of Korea a similar circumstance is occuring as that immediately after the [1945] liberation when formerly high ranking police officers of the Japanese colonial period, who had been tools doing the work of the Japanese empire arresting [Korean] independence fighters, became [ROK] military police and continued in persecuting independence activists. If the ghosts of [our independence] martyrs were here, would they not be vomiting blood [at this situation] from below the ground?” 일제 강점기에 독립투사들을 잡아들이면서 일제의 앞잡이 노릇을 하던 고등계 형사들이 경찰 간부가 되어 오히려 독립투사들을 핍박하던 광복직후의 사태가 지금 대한민국에서 벌어지고 있는 것이다. 순국선열들의 영령들이 계시다면 지하에서 피를 토할 일이 아니겠는가?  (Kim 2017:161)

Yi Tŏk-il’s conspiracy theory of a pro-Japanese cartel premises their motivation as the promotion of an interpretation of early Korean history that would actively diminish its supposed territorial greatness and antiquity, as imagined by ancient empire advocates. As presented in his 2014 book “The colonial view of history within us”, the three principal components of Yi’s ‘colonial view of history’ are:

  1. Locating the Chinese Lelang commandery at P’yŏngyang as an intrument of colonial control over the northern half of the peninsula.
  2. Locating the Japanese Mimana Nihonfu to the south of the Lelang, interpreted as having been a corresponding colonial administrator over the southern half of the peninsula
  3. Arguing the Three Kingdoms era polities of Koguryŏ, Silla, Paekche and Kaya to have only emerged in the 4th century CE, in contradition to the orthodox 1st century BCE dates given in the earliest extant Korean authored history, Samguk sagi (1145).

In Yi (2014) the complaint of Lelang is directed against scholar Song Hojŏng and the Early Korea Project’s 2014 Han Commanderies volume. In the case of the Chinese commanderies, in particular Lelang, both academic consensus and extensive archaeology have confirmed the location of Lelang as having been at P’yŏngyang.

Yi asserts the notion of Korean establishment historians promoting the Mimana Nihonfu hypothesis through active mischaracterization of Kim Hyŏn-gu’s lifetime scholarship on early Korea-Japan relations that had itself focused on criticism of the original colonial era Mimana hypothesis. In 2010, Kim authored a popular history book summarizing his research and arguments, titled “Is the Mimana Nihonfu theory a fiction?” (임나일본부설은 허구인가) and this is principally the work Yi (2014) mischaracterizes.

‘Mimana Nihonfu’ (Mimana Japan office) is a term uniquely attested in the 8th century Nihon shoki, but Mimana (K. Imna) alone, as well as Imna Kara (a variant of Kaya), are attested in various earlier sources including the Kwanggaet’o stele (414) and contemporary Chinese histories, as well as the later Samguk sagi. The colonial era interpretation of Mimana Nihonfu was to equate it to the Kaya states as an organ of archepelago Yamato control over the southern peninsular states of Kaya, Paekche and Silla. The finalized archetype of this interpretation is “A history of the rise and fall of Mimana” (1949 任那興亡史) written by Suematsu Yasukazu (末松保和 1904-1992).

In “The colonial view of history within us” Yi accuses Kim of actively promoting the Mimana Nihonfu hypothesis and explicitly denounces him as a ‘national traitor’ on a par to Yi Wan-yong (1858-1926), a figure known with the greatest infamy in Korea today as the minister who signed the 1910 treaty of annexation sealing Korea’s temporary fate as a colony to Japan. In October 2014, Kim Hyŏn-gu filed charges of defamation against Yi. Following an initial rejection the case went to trial and Yi was found guilty and sentenced to six months with a two year reprieve. However, following an appeal and a problematic second trial Yi was ultimately cleared in May 2017. With legal options exhausted and Yi seemingly vindicated, Kim’s “Colonial historiography cartel” (2017) seeks to lay out his case for the discerning public.

“Colonial historiography cartel” consists of two main components: a summary of the court cases with contextual information on Kim’s research and details of the arguments put forward, and a fierce counter attack against Yi Tŏk-il which, in a reversal of Yi’s own mantra, identifies Yi with a wider ‘cartel’ of actors promoting their conspiracy of colonial historiography.

Until the recent wave of critiques, when Korean scholars have previously sought to explain the fallacies and motivations of Taejonggyo-ist empire advocates, such as Yi, they have typically characterized them, semi-apologetically, as being overly zealous Korean nationalists. This caution has likely been calculated to avoid the risk of being denounced themselves as unpatriotic or pro-Japanese. However, rather than treating Yi as a misguided patriot, Kim (2017) seeks to turn the tables, not only defending the record of his own critical research on Mimana against Yi’s false accusations, but explicitly accusing Yi of having in his earlier works promoted core aspects of the Mimana hypothesis himself, and thus been guilty of the very crime with which he falsely accused Kim. “Colonial historiography cartel” seeks not only to clear Kim’s name in the public record, but to highlight Yi’s false credentials as a self-styled patriotic historian from which much of his public persona and political influence derives.

The timeline of the legal case is as follows with further details summarized after.

2014.10        Kim files charges of defamation.
2015.4.30     Rejected on the grounds of lack of evidence.
2015.5          Kim appeals the decision and the case goes to trial.
2016.2.5       Yi found guilty and sentenced to six months with a two year reprieve.
Yi appeals and the case goes to second trial.
2017.5.11     Yi found not guilty.

2014.10        Kim files charges of defamation

Kim (2017) provides four examples from Yi (2014) in which the arguments of Kim (2010) are actively misrepresented and six examples of defamatory ad hominem. P54-55

2015.4.30 Rejection on the grounds of “lack of evidence” p57

Three grounds for rejection:

  1. Plaintiff’s usage of ‘Japanese type’ (일본식) terminology.
  2. The frequency of citations from Nihon shoki.
  3. Usage of a map in which Kaya is marked as Mimana.

