Dangun (단군; 檀君; [tan.ɡun]) or Dangun Wanggeom (단군왕검; 檀君王儉; [tan.ɡun waŋ.ɡʌm]) was the legendary founder and god-king of Gojoseon, the first Korean kingdom, around present-day Liaoning, Manchuria, and the northern part of the Korean Peninsula. He is said to be the "grandson of heaven"[1] and "son of a bear",[2] and to have founded the kingdom in 2333 BC. The earliest recorded version of the Dangun legend appears in the 13th-century Samguk Yusa, which cites China's Book of Wei and Korea's lost historical record Gogi (고기, 古記).[3]

Portrait of Dangun.jpg
Portrait of Dangun
Korean name
Revised RomanizationDangun Wanggeom
McCune–ReischauerTan'gun Wanggŏm
IPA[tan.ɡun waŋ.ɡʌm]


Dangun's ancestry legend begins with his grandfather Hwanin (환인/桓因), the "Lord of Heaven". Hwanin had a son, Hwanung (환웅/ Hanja: 桓雄), who yearned to live on the earth among the valleys and the mountains. Hwanin permitted Hwanung and 3,000 followers to descend onto Baekdu Mountain, where Hwanung founded the Sinsi (신시/ Hanja: 神市, "City of God"). Along with his ministers of clouds, rain and wind, he instituted laws and moral codes and taught humans various arts, medicine, and agriculture.[4] Legend attributes the development of acupuncture and moxibustion to Dangun.[5]

A tiger and a bear prayed to Hwanung that they might become human. Upon hearing their prayers, Hwanung gave them twenty cloves of garlic and a bundle of mugwort, ordering them to eat only this sacred food and remain out of the sunlight for 100 days. The tiger gave up after about twenty days and left the cave. However, the bear persevered and was transformed into a woman. The bear and the tiger are said to represent two tribes that sought the favor of the heavenly prince.[6]

The bear-woman (Ungnyeo; 웅녀/ Hanja: 熊女) was grateful and made offerings to Hwanung. However, she lacked a husband, and soon became sad and prayed beneath a "divine birch" tree (Korean신단수; Hanja神檀樹; RRshindansu) to be blessed with a child. Hwanung, moved by her prayers, took her for his wife and soon she gave birth to a son named Dangun Wanggeom.[7]

Dangun ascended to the throne, built the walled city of Asadal situated near Pyongyang (the location is disputed) and called the kingdom Joseon—referred to today as Gojoseon "Old/Ancient Joseon" (고조선, Hanja: 古朝鮮) so as not to be confused with the later kingdom of Joseon (조선, Hanja: 朝鮮) that was established much later. He then moved his capital to Asadal on Mount Paegak or Mount Gunghol.[8]


Emperor Dangun's rule is usually calculated to begin in 2333 BC, based on the description of the Dongguk Tonggam (1485) contrary to the 40th year of the reign of the legendary Chinese Emperor Yao.[9] Other sources vary somewhat, but also put it during Yao's reign (traditional dates: 2357 BC-2256 BC). The Samguk Yusa states Dangun ascended to the throne in the 50th year of Yao's reign, while Annals of the Joseon Dynasty says the first year and Dongguk Tonggam says the 25th year.[10]

A South Korean postage stamp in 1956 (Dangi 4289)

Until 1961, the official South Korean era (for numbering years) was called the Dangi (Korean단기; Hanja檀紀), which began in 2333 BC. Followers of Daejongism considered October 3 in the Korean calendar as Gaecheonjeol (Korean개천절; Hanja開天節 "Festival of the Opening of Heaven").[11] This day is now a public holiday in South Korea in the Gregorian calendar called "National Foundation Day". North Korea dates Dangun's founding of Gojoseon to the early 30th century BC.[12]

15 March in the year 4340 of the Dangun Era is called "Royal Day Festival" (hangul: 어천절 hanja: 御天節 romaja: eo-cheon-jeol), the day that the semi-legendary founder Dangun returned to the heavens.

The mythology of the Kingdom of Hwan to the historiographies of 47 Dangun RulersEdit

In the Hwandan Gogi (환단고기/ Hanja: 桓檀古記) described Gojoseon to have existed and formed in Hwan-guk (환국/ Hanja: 桓國, "Kingdom of Hwan") and Baedal-guk (배달국/ Hanja: 倍達國, "Kingdom of Baedal": later known as Sinsi 신시/ Hanja: 神市, "City of the Gods"). It is said that both nations were ruled by Hwan-in and Hwan-ung, each spanning from 7 rulers and 18 rulers respectively.

