Choe Manri

Choe Manri (?-1445, sometimes spelled Choi Malli) was an associate professor in the Hall of Worthies (집현전 부제학, 集賢殿副提學) who spoke against the creation of hangul (then called eonmun) together with other Confucian scholars in 1444. He made the following submission that year to King Sejong against hangul:[1][2][3]

Choe Manri
Revised RomanizationChoe Malli
McCune–ReischauerCh'oe Malli

His protest against HangulEdit

Classical Chinese English translation
集賢殿副提學崔萬里等 上疏曰 臣等伏觀 諺文制作 至爲神妙 創物運智 瓊出千古 然而以臣等區區管見 尙有可疑者敢布危懇 謹疏于後 伏惟 聖裁 “Choe Manri, Deputy Minister for Education in the Privy Council, and others make this submission: Your Majesty's subjects observe that the creation of eonmun is sublime […] but in our limited vision, we have some doubts which await Your Majesty's decision.
我朝自祖宗以來 至誠事大 一遵華制 今當同文同軌之時 創作諺文 有該觀聽 儻曰諺文 皆本古字非新字也 則字形雖倣古之篆文 用音合字盡反於古 實無所據 若流中國 或有非議者 豈不有愧於事大慕華 “Our dynasty, from our ancestors, has followed the great and complied with the standards of China. Now we are of the same script and the same measure, it is detrimental to conformity to create a new orthography such as eonmun. It has been claimed that eonmun is based on old writing and is not new: however, though the form of eonmun characters imitate the ancient seal script, but the phonetics are against tradition and in truth are without antecedent. If the Chinese hear about this and present their objections, it shall be our shame in serving the great and admiring China.
自古九州之內 風土雖異 未有因方言而別爲文字者 雖蒙古西夏女眞日本西蕃之類各有其字 是皆夷狄事耳無足道者 傳曰用夏變夷 未聞變於夷者也 歷代中國皆以我國箕子遺風 文物禮欒 比擬中華 今別作諺文 捨中國自同於夷狄是所謂棄蘇合之香而取螗螂之丸也 豈非文明之大累哉 “Within the Chinese realms, though customs may differ, but the script never deviates because of the dialectal speech. Though western barbarians such as the Mongols, the Tangut, the Jurchens, the Japanese, and the Tibetans all have their own script, but it is a matter of being barbaric and does not merit consideration. The saying is "use Xia [dynasty culture] to convert the barbarians" - who has ever heard of adapting to their ways? Through its various dynasties, China has always taken us to be the descendants of Gija, the legendary Chinese Viscount of Ji because our artefacts, customs, and rituals are similar to those of China. Now if we were to create separate eonmun, discard China and make ourselves alike to the barbarians, we would as it were ‘desert the fragrant herbs for the dung of a praying mantis.’ How could this not be a setback to our civilization!
先儒云 凡百玩好 皆奪志 至於書札 於儒者事最近 然一向好著 亦自喪志 今東宮雖德性成就 猶當潛心聖學 益求其未至諺 諺文縱曰有益 特文士六藝之一耳 況萬萬無一利於治道 而乃硏精費思 竟日移時實有損於時敏之學也 “[…] The ancient Confucian sages say: ‘The various diversions take their toll on the spirit.’ As for writing, it is the most relevant business to a Confucian scholar. But if it becomes a diversion, it will also take its toll on the spirit. Now though Your Royal Highness has achieved some of the best of virtues, there are still sagely studies to be pursued. Though eonmun could be beneficial, it is only one of the six arts for an accomplished scholar, and has nothing to do with the political art of governance. Spending too much thought and effort on this is a waste of time, detrimental to the timely pursuit of scholarship."

In popular cultureEdit


  1. ^ Lee, Sang-baek (1957). Hangul: The Origin of Korean Alphabet. Seoul: Tong-Mun Kwan.
  2. ^ 漢字文化圈的脫漢運動
  3. ^ Another translation (English)