Based on the above three points, the Prosecutor’s office (서울서부지방검찰청) argued that even though, ‘on the surface’ Kim’s book indeed argues Paekche to have played the dominant role (in relations with Japan), Yi had expressed an opinion that Kim’s work could equally be interpreted as supporting the view that early Japan had ruled over the south of the peninsula.

Kim’s response is that the three points above are superficially based on the citations of Nihon shoki necessarily used within his work, rather than his own accompanying arguments.

2015.5    Kim appeals the decision and the case goes to trial. P60 (details of 1st trial 63-78)

The question of whether Yi was guilty of defaming Kim’s character hung on whether Yi’s characterization of Kim’s research was accurate. If so, then Yi’s accusations of Kim being a ‘pro-Japanese traitor’ could be accepted as Yi’s (patriotic) opinion. If not, then it would represent defamation based on false accusations. Consequently the case revolved around three accusations made in Yi (2014) against the content of Kim (2010), that:

  1. The Mimina Nihonfu is treated as fact.
  2. Paekche is treated as a suzerain state and colony of Yamato Japan through which Yamato governed the south of the peninsula.
  3. Kim believes the Nihon shoki to be factual and fails to criticize Suematsu Yasukazu’s Mimana Nihonfu hypothesis. P65

Kim (2017) responds that, to the extent these arguments exist at all, they are based on the fact that his 2010 book cites the Nihon shoki, and that Yi was unable or unwilling to distinguish between the citations and Kim’s accompanying critical analysis.

In the court case, Kim’s summarized his research and interpretations as follows. P64-65

  1. The core fallacy of Suematsu’s hypothesis was in claiming that Japan had ruled the south of the peninsula for 200 years, not whether the Mimana Nihonfu itself had existed or the question of how to characterize it.
  2. Korean historians have since rejected the reliability of Nihon shoki and refute the Mimana Nihonfu hypothesis.
  3. From this position, however, they take those passages of the Nihon shoki “favorable” (유리하다) to Korea, and after highlighting the question of reliability and cross referencing them with other sources, seek to discern those passages which may be reliable from those which are contradictory or false.
  4. Even while recognising that these passages may be reliable, they nevertheless reject that the term ‘Mimana Nihonfu’ itself was ever used.
  5. From 369 CE until the early 6th century, the region of Kaya on the Korean peninsula was not occupied by Japan, but administered by the Paekche Mok clan.
  6. Relations between the Paekche and Yamato courts was, nevertheless, very close, such that Paekche princes and princesses were married to the Wae imperial family (천황가) and the founder of the current Japanese imperial family was a Paekche prince.
  7. In practice the relationship can be characterized as Paekche transmitting more advance aspects of civilization (선진문물) to Japan while in return receiving Wae military support.

Citing multiple supporting passages from Kim (2010) the court rejected all three of Yi’s accusations as false. These are summarized in Kim (2017:66-74). In addition to the six month commuted sentence, Yi (2014) was banned from further publication (출판금지가처분).

Immediately following the guilty verdict and six month commuted sentence two articles appeared in newspapers in support of Yi. The first was part of a regular column in the Kyŏnggi ilbo newspaper by former 행자부장관 Hŏ Sŏnggwan (허성관) in which he criticizes the ROK prosecution (검찰) for, in his view, prosecuting those who would criticize ‘extreme right’ historians. The second was by former 참여정부 정책실장, Yi Chŏng-u (이정우), appearing in the Kyŏnghyang sinmun (2016.2.18 in Korean) under the title “Is Korea still a [Japanese] colony?” In response to these, the West Seoul court (서울서부지방법원) published the details of its verdict, which Kim (2017) reproduces pp77-78.

Yi appeals and the case goes to second trial. P79-94

Following an appeal by Yi and second trial, the first verdict was overturned. According to this second verdict, although Kim (2010) does not contain passages explicitly supporting Yi’s three accusations – as given in the first trial – the accusations themselves were not false statements (허위사실). P80 Two arguments given to support this verdict are as follows:

  1. Although Kim argues the rulers of Mimana to have been Paekche (and not Yamato), he treats all other aspects of Suematsu’s Mimana Nihonfu hypothesis, and the content of the Nihon shoki both as fact.
  2. Although on the surface, Kim appears to describe the relationship between the Paekche and Yamato courts as equal, in actuality he describes Paekche as though it were a suzerain state to Yamato. P118

In response to the first point, Kim notes that, in having accepted Yi’s fallacious arguments, the court had failed to understand the core problem of Suematsu’s interpretation. Rather than being the question of whether Yamato had controlled the south of the peninsula – as advocated by Suematsu – they instead follow Yi in equating any mention of the Wae or Mimana operating on the peninsula to Suematsu, and by extension Japanese colonial interpretations.  P124 On the second point, Kim again highlights the inability or unwillingness of the court (?재판부) to distinguish between citations from Nihon shoki and Kim’s own critical analysis. p104

The concluding justification given in the verdict is that Yi’s interpretation of Kim (2010) being “no different to Suematsu’s Mimana Nihonfu hypothesis” represents Yi’s ‘subjective opinion’ of Kim’s book based on his own reading, and is therefore not defamatory. P119


Kim’s counter case against Yi Tŏk-il

Throughout “Colonial historiography cartel”, Kim describes himself as someone who has devoted the past thirty years of his career as a professional historian working to disprove the colonial era Mimana Nihonfu hypothesis represented in the work of Suematsu. Already an emeratus professor, for Kim to end his career with his name and research having been actively besmirched by Yi Tŏk-il is understandably a both personally tragic and depressing irony. However, Kim (2017) not only details the post-truth, Kafkaesque legal case, but mounts an active counter attack against Yi Tŏk-il, denouncing him, not merely as a misguided Korean nationalist, but as a “historically unparalleled agent of colonial historiography” who in previous works has himself “openly marked [on maps] the [Japanese] Wae as occupying the southwest of the Korean peninsula”. 사상 유례가 없는 식민사학의 앞잡이 노릇을 하고 있고 버젓이 왜(倭)를 한반도 지도 서남부에 표기해 놓고 있는 이덕일 (Kim 2017:157)