Kingdom of HwanEdit

Establishment of the NationEdit

According to Hwandan Gogi (환단고기/ Hanja: 桓檀古記), Hwan-in transformed himself from the sky of Sabaek-nyeok/ Sabaek-ryeok (사백력) to become a god, and with him, 800 young men and women descended from the sky to the eastern land of the shallow sea (천해/ Hanja: 淺海), which is the land of Heuk-su (흑수/ Hanja: 黑水, "Black Water") and Baek-san (백산/ Hanja: 白山, "White Snow-capped Mountain"). Some claim the area of Sabaek-nyeok/ Sabaek-ryeok is Siberia (in spite of the similarity of prior archaic pronunciation), and the shallow sea is Lake Baikal.

The 12 FederationsEdit

According to Hwandan Gogi (환단고기/ Hanja: 桓檀古記), apart the Kingdom of Hwan (환국/ Hanja: 桓國), the nation is a federal state based on a nomadic culture composed each of the 11 countries:

1) Kingdom of Biri (비리국/ Hanja: 卑離國),

2) Kingdom of Yang-un (양운국/ Hanja: 養雲國),

3) Kingdom of Gumak-han (구막한국/ Hanja: 寇莫汗國),

4) Kingdom of Gudacheon (구다천국/ Hanja: 句茶川國),

5) Kingdom of Il-gun (일군국/ Hanja: 一群國),

6) Kingdom of Uru (우루국/ Hanja: 虞婁國) or either the Kingdom of Pilna (필나국/ Hanja: 畢那國),

7) Kingdom of Gaek-hyeon-han (객현한국/ Hanja: 客賢汗國),

8) Kingdom of Gumo-aek (구모액국/ Hanja: 句牟額國),

9) Kingdom of Mae-gu-yeo (매구여국/ Hanja: 賣句餘國) or either the Kingdom of Jikkuda (직구다국/ Hanja: 稷臼多國),

10) Kingdom of Sanapa/ Sanaba (사납아국/ Hanja: 斯納阿國),

11) Kingdom of Seonbi/ Seombi (선비국/ Hanja: 鮮裨國).

Its territory is so vast that it is said to be 50,000 li (around 25,000,000 metres or 25,000 kilometres) from north and south and 20,000 li (10,000,000 metres or 10,000 kilometres) from east and west on record.

Dynasty of HwaninEdit

According to Hwandan Gogi (환단고기/ Hanja: 桓檀古記), the Kingdom of Hwan (환국/ Hanja: 桓國), the period lasted for either 3,301 years to 63,182 years during in this dynasty of kings, seven in total.

The following rulers of the dynasty is dominantly ancient Korean in nature:

Annal/ Generation King Name in Hanja King Name(s) in Hangul Title (descendants bearing the suffix: 환인 Hwan-in) Transliterated Name

(/ = variants in pronunciation)

1 安巴堅 안파견 안파견 환인 Anpa-gyeon/ Ampa-gyeon Hwan-in
2 赫胥 혁서 혁서 환인 Hyeok-seo Hwan-in
3 古是利 고시리 고시리 환인 Goshiri Hwan-in
4 朱于襄 주우양 주우양 환인 Ju-u-yang Hwan-in
5 釋提壬 석제임 석제임 환인 Seok-je-im Hwan-in
6 邱乙利 구을리 구을리 환인 Gu-eulli Hwan-in
7 智爲利 지위리 지위리 환인 Jiwiri Hwan-in also known as Hwan-in (환인; 桓仁), father of Hwan-ung

Kingdom of Sinsi-BaedalEdit

There are descriptions on both the books of "Sinsi Yeokdaegi" (신시역대기/ Hanja: 神市歷代紀, "Era of the Dynasty of Sinsi") in the Samseonggi (삼성기/ Hanja: 三聖紀, "Period of the Sacred Three" - i.e. Hwanin, Hwanung and Dangun) and the "Sinsi Bon-gi" (신시본기/ Hanja: 神市本紀 "Period of Sinsi") in the Taebaek Il-sa (태백일사/ Hanja: 太白逸史, "History of Taebaek"), about the kingdom of Sinsi-Baedal where Dangun transferred the Korean people in the Kingdom of Gojoseon in Manchuria to establish the nation mainly at the centre of the Korean Peninsula. The kingdom of 18 descendants of Hwan-ung ruled the nation for 1565 years in the annals of these books, as well as the featuring one of emperors, Chiyou (Hangul: 치우; Hanzi: 蚩尤) which has been traced from Chinese Mythology on record.

