King Sejong

Sejong the Great of Joseon
Enlarge picture
Statue of Sejong the Great of Joseon.

Statue of Sejong the Great of Joseon.
Korean name
Hangul세종대?
Hanja世宗大?
Revised RomanizationSejong Daewang
McCune-ReischauerSejong Taewang
Birth name
Hangul이?
Hanja李?
Revised RomanizationI Do
McCune-ReischauerI To
Sejong the Great (May 6 1397May 18 1450, r. 1418 - 1450) was the fourth king of the Choson Dynasty of Korea. He is best remembered for creating the native Korean alphabet Hangul, despite strong opposition from the scholars educated in hanja (Chinese script). Sejong is one of only two Korean rulers posthumously honored with the appellation "the Great," the other being Gwanggaeto the Great of Goguryeo.

Early life

Sejong was the third son of King Taejong. When he was sixteen, he became Grand Prince Chungnyeong (충녕대군; 忠寧大君) and married a daughter of Sim On (심온; 沈溫) of Cheongsong (청송; 靑松), commonly known as Lady Sim (심씨; 沈氏), who later was given the title Princess-Consort Soheon (소헌왕후; 昭憲王后).

As a young prince, Sejong excelled in various studies and was favored by King Taejong over his two older brothers..

Sejong's rise to the throne was different from most other kings. The eldest prince, Yangnyung (양녕대군), viewing himself as lacking in the requisite skills for kingship, believed that Sejong was destined to become king. Together with the second prince Hyoryung (효령대군), he believed it was their duty to place Sejong as king. So they acted extremely rudely in the court, and soon were banished from Seoul. This ploy of the two princes ultimately brought Sejong to the throne. The eldest prince became a wandering traveler and lived in the mountains. The second son travelled to a Buddhist temple, where he became a monk.

In June 1418, King Taejong abdicated and Sejong was crowned King of Joseon (in August of the same year) and began his rule. (Taejong helped in military as ex-king for 4 years, and died in 1422)

Hangul

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Hunmin Jeongeum
King Sejong the Great made a great impact on Korean history with his introduction of Hangul, the native phonemic alphabet system for the Korean language.

Before the creation of Hangul, only members of the highest class were literate. Hanja, the written language of that time, represented the Korean spoken language by using Chinese characters. One would have to learn the Chinese language in order to read and write with Hanja. Cumbersome, it disadvantaged the lower classes. In addition, Chinese and Korean were not of the same linguistic family, which Sejong believed meant that hanja could not hope to properly represent Korean.[1]

King Sejong presided over the introduction of the 28 letters of the Korean alphabet in order that Koreans from all classes could read and write. He also attempted to establish a cultural identity of his people because they had their own written language. First published in 1446, anyone could learn Hangul in a matter of days, and although banned 60 years later it experienced a revival in post-WWII Korea where it enjoys widespread usage today.

While he was involved in the development of the new alphabet, he was not the actual creator. The highly scientific nature of the new system was so complex that Sejong gave up in the middle of his work. It was not until Chong In-ji found him passed out at his desk, that Chong pledged that he would help finish Sejong's project. The first versions that were created were inadequate; however, Chong In-ji's colleague notified him that there were ancient Puyeo writings on caves in Mongolia and other parts of the Altaic region, which seemed applicable to the spoken Korean language. Chong did extensive research and found that spoken Korean could be successfully transcribed using the ancient text. There were similar caves found where the ancient script was carved into cave walls with bear and tiger claws in regions of modern North Korea. It is also thought that one of these caves is the birth place of the founder of the Korean nation, Tan'gun.

Strengthening of Korean Military

King Sejong was an effective military planner. During his era, he sent an army to destroy the increasing number of Japanese pirates appearing on Korean shores. Naval engagements quieted much pirate activity, and led to the invasion of the Japanese island of Tsushima. Korea controlled the island after this and Korean civilians were allowed to live in Tsushima.

On the northern border, he established four forts and six posts (Hangul : 사군육진 Hanja : 四郡六鎭) to safeguard his people from the hostile Chinese and Manchurian nomads living in Manchuria. He also created various military regulations to strengthen the safety of his kingdom. King Sejong supported the advancement of Korean military technology and cannon development increased. Different kinds of mortars and fire arrows were tested as well using gunpowder.

In 1433, Sejong sent Kim Jong-seo (김종서), a prominent general, north to destroy the Manchu. Kim's military campaign captured several castles, pushed north, and restored Korean territory, roughly the present-day border between North Korea and China.

Literature

Sejong overall, supported literature, and encouraged high class officials and scholars to study at the court. King Sejong also oversaw the creation of Hangul and announced it to the Korean people in the Hunminjeongeum (훈민정음), which was an announcement composed of both Hangul and Hanja.