To support this accusation, Kim cites extensively from two of Yi’s earlier works, “Riddles of Korean history 1” (1999 – 우리 역사의 수수께끼 1 coauthored with Yi Hŭigŭn 이희근) and “700 year riddle of Koguryŏ” (2000 – 고구려 700년의 수수께끼). In both cases Yi argued that the Wae referred to as active on the Korean peninsula – as attested on the Kwanggaet’o Stele and in both Nihon shoki and Samguk sagi – represent an original Japanese ethnic polity which was located on the southwest of the peninsula before crossing to the Japanese isles and going on to establish Yamato. In particular, Yi accepts the description of the Wae as having controlled the south of the peninsula and been the dominant power over Paekche and Silla. Yi’s argument precludes the Japanese colonial interpretations of the Wae invading the south of the peninsula from Japan – as the explanation is that rather the Wae came from the peninsula – but still premises the presence of the Wae as having formerly occupied the peninsula. Kim argues that this is therefore closer to Japanese interpretations, in particular Egami’s horserider hypothesis, and in contrast to the Korean academic consensus which rejects the dominance of ethnic Wae over Paekche or Silla. P18-20 He further highlights Yi’s then acceptance of the Songshu (宋書 478) Wae treatise which records an elaborate title bestowed on the Wae king in 438 indicating lordship over the Korean polities of Paekche, Silla, Mimana/Imna, Chinhan and Mohan (Mahan). Kim again notes that, in contrast to Yi (1999), Korean academic consensus rejects this source as ahistorical. P22 According to Kim, Yi (1999) further takes the keyhole shaped tombs found around Naju in South Chŏlla province as evidence of the Japanese Wae presense. Yi (2000) repeats similar interpretations and includes a map of the peninsula, reproduced by Kim (2017:24) in which Wae is marked as a distinct polity south of Paekche.

Ironically these earlier interpretations by Yi are more reasonable than Kim is willing to allow. However, the valid argument made by Kim, is that according to Yi’s recent ‘colonial historiography’ polemic – as adopted by both the National Assembly special committee leading to termination of the digital East Asian atlas project, and in the false characterization of Kim as a pro-Japanese historian – by accepting the Nihon shoki and other records without qualification and consequently reasoning the Wae to have been a dominant peninsular force over Paekche and Silla, Yi’s earlier interpretations, by his own current standard, are closer to the premises of colonial era Japanese historiography than Kim (2010). To highlight this, Kim presents in table format a comparison of Yi (1999 and 2000) to Kim (2010) subdivided into five topics. (Kim 2017:46-49)

  1. Which polity subjugated the 7 Kaya states.
  2. Which polity led the Wae forces as recorded on the Kwanggaeto Stele.
  3. The relationship between Wae, Paekche and Silla.
  4. Interpretation of the Songshu Wae treatise.
  5. Mimana/Imna and Wae.

The details of this table which contains direct quotes from the works in question is summarized below.

On which polity subjugated the Seven Kaya states:

Yi (1999:23)

  • As attested in Nihon shoki (신공49년 369) the force that, together with Paekche king Kŭnchogo, overthrew the Seven Kaya states and the remnant Mahan, was likely to have been peninsular Wae.

Kim (2010:50)

  • The Nihon shoki record concerning the subjugation of the 7 Kaya states refers to Paekche and has no relation to the Yamatao regime. 야마토 정권이 가야 7국 평정 이하의 작전 주체가 될 수 없다는 것은 군데의 집결지를 보더라도 알 수 있다.

On which polity led the Wae forces as recorded on the Kwanggaet’o Stele:

Yi (2000:19-20, 42)

  • In response to Koguryŏ’s southward expansion, Paekche, Wae and Kaya formed an alliance. The subsequent Stele entry for the year 404 (Yŏngnak 14) records that Wae formed an alliance with Paekche and raided Koguryŏ’s Taebang (帶方) region, confirming that the main force which fought northwards against Koguryŏ was the Wae.

Kim (2010:167)

  • The Wae referred to on the Stele as fighting with Koguryŏ was actually an alliance of Paekche, Wae and Kaya, led by Paekche. The Wae were involved in return for the transmission of advanced culture from Paekche.

On the relationship between Wae, Paekche and Silla:

Yi (2000:13-14)

  • In Samguk sagi, both Paekche Annal King Asin year 6 (397) and Silla Annal King Silsŏng year 1 (401), record instances of princes being sent as hostages to the Wae state, demonstrating that at the time the Wae were a powerful polity whose influence extended over Paekche and Silla.

Kim (2010:144)

  • The relationship between Paekche and Yamato can be characterized as one in which Paekche transmitted advanced civilization and Yamato provide military support. In short, Yamato were mercenaries.

Kim (2010:169)

  • Most of the references to Wae in Samguk sagi show that they were close to Paekche and hostile to Silla. Similarly on the Kwanggaet’o Stele, Wae are described as helping Paekche against Koguryŏ and Silla.

On interpretation of the Songshu Wae treatise:

Yi (1999:27)

  • The Songshu entries for the years 420-479 attest the Wae’s presense on the peninsula.

Yi (1999:12-15)

  • If only symbolically (형식적), through conferring the title of ‘Wae, Paekche, Silla, Mimana, Chinhan and Mahan’ the Southern Song acknowledged the Wae’s past presense on the peninsula.
  • If only symbolically, the Wae were able to assert their jurisdiction over the south of the peninsula.