The following rulers of the Sinsi-Baedal, dominantly ancient Korean in nature:

Annal/ Generation King Name in Hanja King Name(s) in Hangul Title (descendants bearing the suffix: 환웅 Hwan-ung) Transliterated Name

(/ = variants in pronunciation)

Reign from (B.C.E) Reigning Years Age Remarks
1 居發桓 거발한 거발한 환웅 Geobal-han Hwan-ung 3898-3804 94 120
2 居佛理 거불리 거불리 환웅 Geobulli Hwan-ung 3804-3718 86 102
3 右耶古 우야고 우야고 환웅 Uyago Hwan-ung 3718-3619 99 135
4 慕士羅 모사라 모사라 환웅 Mosara Hwan-ung 3619-3512 107 129
5 太虞儀 태우의 태우의 환웅 Tae-u-eui Hwan-ung 3512-3419 93 115 Tae-u-eui Hwan-ung is the 12 descendant of the clan of Fuxi-shi (Hangul: 복희씨, Bok-heui-sshi; Hanzi: 伏羲氏), in Chinese mythology.

Tae-ho (태호), youngest among the 12 sons of Tae-u-eui Hwan-ung, his descendants lived in present-day Shaanxi, China. In the Hwandangogi, the descendants of Tae-ho (태호 복희씨, Tae-ho Bok-heui-sshi) has revealed the beginning of the Chinese fundamental principles of Bagua (Hanja: 八卦, Pal-gwae 팔괘) in Taoist cosmology.

6 多儀發 다의발 다의발 환웅 Da-eui-bal Hwan-ung 3419-3321 98 110
7 居連 거련 거련 환웅 Geo-ryeon Hwan-ung 3321-3240 81 140
8 安夫連 안부련 안부련 환웅 Anbu-ryeon/ Ambu-ryeon Hwan-ung 3240-3167 73 94
9 養雲 양운 양운 환웅 Yang-un Hwan-ung 3167-3071 93 139
10 葛古 갈고/ (독로한) 갈고 환웅/ (독로한 환웅) Galgo Hwan-ung/ (Dok-rohan Hwan-ung/ Dong-nohan Hwan-ung) 3071-2971 100 125
11 居耶發 거야발 거야발 환웅 Geo-yabal Hwan-ung 2971-2897 92 149
12 州武愼 주무신 주무신 환웅 Jumushin Hwan-ung 2897-2774 105 123
13 斯瓦羅 사와라 사와라 환웅 Sawara Hwan-ung 2774-2807 67 100
14 慈烏支 자오지/ (치우천 왕) 자오지 환웅/ (치우천 왕) Ja-oji Hwan-ung/

(Chi-u-cheon Wang)

2707-2598 109 151 also known as Chiyou (Hangul: 치우; Hanzi: 蚩尤) in Chinese Mythology
15 蚩額特 치액특 치액특 환웅 Chi-aek-taek/ Chi-aeg-taek Hwan-ung 2598-2509 89 118
16 祝多利 축다리 축다리 환웅 Chuk-dari/ Chug-dari Hwan-ung 2509-2453 56 99
17 赫多世 혁다세 혁다세 환웅 Hyeok-dase/ Hyeog-dase Hwan-ung 2453-2381 72 97
18 居弗檀 거불단 거불단 환웅 Geo-buldan Hwan-ung 2381-2333 48 82 also known as Hwan-ung (환웅; 桓雄), father of Wanggeom Dangun - the founder of the first recorded royal dynastic lineage of the greater Korean empire, Gojoseon

Annals of Dangun rulers in the Kingdom of GojoseonEdit

The historiographies such as Gyuwon Sa-hwa (규원사화/ Hanja: 揆園史話), Dan-gi Gosa (단기고사/ Hanja: 檀奇古史), and Hwandan Gogi (환단고기/ Hanja: 桓檀古記), which are judged to be inconvenient in the history of academia, record the history of 47 generations of Dangun rulers who ruled Gojoseon and detailed reign. These chronologies are almost identical in life to the 47 Dangun rulers, but there is a big difference and discrepancies between the calendar year and the details of taxation. In particular, Hwandan Gogi (환단고기), which is the latest in the world, is recorded together with the contents of the reigns in Gyuwon Sahwa (규원사화) and Dan-gi Gosa 단기고사, which are likely to have been copied.

