The Samguk-yusa form a treasure trove of information on ancient mythology, history, culture, religion, life, literature and ideology of Korea, in an early form of ethnography as early as in the 13th century in constructing collective consciousness among Korean peoples. It has significance as the first comprehensive history of Korea, containing historical accounts during and before the Three Kingdoms. It is the earliest extant record of Dungun, the mythical founder of the first legendary Korean State Gojoseon, and is also considered to be an important item documentary heritage for the study of relations among East Asian countries.
A nomination describing a most unusual mass campaign by authorities together with almost 1.5 million volunteers to address a civil disaster, applying traditional communal forms of solidarity in a modern high-tech democratic society, whose details were meticulously documented and preserved. Of particular interest is the description of impact of the accident on women fishery workers, especially female divers, recognised in higher compensation awarded.
A collection of 347 songs and poems created, recited, and recorded by Korean women from 1794 to the 1960s. Those works were produced in diverse formats including individual single-leaf documents, scrolls, and a codex. The Naebang-gasa are a record of the views of sequestered women in a male-dominated society of East Asia, serving as a witness of the efforts of women to fight for equality.
This collection also has significance in the evolution of the Korean national script, as an early manifestation of literature in Hangul script, whereas previous Korean literature and items of significance were all written in Chinese script, and almost exclusively by men. Naebang-gasa are included in the Women in History: HERstory exhibition developed by UNESCO Bangkok and MOWCAP, where they are described as important for understanding the transition of Korea into a modern society.
The Spirit of the National Debt Redemption Movement Spreads across the Globe
This was the title of an international conference organized by the Commemorative Association of the National Debt Redemption Movement to celebrate the first anniversary of the inclusion of the Archives of the Korean Debt Redemption Movement in UNESCO’s Memory of the World International Register. The conference was held in the Grand Hotel in Daegu on 2 October 2018, with over 200 attentive listeners.
The opening speech was given by Mrs Dong-Hak Shin, President of the Association, followed by welcoming and congratulatory speeches on behalf of Mr Young-Jin Kwon, Mayor of Daegu, by Mrs Ji-Sook Bae, Chairperson of the Daegu Metropolitan Council and by Mrs Eun-Hee Kang, Superintendent at the Daegu Metropolitan office.
An International Symposium on Petition Movements in the Nineteenth Century was held on 13 September 2018 at the Advanced Center for Korean Studies in Andong, Republic of Korea.
There are two inscriptions on petition movements on international registers. The New Zealand Women’s Suffrage Petition was inscribed on the Memory of the World International Register in 1998. The Maninso: Ten Thousand People’s Petitions was inscribed on the MOWCAP register in 2018.
The Women’s Suffrage Petition requested the New Zealand Parliament to extend the franchise to women aged 21 years and over. It consists of 546 sheets of paper, glued together to form one continuous roll, 274 metres long. It was presented to the New Zealand Parliament with great drama. John Hall, a Member of Parliament and suffrage supporter, brought it into the House and unrolled it down the central aisle of the debating chamber until it hit the end wall with a thud. The number of women who signed was close to one quarter of the female adult population.
On 19 September 1893, 125 years ago, New Zealand was the first country in the world to pass legislation to give women the same voting rights as men. The Women’s Suffrage petition made a major contribution to this achievement.
The Maninso: Ten Thousand People’s Petitions consist of two massive paper scrolls, each measuring some 100 metres in length. The petition for the Posthumous Enthronement of Crown Price Sado, dated 1855, was signed by 10,094 like-minded individuals and presented to the King. The Ten Thousand People’s Petitions against dress reform, dated 1884, was signed by 8,849 people and was not presented to the King. The petitions represent collective actions taken to influence reforms in important state affairs to achieve the ethical politics prescribed by Confucian ideology.
In the royal architecture of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), names carried extraordinary significance. They underlined the rulers’ political philosopy and ideology, and signified status.
The tradition of attaching signs to architectural structures is a popular cultural phenomenon in the so-called Chinese character zone in East Asia, dating back over 2000 years. The name boards and verse plaques on royal architecture of the Joseon Dynasty do not merely announce the functions and nature of the buildings, they are an agglomeration of holy teachings, verse, poetry, calligraphy, decoration and architectural art of those times. They are not only a symbol of social and cultural fashion, but also a way of expression of the ruling ideology philosophy of the Joseon dynasty, from which we can learn about the influence of Confucianism. The nominated documents are of great value for the study of history and architectural art, as well as the cultural exchanges among East Asian Countries in the Joseon Dynasty.
There are two documents which are the artifacts of collective actions undertaken by independent intellectuals of the Joseon period (1392-1910), to influence reforms in important state affairs toward ethical politics prescribed by Confucian ideology.
10,094 like-minded individuals signed the Ten Thousand People’s Petition for the Posthumous Enthronement of Crown Prince Sado, dated 1855, and the Ten Thousand People’s Petition against Dress Reform, dated 1884, bore the signatures of 8,849 persons. These two documents are early examples of a democratic process involving thousands of people and of the practical application of Confucian ethics to the sphere of government. In addition, they are the only surviving examples from seven mass campaigns of collective public action undertaken by Confucian intellectuals between the late 18th century and the early 19th century during the Joseon Dynasty.
The wooden plaques are hand carved and were hung at the centre of a traditional Korean building. The 550 unique plaques, cared for at the Advanced Center for Korean Studies (ACKS), were produced from the 16th century to the 20th century and entrusted to the Center’s care by clan families and Confucian academies. The industrialisation of Korea from 1960 has resulted in the disappearance of the traditional buildings on which wooden plaques were usually hung, and those that remained were at risk of damage or theft if left on the outside of buildings.
The inscriptions on the plaques are relevant to the different types of building on which they hung. Those on residential buildings were inscribed with ancestor’s moral values, those on memorial buildings commemorated ancestors learning and virtues, those on education buildings were inscribed with letters of educational ideology, and those on meditation rooms reflected the contemplative lives of virtuous scholars (seonbi).
The letters used are the artwork of kings, famous calligraphers, literary people and seonbi and form a distinctive calligraphic genre. Cultural exchanges between Korea, China, Japan and Vietnam over the period also had an impact on the calligraphies used on the plaques and they are representative of the styles of Eastern Asia as well as Korea.
The plaques represent the spiritual world, ideals and character of seonbi during the Joseon dynasty (1392-1897) and reflect their moral world and values such as filial duty and passion for and confidence in academic learning. They incorporate the artistic values of calligraphy with the Confucian view of human spirituality.