Kim (2010:177)

  • A generation after Wae had militarily supported Paekche, the Wae came to be regarded (by history) as the main force.
  • Consequently the five Wae kings (recorded in Songshu) who at the time supported Paekche against Koguryŏ from 438 onwards later came to be regarded as the leaders (of the campaigns) over Paekche.

Concerning Mimana/Imna and Wae:

Yi (2000:107-108)

  • The Kwanggaeto Stele records the region to which the Wae army retreated as being Imna Kara. This is related to the Mimana Nihonfu and suggests that Imna Kara was under Wae influence.

Kim (2010:83)

  • All of the references to Yamato being in control of the south of the peninsula, in fact refer to Paekche’s control of Imna/Mimana.

Kim (2010:95)

  • The Nihon shoki references seeming to describe Yamato controlling Mimana in fact all refer to Paekche.


Pseudo historiography network

In the two final chapters, Kim (2017) details further individuals and organizations either directly associated with Yi Tŏk-il, or sympathetic to his conspiracy narrative.

Ch’oe Chaesŏk 최재석

  • Retired sociology professor of Koryo University.
  • Known for authoring several amateur works on early Korea-Japan relations.

[Ch’oe works include:

Ch’oe Chaesŏk 崔在錫. 1990. 百濟의 大和와 日本化過程. Seoul: Ilchisa 一志社.
Ch’oe Chaesŏk 崔在錫. 1999. 古代韓國과 日本列島. Seoul: Ilchisa 一志社.

These works argue Yamato Japan to have been founded by Paekche immigrés. They adopt the revisionist hypothesis of North Korean historian Kim Sŏk-hyŏng, according to which Nihon shoki references to Mimana and Three Kingdoms’ era Korean polities refer to Korean colonies located in Japan.]

  • Holds a grudge against Kim Hyŏn/gu and professional historians for rejecting his papers from academic journals.
  • He consequently published his work as non peer-reviewed books.
  • In his 2011 autobiography “Reversed fortunes” (역경의 행운) Ch’oe accused Kim of being pro-Japanese. Therein two of his arguments are:
  1. Kim’s earlier work on early Japan-Korea relations – originally his doctoral dissertaion completed in Japan and written in Japanese – “Research on foreign relations of the Yamato regeme” (大和政権の対外関係研究, 1985) actively omits Korea from the title.
  2. When completing his doctorate in Japan, Kim’s supervising professor was Mizuno Yū (水野祐). Mizuno believed that Korea had been a colony of early Japan from the 1st century and so Kim must be maintaining the opinion of his former supervisor.
  • Kim dismisses both of these conspiracy type arguments as absurd. In particular he highlights that his interpretation of Mimana and early relations differed from his supervisor, Mizuno, but that Mizuno had nevertheless accepted the logic of his argumentation and awarded him the doctorate. (Kim 2017:138)

[Ch’oe (2011) and his earlier works are cited by Yi (2014), so this is likely the source of Yi’s accusations against Kim.]

Hwang Sunjong 황순종

  • Hwang is a civil servant who had graduated from Seoul National University as an ecnomics major. (Kim 2017:140)
  • In 2016 during the court case against Yi, Hwang published a book titled “There was no Mimana Nihonfu” (임나일본부는 없었다).
  • The book is published by Mankwŏndang 만권당, who were the publishers of Yi (2014) and (2015).
  • Various passages from Hwang (2016) are either similar or identical to written arguments Yi had submitted to the Mapo police station (마포경찰서) in 2014 at the beginning of the defamation case.
    • Kim (2017:142-143) includes five examples of near identical content.
    • This includes a shared error in which both Hwang and Yi claim Kim (2010) equates Mimana to the region of Kimhae {corresponding to Tae Kaya, the more powerful of the Kaya polities}, when Kim (2010) states multiple times that Mimana was in the region of Koryŏng.
  • Hwang (2016:30) asserts that locating Mimana in the south of the peninsula is equivalent to the ‘colonial view of history’ which, according to Kim, should again implicate Yi’s earlier books which do likewise.

To Chonghwan 도종환

Kim (2017:148) highlights the case of To Chonghwan’s statements made in 2017.6.6 as candidate to become the current minister of culture wherein he claimed that Japanese still equate the Mimana Nihonfu to Kaya, and that current Korean research on Kaya is being funded by Japan.

Hŏ Sŏnggwan 허성관

  • A member of Yi Tŏk-il’s Hangaram History and Culture Research Centre (한가람역사문화연구소), formerly held high positions in the civil service as 해수부장관, 행자부장관, 광주과기원장.
  • As noted above, in his own column in the Kyŏnggi ilbo newspaper (허성관 칼럼) 2015.12.8 (in Korean), Hŏ repeated Yi’s accusations against Kim.

Yi Chŏng-u 이정우

  • Economist and professor emeratus at Kyungpook National University (경북대학교).
  • Kim argues Yi Chŏng-u had merely read Yi (2014) yet demonstrates ingnorance of basic concepts of the dispute such as muddling the notion of Mimana Nihonfu as the object of control, rather than the organ through which control of the greater region was administered. (Kim 2017:154)

Lawyers Pak Ch’anjong and Yi Sŏk-yŏn 박찬종·이석연

  • Provided free counsel to Yi Tŏk-il during the first trial.
  • Pak Ch’anjong had previously been a presidential candidate.

Seongnam city mayor Yi Chaemyŏng 이재명

  • Seongnam city mayor and presidential candidate for the Minju party.
  • Following Yi Tŏk-il’s acquittal, Yi Chaemyŏng Tweeted a message congratulating Yi and stating, “We must always uproot pro-Japanese [elements] that have infiltrated our society.” 우리 사회 곳곳에 침투한 친일 세력들 언젠가 반드시 뿌리를 뽑아야지요. 이덕일 소장님 무죄판결 출하하고 환영합니다 (Kim 2017:156)

Internet group ‘Righteous Army Division for history’ 역사의병대 (website in Korean)

Korean ‘internet cafe’ whose name evokes the ‘righteous army’ term used to refer to the peoples resistance against the 1592 Hideyoshi invasion of Korea, and subsequently to resistance fighters based in Manchuria during the Japanese colonial period. (Kim 2017:156)

  • The group’s website lists Kim Hyŏngu and Song Hojŏng among ‘7 enemies of history’.
  • Two members of the Young Historians Collective, Sin Gayeong (신가영) and Ki Kyoung-ryang, are included among the ‘next generation of 7 enemies of history.

