Choe Hyeon-bae

Choe Hyeon-bae (19 October 1894 – 23 March 1970), also known by the art-name Oe Sol, was an educationalist and scholar of the Korean language.[1]

Choe Hyeon-bae
Revised RomanizationChoe Hyeon-bae
McCune–ReischauerCh'oe Hyŏn-bae
Revised RomanizationOe Sol
McCune–ReischauerOe Sol

Early life and careerEdit

Choe's family was part of the Gwangju Choe bon-gwan. He was born in Ulsan, then part of Gyeongsangnam-do in the southern half of the Korean peninsula (later South Korea). He did his secondary education at Gyeongseong High School (경성고등보통학교, in modern-day Seoul; now Kyunggi High School), and in 1910 entered the Korean Language Academy (조선어강습원에서), where he studied under Ju Sigyeong. He graduated from the Hiroshima Higher Normal School (廣島高等師範学學校, now Hiroshima University) in Hiroshima, Japan in 1919. In 1920, he began teaching at the private Dongnae High School (동래고등보통학교), but in 1922 returned to the Hiroshima Higher Normal School for further studies, and then entered the philosophy department of Kyoto Imperial University, graduating in 1925. He began teaching at the Yonhui Technical School (the predecessor of Yonsei University) in 1926, but in 1938 was removed from the service due to his involvement in a 1938 incident at the Heung-eop Club (흥업구락부).[1]

After the surrender of Japan ended World War II, Choe became the head of South Korea's Ministry of Education's Textbook Compilation Bureau.[2] He was awarded the Independence Prize of the Order of Merit for National Foundation in 1962.[1]


Choe was an advocate of writing Korean entirely in hangul rather than in mixed script (hangul and hanja). He saw the overuse of Sino-Korean vocabulary, with its many homonyms, as a symptom of the problematic elevation of foreign culture in Korean society.[3] He believed that Korea had always been a "junior member" of the "Chinese character cultural community", and argued that continuing participation in that sphere was no longer necessary in modern Korea.[4] He also argued that time spent learning hanja in primary school fostered cramming and rote memorisation, and took time away from more important studies.[5]

Selected publicationsEdit

  • 1926: 《朝鮮民族更生의道》, OCLC 222417106, 37640834 (1962 and 1971 reprints)
  • 1937: 《우리말본》, OCLC 48199495, 122769409, 17042434, 222368991 (1955, 1971, 1979, and 1994 reprints)
  • 1940: 《한글갈》
  • 1947: 《글자의 혁명 : 漢字안쓰기와 한글 가로 쓰기》, OCLC 122749696
  • 1950: 《한글의 투쟁》, OCLC 20655888 (1958 reprint)
  • 1963: 《한글 가로글씨 독본》, OCLC 48183860



External linksEdit