Although most of the government officials and the aristocracy opposed the usage of Hangul, lower classes embraced it, became literate, and were able to communicate among one another easily.

Sejong's personal writings are also highly regarded. He composed the famous Yongbi Eocheon Ga (“Songs of Flying Dragons”, 1445), Seokbo Sangjeol (“Episodes from the Life of Buddha”, July 1447), Worin Cheon-gang Jigok (“Songs of the Moon Shining on a Thousand Rivers”, July 1447), and the reference Dongguk Jeong-un (“Dictionary of Proper Sino-Korean Pronunciation”, September 1447).

Sejong established the Hall of Worthies (집현전; 集賢殿; Jiphyeonjeon) in 1420 in the royal palace. He, also, gathered intellectuals from around Korea. The scholars of the Hall of Worthies documented history, drafted documents and compiled books on various topics. Korea culturally advanced through King Sejong's encouragement.

Following the principles of Neo-Confucianism, Sejong was also a humanitarian who proclaimed that there must be three trials before a final judgment is reached, and he prohibited brutality in the punishment of criminals, such as flogging.

Technology

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Jagyekru, water clock
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The tomb of Sejong the Great located in Yeoju, Gyeonggi Province, South Korea
Sejong is also credited with technological advances during his reign. During his rule, Jang Yeong-sil (장영실) (also, Chang Yongsil), who worked for the Palace Guard, became known as a prominent inventor. Jang was naturally a creative and smart thinker as a young person. However, Jang was at the bottom of the social class.

Sejong noticed Jang's skill and immediately called him to his court in Seoul. Upon giving Jang a government position and power to invent anything, the officials protested, believing that a low class person could not rise to power as a noble or a higher class. Sejong instead believed that Jang had the skill and supported his projects.

Jang invented the world's first rain gauge and created some significant water clocks and sundials.

King Sejong wanted to help farmers so he decided to create a farmer's handbook. The book contained information about the different farming techniques that he told scientists to gather in different regions of Korea.

Depending on the land of the farmers, he allowed them to pay more or less taxes. By this action, many farmers had fewer worries about keeping alive. Once the palace had a surplus of food, King Sejong shared the food with the poor peasants or farmers who needed it.

End of Reign 1450

Sejong died at the age of 53 and was buried at the Yeong Mausoleum (영릉; 英陵) in 1450. His successor was his first son, Munjong. The street Sejongno and the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts – both located in central Seoul – are named after King Sejong, and he is depicted on the South Korean 10,000-Won note.

Family

  • Father: King Taejong (태종)
  • Mother: Queen Wongyeong (원경왕후)
  • Consorts:
  1. Queen Soheon (소헌왕후)
  • Children:
  1. King Munjong (문종), 1st Son.
  2. Grand Prince Su-yang (수양대군), 2nd Son. later King Sejo.
  3. Grand Prince Anpyeong (안평대군), 3rd Son.
  4. Grand Prince Im-yeong (임영대군), 4th Son.
  5. Grand Prince Gwangpyeong (광평대군), 5th son.
  6. Grand Prince Gumseong (금성대군), 6th son.
  7. Grand Prince Pyeongwon (평원대군), 7th son.
  8. Grand Prince Youngeung (영응대군), 8th son.
  9. Princess Jeongso (정소공주), 1st daughter.
  10. Princess Jeong-eui (정의공주), 2nd daughter.

His full posthumous name

  • King Sejong Jangheon Yeongmun Yemu Inseong Myeonghyo the Great of Korea
  • 세종장헌영문예무인성명효대?
  • 世宗莊憲英文睿武仁聖明孝大?

Sejong City

In early 2007, the Republic of Korea government has decided to create a special administrative district out of part of the present Chungcheongnam-do Province, near what is presently Daejeon. The new district will be named Sejong Special Autonomous City, and is to replace Seoul as the future capital of the Republic of Korea.

Further reading

Preceded by
Taejong
Korean monarchs
(Joseon Dynasty)'''
1418–1450
Succeeded by
Munjong

See also

References

1. ^ Hunmin Jeongeum Haerye, postface of Jeong Inji, p. 27a, translation from Gari K. Ledyard, The Korean Language Reform of 1446, p. 258

External links

Hangul (한글) or Chosŏn'gŭl (조선글) [2]

ISO 15924 Hang

Note
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Origins
Traditional Chinese
Variant characters
Simplified Chinese
Simplified Chinese (2nd-round)
Traditional/Simplified (debate)
Kanji
- Man'yōgana
Hanja
- Idu
Han Tu
- Chữ Nm