‘Headquarters of the people’s movement for the dismantling of colonial historiography’ (식민사학 해체 국민운동본부)

  • Established 2014.3.19. (Kim 2017:158)
  • High profile actors include: former 국정원장 Yi Chongch’an, Kallilli Church (갈릴리교회) pastor In Myŏngjin and Hŏ Sŏnggwan.
    • Yi Chongch’an is the grandson of independence activist Yi Hŏeyŏng (李會榮 1867-1932), known for resisting the Japanese annexation of Korea and helping establish the Sinhŭng military academy (신흥무관학교) in Manchuria.
  • Appointed Yi Tŏk-il as head of their academic committee (학술위원장직).

Misahyŏp association 미사협

Misahyŏp is an abbreviation for ‘Association for correct history heading to the future’ (미래로 가는 바른 역사 협의회).

According to Hŏ Sŏnggwan’s Kyŏnggi sinmun column (2017.6.5 in Korean), Misahyŏp claims to represent some 140 smaller history groups.

The Tide Turns? Part IV

Activities of the Young Historians
(Part 2 of 2)

3) Hankyoreh 21 series “Real Ancient History” (2017.7.26 – 2017.9.6)

“Real ancient history” (진짜 고대사 in Korean) was a series of seven articles, six written by members of the Young Historians affiliation and one further article by Kim Taehyŏn, a founding member of the ‘Manin mansaek researcher network’ (만인만색연구자네트워크) that was separately established in November 2015 to oppose the imposition of a single government authored textbook.

Representing a further distillation of key themes treated in the Young Historians’ book, each of the seven articles addresses one of a canon of topics regularly appearing in the works of pseudo historians. Authorship of the individual articles and their main topic area are as follows.

2017.07.26    Wi Kaya 위가야                      Mimana-Kaya
2017.08.08    An Chŏngjun 안정준              Kwanggaet’o Stele
2017.08.09    Ki Kyŏng-nyang 기경량         Lelang Commandery
2017.08.16    Ki Kyŏng-nyang                    Commandery archaeology
2017.08.23    Kang Chinwŏn 강진원           Hongshan Culture
2017.08.29    Kwŏn Sunhong 권승홍        SK establishment historiography
2017.09.06    Kim Taehyŏn 김대현             1970s pseudo historiography and Hwandan kogi

Below are summary points from each article. I have taken the liberty of reducing the arguments to two components: the ‘pseudo claims’ the article addresses and the core point of ‘refutation’ made by the authors: this is not the structure of the original articles which are written free form. Accompanying pictures are principally from the original articles.

Article 1. “There are not even proponents of the Mimana Nihonfu theory in Japan” (임나일본부설 추종 학자 일본에도 없다) Wi Kaya 2017.07.26


Pseudo claims:

  • Equating the Mimana Nihonfu (任那日本府) with Kaya was a colonial era Japanese conspiracy.
  • Current day establishment historians who reference Nihon shoki are pro-Japanese.


  • There are no longer even Japanese scholars who support the view of Mimana having been an early Japanese organ of colonial control.
  • SK scholars’ work on Mimana has worked to stress peninsular agency of Paekche and Kaya.
  • The equation of Mimana/Imna to Kaya, is independently attested in early Chinese and Korean sources and so is not a Japanese invention.

This first article contextualizes the question of Mimana against the context of comments made the previous month by assemblyman To Chonghwan, who had been a leading participant of the National Assembly hearings and was at the time of the article a candidate for the position of Minister of Sport and Culture, to which he has since been appointed. To Chonghwan was a vocal opponent to the government authored textbook policy, but was apparently sympathetic to Yi Tŏk-il’s anti-Japanese conspiracy narrative. On 6 June 2017, To was quoted by Hankyoreh newspaper stating:

“In the Mimana Nihonfu theory the Japanese equate Mimana to Kaya. There is much research written by Korean scholars promoting this opinion which has been funded by the Japanese..” 일본이 임나일본부설에서 임나를 가야라고 주장했는데, 일본의 연구비 지원으로 이 주장을 쓴 국내 역사학자들 논문이 많으며

“There is a dispute over Kaya history because there are Korean scholars who think the Japanese theory is reasonable”. 가야사에서 일본 쪽 주장이 일리 있다는 국내 학자들이 있어서 쟁점이 생긴 상황

Wi argues that this polemic is borrowed from Yi Tŏk-il’s 2014 book in which, on the topic of Mimana, Yi targets the work of scholar Kim Hyŏn-gu, wilfully mischaracterizing his research as affirming the Mimana Nihonfu theory and denouncing Kim as a promoter of the ‘colonial view of history’. The details of this claim and Kim’s counter arguments are addressed in his own book, “Colonial historiography cartel” discussed in the following post.

Wi’s article provides an overview of the history of research on Mimana, including the following.

Suematsu Yasukazu (末松保和 1904-1992)

“A history of the rise and fall of Mimana” 『任那興亡史』(1949)

  • Japanese authored work archetypal of the colonial era interpretation in which Mimana is describe as the office through which Yamato Japan administered the south of the Korean peninsula as a colonial possession.

