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In explaining the need for the new script, King Sejong explained that the Korean language was different from Chinese; using Chinese characters (known as hanja) to write was so difficult for the common people that only privileged aristocrats (yangban), usually male, could read and write fluently. The majority of Koreans were effectively illiterate before the invention of Hangul.

Hangul was designed so that even a commoner could learn to read and write; the Haerye says "A wise man can acquaint himself with them before the morning is over; a stupid man can learn them in the space of ten days."[6]

Hangul faced opposition by the literate elite, such as Choe Manri and other Confucian scholars in the 1440s, who believed hanja to be the only legitimate writing system, and perhaps saw it as a threat to their status.[5] However, it entered popular culture as Sejong had intended, being used especially by women and writers of popular fiction.[7] It was effective enough at disseminating information among the uneducated that Yeonsangun, the paranoid tenth king, forbade the study or use of Hangul and banned Hangul documents in 1504,[8] and King Jungjong abolished the Ministry of Eonmun (언문청 諺文廳, governmental institution related to Hangul research) in 1506.[9]

The late 16th century, however, saw a revival of Hangul, with gasa literature and later sijo flourishing. In the 17th century, Hangul novels became a major genre.[10] By this point spelling had become quite irregular.[7]


I was having trouble with a keyboard driver and came across the contribution of female authors to the korean alphabet.

seems like Japanese mobile phone novels are following the same pattern.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 31st, 2009 08:07 am (UTC)
*bats eyes*

Seeeeeeeecret Histories?
Mar. 31st, 2009 12:37 pm (UTC)
Might be tough to find out more, but hey could be fun.

Also might want to ping the Lovelace Day people


Mar. 31st, 2009 08:26 am (UTC)
But Hiragana had a similar development, much earlier, when it was seen as womens' writing (I think the term is Onnade in Japanese?) and inferior to Chinese script.

The Tale of the Genji, for example, was written entirely in hiragana script.

So, I'm not sure that mobile phone literature is similar to the development of hangul, since the Japanese already introduced a native syllabary.
Mar. 31st, 2009 12:42 pm (UTC)
I didn't know that. Thanks I'll have to chase it up.

I'm thinking of the hangul script as a media technology for communication which makes communication easier and quicker. The similarity that I was drawing between mobile phone novels and the phonetic script of korea was that it was mostly female dominated and popular in its rise - It seems that women lead the way in creating content in these new media technologies.
Apr. 1st, 2009 02:17 am (UTC)
The article I remember about the development of Hiragana was from a chapter which was focusing a lot on the history of romaji (including some late 16th century ones) in:

Coulmas, Florian (2001) "Literacy in Japan: Kanji, Kana, Romaji and Bits" in D.R. Olson and N. Torrance [eds.] The Making of Literate Societies. (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers) pp. 101-120

It might be a useful place to start, assuming you don't get distracted by the really cool pictures of manuscripts! ;)

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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