Doubts about the Edition of the 〈Samguk yusa〉

Doubts about the Edition of the 〈Samguk yusa〉


  • Journal title: International Journal of Korean History
  • ISSN: 1598-2041 (print) 2508-5921 (online)
  • Publisher: Korea University, Center for Korean History
  • Country of publisher: korea, republic of
  • Date added to EuroPub: 2018/May/12

Subject and more

  • LCC Subject Category: History
  • Publisher's keywords: Samguk yusa, Imsin edition, elder edition, first edition
  • Language of fulltext: english
  • Full-text formats available: PDF


    Daejae Park



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The <Samguk yusa (Legends and History of the Three Kingdoms of Ancient Korea)> compiled by the Koryŏ era Buddhist monk Ilyŏn (1206- 1289) is widely regarded as a classic in which the history and culture of ancient Korea are vividly recorded. However, the <Samguk yusa> was up until the Chosŏn era evaluated as a heretic work filled with untruths and nonsense, and the reliability of its records was denied. As the majority of its stories were based on Buddhism, it was only natural that the <Samguk yusa> was heavily criticized by the Confucian scholars of Chosŏn. However, Yi Nŭnghwa’s active use of its pages as historical materials with which to study Buddhism during the early 20th century, and Ch΄oe Namsŏn’s subsequent high evaluation of its historical value, resulted in the <Samguk yusa> becoming widely recognized after the liberation of the nation in 1945 as one of the two great sources, the other being the <Samguk sagi (History of the Three Kingdoms)> written by Kim Pusik, in terms of the study of the ancient Korean history.

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