Kim Sŏkhyŏng (金鍚亨 1915-1996)

“History of early Korea-Japan relations: Yamato and Mimana”『古代朝日関係史大和政権と任那』(1966, Japanese translation 1969)

  • Kim Sŏkhyŏng was a former student of Suematsu. Later moved to North Korea.
  • Kim (1966) introduced revisionist argument that all of the Nihon shoki references to Korean polities, in fact, refer to Korean enclaves in Japan.
  • This triggered a re-assessment of the orthodox Mimana hypothesis among Japanese scholars.

South Korean scholars

Ch’ŏn Kwan-u “Restored Kaya history”『復元加那史』(1977)

Kim Hyŏn-gu “Research on foreign relations of the Yamato regeme”『大和政權の對外關係硏究』(1985)

These works:

  • Accept the presence of Mimana on the peninsula.
  • But seek to re-attribute control of peninsular Mimana from Japan to Paekche.
  • Argue Nihon shoki to have been compiled under influence of Paekche immigré refugees

As highlighted by Wi, a core counter argument to the pseudo historians’ claims that the Mimana hypothesis was invented by colonial era historians is that Mimana/Imna is independently attested in both early Chinese and Korean sources.

  • One example given by Wi is the is the Chingyŏng Taesa stele text (眞鏡大師塔碑 erected 924) composed by a descendent of famed Silla general Kim Yusin. Kim Yusin was of the Kŭmgwan Kaya (modern Kimhae) royal lineage, and on the stele the Taesa claims to be a descendent of the Imna (Mimana) royalty.
  • Mimana can therefore neither be a colonial era invention as claimed by Yi (2014), nor located within Japan as revisionist Korean historians from Kim Sŏkhyŏng have argued.

Article 2. “The political, all too political Kwanggaet’o Stele” (정치적인, 너무나 정치적인 광개토왕비) An Chŏng Chun 2017.08.02


An’s article discusses the 414 Kwanggaet’o Stele, focusing on the Sinmyo year (辛卯 391) entry:

The people of Paekche and Silla originally belonged [to Koguryŏ, to whom they] came and paid tribute.

而倭以辛卯年來 渡海破百殘□□□羅 以爲臣民
But in the Sinmyo year, Wae came across the sea and defeated Paekche [and Sil]la, making them {their} subjects.

Pseudo claim:

  • The Sinmyo year (391) entry on the Kwanggaet’o Stele recording a Japanese Wae invasion of Paekche and Silla was falisified by Japanese military historians.


  • Evidence for the hypothesis that the stele text had been altered has been proven false.
  • The text should be accepted as unaltered, but should be interpreted as an original exaggeration by Koguryŏ propagandists who wanted to exaggerate the threat of Wae in the south for dramatic effect.
    • The accompanying claim that Paekche and Silla were subordinate to Koguryŏ is patently false.


An summarizes the background of the current day interpretations.

1883 Stele rediscovered by Sakō Kagenobu (酒匂景信 1850-91).

  • Sinmyo year entry used to support Mimana hypothesis.

1930s Chŏng Inbo (1893-1950) tried to refute this by arguing the grammatical subject of the passage to be Koguryŏ rather than the Wae.

1972 Zainichi Korean Yi Chin hŭi (이진희) argued the inscription had been altered by the Japanese military.

  • This is the source for current day pseudo conspiracy theories.

1981 This hypothesis was refuted by Chinese scholar Wang Jianqun 王健群.

Wi thus asserts that the Japanese distortion hypothesis has long been negated but that it remains a conspiracy hypothesis peddled by pseudo historians. He argues such an approach is no better than early Japanese interpretations.

An asserts the content of the stele text should be accepted, but interpreted critically as contemporary Koguryŏ propaganda. He cites the work of another zainichi scholar, “A created ancient past” (만들어진 고대, 2001) by Yi Sŏngsi (이성시 Waseda University), as representative of this approach.

Article 3. “Lelang commandery was located at P’yŏngyang” (낙랑군은 평양에 있었다)
Ki Kyŏngnyang 2017.08.08


Pseudo claims:

  • The Han Commanderies, particularly Lelang and (post-Han period) Daifang, were never located on the Korean peninsula, but rather in the region of (eastern) Hebei, or even further to the west.
  • The P’yŏngyang location theory was invented by colonial Japanese scholars.
    • Anyone promoting it is therefore furthering colonial Japanese historiography.
  • There is no evidence of the commanderies having been located on the peninsula.


  • There was already a pre 20th century tradition of locating Lelang at P’yŏngyang.
    • Examples include both Samguk sagi and Chŏng Yak-yong’s Abang gang‘yŏggo (我邦疆域考).

[Here it should be noted, that pre 20th century Korean scholars’ acceptance of P’yŏngyang as the location for Lelang is explained by pseudo historians as owing to traditional Sinocentricism (사대주의). This explanation originates with nationalist historian Sin Ch’aeho whose colonial era writings blame much of Korea’s contemporary misfortunes on the pre 20th century elite’s supposed cultural subordination to China, which Sin traces to Silla’s overthrow of Koguryŏ.

The Chŏng Yak-yong example is pertinent as Yi (2014) falsely claims Chŏng to have located Lelang in Liaodong.]

  • Chinese sources contemporary to the period of the commandery – Sanguozhi and Hou Hanshu – give the location of Lelang and Daifang relative to other Korean peninsular polities.
  • In particular, the Samhan are described as south of Daifang, making it impossible for Lelang or Daifang to have been on the eastern Hebei coast.

[Yi Tŏk-il has been unable to explain this, but instead argues that the Samhan were never located on the peninsula and that the Samhan themself are another colonial era conspiracy to reduce the early foundation dates for the southern Three Kingdoms era polities of Paekche, Kaya and Silla. This may in part be inspired by Sin Ch’aeho who had claimed the names of the original Samhan to have been derived from continental Manchurian polities that, according to Sin’s scheme, were later forced to retreat into the Korean peninsula.]