..... Click the link for more information.
The Revised Romanization of Korean is the official Korean language romanization system in South Korea. It is the official South Korean replacement for the 1984 McCune-Reischauer–based romanization system.
..... Click the link for more information.
McCune-Reischauer romanization is one of the two most widely used Korean language romanization systems, along with the Revised Romanization of Korean, which replaced (a modified) McCune-Reischauer as the official romanization system in South Korea in 2000.
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The name at birth is the name a child is given by his or her parents, according to an apparently universal custom. What happens subsequently about this name has a substantial cultural component.
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Hangul (한글) or Chosŏn'gŭl (조선글) [2]

ISO 15924 Hang

Note
..... Click the link for more information.
Origins
Traditional Chinese
Variant characters
Simplified Chinese
Simplified Chinese (2nd-round)
Traditional/Simplified (debate)
Kanji
- Man'yōgana
Hanja
- Idu
Han Tu
- Chữ Nm

..... Click the link for more information.
The Revised Romanization of Korean is the official Korean language romanization system in South Korea. It is the official South Korean replacement for the 1984 McCune-Reischauer–based romanization system.
..... Click the link for more information.
McCune-Reischauer romanization is one of the two most widely used Korean language romanization systems, along with the Revised Romanization of Korean, which replaced (a modified) McCune-Reischauer as the official romanization system in South Korea in 2000.
..... Click the link for more information.
May 6 is the 1st day of the year (2nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 0 days remaining.

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Joseon (July 1392 - August 1910) (also Chosŏn, Choson, Chosun), was a sovereign state founded by Taejo Yi Seong-gye in what is modern day Korea, and lasted for approximately five centuries as one of the world's longest running monarchies.
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Capital Seoul, Pyongyang

Largest conurbation (population) Seoul
Official languages Korean
 -  Water (%) 2.
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Hangul (한글) or Chosŏn'gŭl (조선글) [2]

ISO 15924 Hang

Note
..... Click the link for more information.
Origins
Traditional Chinese
Variant characters
Simplified Chinese
Simplified Chinese (2nd-round)
Traditional/Simplified (debate)
Kanji
- Man'yōgana
Hanja
- Idu
Han Tu
- Chữ Nm

..... Click the link for more information.
personal surname may to have been the Seleucid ruler Antiochus III (223–187 BC), that was in control of Babylon, although it is very likely that Alexander III of Macedon (336–323 BC) had already received this surname.
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Gwanggaeto the Great of Goguryeo (374-413, r. 391-413) was the ninteenth monarch of Goguryeo, the northernmost of the Three Kingdoms of Korea. His full posthumous name roughly means "Very Greatest King, Broad Expander of Territory, [bringer of] Peace and Security, [buried in]
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Taejong (1367 – 1422, r. 1400-1418) was the third king of the Joseon Dynasty in Korea and the father of King Sejong the Great.

Early life

He was born as Yi Bangwon
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Sim On (1375 – 1418), was a Prime Minister of the Korean Joseon Dynasty, and the father of a Queen and father-in-law to King Sejong. He is most famously known for his unfortunate treason charges, which eventually led to his death and further strengthening of the royal power.
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Hangul (한글) or Chosŏn'gŭl (조선글) [2]

ISO 15924 Hang

Note
..... Click the link for more information.
Tsushima Island
Native name: 対?<nowiki />

Geography <nowiki/>
Location Tsushima Strait
Coordinates
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Hangul (한글) or Chosŏn'gŭl (조선글) [2]

ISO 15924 Hang

Note
..... Click the link for more information.
Origins
Traditional Chinese
Variant characters
Simplified Chinese
Simplified Chinese (2nd-round)
Traditional/Simplified (debate)
Kanji
- Man'yōgana
Hanja
- Idu
Han Tu
- Chữ Nm

..... Click the link for more information.
Hangul (한글) or Chosŏn'gŭl (조선글) [2]

ISO 15924 Hang

Note
..... Click the link for more information.
Hunmin Jeongeum (lit. The Correct/Proper Sounds for the Instruction of the People) was an entirely new and native script for the Korean people. The script was initially named after the publication, but later came to be known as Hangul.
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Hall of Worthies or Jiphyeonjeon was set up by King Sejong of the Joseon Dynasty in Korea in 1420. It consisted of scholars selected by the king. The Hall participated in various scholarly endeavors, of which the best-known may be the compilation of the
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palace is the home of a head of state or other high-ranking public figure. In some countries, such as Italy, the term is also applied to some private mansions. Many palaces are now put to other uses such as parliaments or museums.
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History is the study of the past, focused on human activity and leading up to the present day.[1] More precisely, history is the continuous, systematic narrative and research of past events as relating to the human race [1]
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