  • ‘Primary sources’ cited by Yi Tŏk-il are actually later annotations to Hanshu and Hou Hanshu so are not primary.
  • References to Lelang and Daifang being located in Liaodong and Liaoxi found in later Chinese sources (including annotations to earlier works) refer to contemporary circumstances of Lelang and Daifang communities who had relocated after the commanderies’ historical existence came to an end c.313 CE.
    • This is the concept of kyoch’i (僑置 교치).


Article 4. “A false frame established by falsehood” (가짜가 내세우는 ‘가짜’ 프레임)
Ki Kyŏngnyang 2017.08.14


Pseudo claims:

  • All archaeology associated with the Lelang commandery at P’yŏngyang was fabricated.
  • The Old Chosŏn capital of Wanghŏm-sŏng (王險城) was located in Liaoxi (current day eastern Hebei).


  • There is overwhelming archaeological evidence of Lelang at P’yŏngyang, including not only the results of Japanese colonial era excavations but many subsequent excavations by North Korean archaeologists.
  • By contrast, there is no archaeological evidence of Wanghŏm-sŏng having been located in Hebei.
  • What has been fabricated at P’yŏngyang is the more recent Tangun tomb.
    • North Korean authorities have been motivated by an ethnic chauvinism similar to that of South Korean pseudo historians.

Ki’s second article provides a counter argument to one of the central conspiracy premises held by empires advocates: that the artefacts produced by Japanese colonial era excavations at P’yŏngyang were largely fabricated. Such artefacts include: roof end titles carrying the name of Lelang (樂浪禮官·樂琅富貴), and seals (封泥) identifying 23 of Lelang’s 25 subordinate counties. The claim of fabrication was first made at the time by Chŏng Inbo and, needless to say, is repeated in Yi (2014).

Ki highlights, however, that since the colonial era, North Korean archaeologists have excavated some 2,600 tombs which – to outside observers, at least – are clearly Chinese Han in construction style, containing in particular a large number of Chinese lacquerware items. Yi Tŏk-il has argued these were just tombs of Chinese prisoners of war held by Koguryŏ, which is also the current North Korean explanation.

Ki also highlights the Lelang census tablets (戶口簿 45 BCE) unearthed from a P’yŏngyang tomb, the discovery of which occured around 1992 but, no doubt owing to the implications of such a find, was not acknowledged until 2006. Constituting near irrefutable proof for the P’yŏngyang location of Lelang, Yi Tŏk-il has nevertheless variously argued that the tablets were either buried with a Lelang defector (locating Lelang in Hebei), or that they are again Japanese forgeries. Not mentioned by Ki, in Yi (2014) he even suggests that they were forged by North Korea in order to confuse South Korean scholarship and keep it inferior to that of the North!

Ki goes on to argue that, by contrast, there is no archaeological evidence for Wanghŏm-sŏng having been located in Hebei. He also makes the argument that, according to the logic of colonial era ManSen-shi (滿鮮史 Manchuria-Korea history) historiography – a colonial era paradigm that grouped the two regions as one in order to justify Imperial Japanese expansion from Korea into Manchuria – if Lelang (as the successor to the Chosŏn capital of Wanghŏm-sŏng) could have been located deeper into Liaodong or China, it would have served to justify contemporary Japanese expansion, so there would have been less motivation to fabricate its location at P’yŏngyang. [A similar argument, not mentioned by Ki, is why the Japanese did not also fabricate archaeology for Mimana, which they similar sought to locate, but in contrast to Lelang failed to discover.]

Ki goes on to contrast the pseudo historians’ conspiracy of Lelang archaeology having been fabricated with the more obvious case of North Korean authorities fabricated excavation and ‘restoration’ of Tangun’s tomb. Details noted by Ki include:

  • North Korea claimed the supposed skeletal remains of Tangun (and his wife) dated to c.3000 BCE.
  • They thereafter proclaimed the Taedong river as the centre of a Northeast Asian civilization.
  • This necessarily made P’yŏngyang the capital of ancient Chosŏn.
  • They therefore suggested the Wanghŏm overthrown by Han China to have been a secondary capital located near the Liao river, which became Lelang. [This is, in fact, Sin Ch’aeho’s original explanation.]


Article 5. “Korea and China share the same national self-conceits” (한국과 중국, ‘국뽕은 통한’) Kang Chinwŏn 2017.08.23


Kang’s article addresses competing claims to the Neolithic Hongshan Culture (紅山文化) by both Chinese and pseudo Korean historians. In this case there is both a common claim by Chinese and pseudo Korean scholars exaggerating the significance of Hongshan, and then competing claims to jurisdiction over perceived heritage.


Common Chinese and Korean pseudo claim:

  • The Hongshan Culture of Inner Mongolia was a 5th civilization of the ancient world.

Chinese pseudo claim:

  • Hongshan gave rise to northern Chinese civilization.

Korean pseudo claim:

  • Hongshan is the origin of Korean Northeast Asian civilization.
    • Jade boar rings (玉豬龍) are bear designs, not pig/boar, and are thus connected to the Tangun tradition.
    • ‘Goddess’ masks correspond to the she-bear (熊女) of the Tangun story.
    • Piled stone tomb design is similar to {much later} Koguryŏ tombs.


  • There is no evidence Hongshan was comparable to other ancient civilizations.
    • Hongshan lacks evidence of: writing, urban settlements, and metallurgy.
    • There is no indication of state formation processes.
  • Korean attempts to link Hongshan with Tangun and ancient Korea are no different to, and equally as conceited as, Chinese attempts to link it to ancient China through the Yellow Emperor.
  • Korean claims also risk reversal by China, who through their own claim to Hongshan could argue Koguryŏ and Korea – as supposed descendents of Hongshan – to belong to ancient Chinese civilization.

Article 6. “Does the historical establishment still appear pro-Japanese” (아직도 역사학계가 친일로 보이나요?) Kwŏn Sunhong 2017.08.30


From left: Sin Ch’aeho, Yi Pyŏngdo and Yi Kibaek

Pseudo claim:

  • South Korean establishment historians starting from Yi Pyŏngdo have continued only to pursue Japanese colonial historiography.


  • Establishment historians have actively sought to overturn colonial historiography.
  • In particular they have worked to negate Japanese ‘stagnancy’ (정테성론) and ‘heteronomy’ (타율성론) characterizations of Korean history through the ‘internal development theory’ (내재적 발전론).

To support these refutations, Kang’s article provides an overview of colonial era and subsequent South Korean historiography, summarized as follows.

Colonial era

  • ‘Stagnancy’ was first countered by Korean Marxist historians, with Paek Nam-un (白南雲 1894-1979) arguing for the emergence of feudalism in Silla, and Yi Ch’ŏngwŏn (李淸源) highlighting Mongol period powerful Koryŏ families (known as 權門勢族) as major landowners.
  • Heteronomy was first countered by ethno-nationalist historians, Sin Ch’aeho and Chŏng Inbo by asserting there had been an ancient Korean empire. [Needless to say this is not relevant to refuting pseudo claims!]

South Korean historiography

Yi Pyŏngdo (李丙燾 1896-1989) established source based positivism (실증).

Emergence of ‘internal development theory’ (내재적 발전론)

Yi Kibaek (李基白 1924-2004) contributed with scheme ‘성읍국가 – 얀맹왕국 – 왕족 중심 중앙집권적 귀족국가’.

Kim Yongsŏp (金容燮 b.1931) sought to highlight early ‘sprouts of capitalism’ (자본주의의 맹아) to counter the Japanese characterization of economic backwardness.

Establishment of ‘Minjung’ peoples’ historiography (민중사학)

Criticisms of internal development theory for trying to match Korea to Western notions of modernity.

21st century

  • Today the field is broadly divided between those working to revise the internal development narratives, and those searching for alternatives to both colonial and internal development theories.
  • Historians are looking for alternative subjects to transcend the minjok (ethnic nation).
  • This all continues and the field of history has been widened as a result.

Article 7. “Theirs is not a truly ethno-nationalist historiography but rather Cold War anti-Communist” (‘민족사관’ 아니라 ‘반공-냉전사관’ 이다) Kim Taehyŏn 2017.09.06


Pseudo claim:

  • Our historiography is positively ethno-nationalist (민족사학), in contrast to the pro-Japanese establishment historiography which is anti-Korean.


  • Pseudo historiography is not sincerely ethno-nationalist.
  • The immediate predecessors of the current day generation of pseudo historians were those of the 1970s, who were former Japanese imperialists turned pro-Park Chung Hee anti-Communists.
    • Their notion of ethnic nationalism (민족사학), was not that of the anti-Japanese March 1st uprising of 1919, but rather conceived itself as the antithesis to Marxist historical materialism (유물사관).
    • Their ethnic nationalism entirely ignored North Korea.
  • Hwandan gogi (桓檀古記) is a fake text authored during the same era.

In the final article of the series, Kim Taehyŏn traces the immediate origins of current day pseudo historiography to the journal Chayu (自由 ‘freedom/liberty’ est.1968.6) which was the shared forum for an influential group of 1970s era pseudo historians.

Kim highlights the right wing Japanese collaborationist background of Chayu‘s chief editor, Pak Ch’ang-am (朴倉岩 1923-2003):

  • Former lower ranking officer of the (Japanese) Manchukuo Army.
  • 1953 graduated from US military training (미국특수전학교)
  • Awarded for participation in Park Chung Hee’s 1961 coup.
  • Adopted the style name Manju (滿洲 Manchuria).
  • In the editorial to the first edition of Chayu Pak states the magazine was founded to strengthen anti-Communist spirit.
  • From 1976, Chayu became the mouth piece for the ‘Association for the pursuit of Korean history’ (국사찾기협의회) an association of influential pseudo historians established in October 1975.

Alongside this topic, Kim discusses the Hwandan kogi, which today constitutes the main scripture of Taejonggyo who regard it as an authentic  source of ancient history. Kim highlights that Hwandan kogi was first published by Yi Yurip (李裕岦 1907-1986) in 1979, but that extracts with differences to the final text had previously appeared in Chayu during the preceding decade, demonstrating the process of its recent authorship. He notes also that this supposedly ancient text contains a poem by Yu Ŭngdu (? 柳應斗 1847-1914) and that it cites from another apocryphal text Ch’ŏnbugyŏng (天符經) all undermining its authenticity.

[Concerning the main argument of this article – that the Park Chung Hee era pseudo historians were anti-Communist rather than sincerely ethno-nationalist – it should be noted that while, in particular their political lobbying activities have set a pattern for Yi Tŏk-il, their writings were not the origin of current day empire or pan-Altaic type interpretations but only an intermediary stage (though they have been directly influential on current day new religiongs of Taejonggyo and Jeungsando). While they professed anti-Communism, one of the most influential and notably right leaning members, An Hosang (安浩相 1902-1999), openly cites Ri Chirin’s work. (An 1979) The introduction of Ri (1963) to South Korean scholarship is usually traced to Yun Naehyŏn, who in the process was accused of plagiarism. The Taejonggyo-ist aspects of Yun’s work – which have been passed on to Yi Tŏk-il – owe much to An Hosang. However, as both Yun and Yi have self-identified with the more typically ethno-nationalist, or pan-Korean, political left, the question raised in this article by Kim concerning the political leanings of those during the Park Chung Hee seems only an attempt to undermine Yi’s leftist credentials. Both Yun and Yi in any event, trace their lineage to Sin Ch’aeho and Chŏng Inbo, principally via Ri Chirin.

An Hosang. 1979.  Paedal tong’i nŭn tong’i kyŏre wa tong’a munhwa ŭi palsangji 배달·동이는 동이겨레와 동아문화의 발상지. Seoul: Paek’ak munhwasa 백악문화사.]