The Wang-ho (왕호/ Hanja: 王號; reigning king names in general) kings of the 47 Generations of Dangun in common are as follows and is dominantly ancient Korean in nature:

Annal/ Generation King Name in Hanja King Name(s) in Hangul Title (descendants bearing the suffix: 단군 Dangun) Transliterated Name Reign


1 王儉 왕검 왕검 단군 Wanggeom Dangun 93 Founder of the Korean people and the first royal dynastic lineage in the greater Korean empire, Gojoseon
2 夫婁 부루 부루 단군 Buru Dangun 58
3 嘉勒 가륵 가륵 단군 Gareuk Dangun 45
4 烏斯/ 烏斯丘 오사/ 오사구 오사 단군/ 오사구 단군 Osa Dangun/ Osagu Dangun 38
5 丘乙 구을 구을 단군 Gu-eul Dangun 16
6 達文 달문 달문 단군 Dalmun Dangun 36
7 翰栗 한율 한율단군 Han-yul/ Hallyul Dangun 54
8 于西翰/ 烏舍咸 우서한/ 오사함 우서한 단군/ 오사함 단군 Useohan/ Osaham Dangun 8
9 阿述 아술 아술 단군 Asul Dangun 35
10 魯乙 노을 노을 단군 No-eul Dangun 59
11 道奚 도해 도해 단군 Dohae Dangun 57
12 阿漢 아한 아한 단군 Ahan Dangun 52
13 屹達/ 代音達 흘달/ 대음달 흘달 단군/ 대음달 단군 Heuldal/ Dae-eumdal Dangun 61
14 古弗 고불 고불 단군 Gobul Dangun 60
15 伐音 (?)

代音/ 後屹達

벌음 (?)

대음/ 후흘달

벌음 단군 (?)

대음 단군/ 후흘달 단군

Beo-reum Dangun (?)

Dae-eum Dangun/ Huheuldal Dangun

16 尉那 위나 위나 단군 Wina Dangun 58
17 余乙 여을 여을 단군 Yeo-eul Dangun 68
18 冬奄 동엄 동엄 단군 Dong-eom Dangun 49
19 緱牟蘇 구모소/ 종년 구모소 단군/ 종년 단군 Gumoso/ Jongnyeon Dangun 55
20 固忽 고홀 고홀 단군 Gohol Dangun 43
21 蘇台 소태 소태 단군 Sotae Dangun 52
22 索弗婁 색불루 색불루 단군 Saekbullu/ Saegbullu Dangun 48
23 阿勿/ 阿忽 아물/ 아홀 아물 단군/ 아홀 단군 Amul/ Ahol Dangun 76
24 延那 연나 연나 단군 Yeonna Dangun 11
25 率那 솔나 솔나 단군 Solla/ Solna Dangun 88
26 鄒盧 추로 추로 단군 Churo Dangun 65
27 豆密 두밀 두밀 단군 Dumil Dangun 26
28 奚牟 해모 해모 단군 Haemo Dangun 28
29 摩休 마휴 마휴 단군 Ma-hyu Dangun 34
30 奈休 나휴 나휴 단군 Na-hyu Dangun 35
31 登兀 등올 등올 단군 Deung-ol Dangun 25
32 鄒密 추밀 추밀 단군 Chumil Dangun 30
33 甘勿 감물 감물 단군 Gammul Dangun 24
34 奧婁門 오루문 오루문 단군 Orumun Dangun 23
35 沙伐 사벌 사벌 단군 Sabeol Dangun 68
36 買勒 매륵 매륵 단군 Mae-reuk Dangun 58
37 麻勿 마물 마물 단군 Mamul Dangun 56
38 多勿 다물 다물 단군 Damul Dangun 45
39 豆忽 두홀 두홀 단군 Duhol Dangun 36
40 達音 달음 달음 단군 Da-reum/ Dal-eum Dangun 18
41 音次 음차 음차 단군 Eumcha Dangun 20
42 乙于支 을우지 을우지 단군 Eu-ruji/ Eul-uji Dangun 10
43 勿理 물리 물리 단군 Mulli Dangun 36
44 丘忽/ 丘勿 구홀/ 구물 구홀 단군/ 구물 단군 Guhol/ Gumul Dangun 29
45 余婁 여루 여루 단군 Yeoru Dangun 55
46 普乙 보을 보을 단군 Bo-eul Dangun 46
47 古列加 고열가 고열가 단군 Goyeolga Dangun 58

The period of reign was between 2333 B.C.E. and 238 B.C.E., which lasted for 47 to 2096 years.


The earliest recorded version of the Dangun legend appears in the 13th century Samguk Yusa (삼국유사/ Hanja: 三國遺事), which cites China's Book of Wei and Korea's lost history text Gogi (고기/ Hanja: 古記).[13] This is the best known and most studied version, but similar versions are recorded in the Jewang Un-gi (제왕운기/ Hanja: 帝王韻紀) by the late Goryeo scholar Yi Seunghyu (이승휴/ Hanja: 李承休, 1224-1300), as well as the Eungje Siju (응제시주/ Hanja: 應製詩註) and Sejong Sillok (세종실록; commonly known as "Annals of the Joseon Dynasty", Sejong Jang-heon Dae-wang Shil-lok 세종장헌대왕실록/ Hanja: 世宗莊憲大王實錄) of the early Joseon. Dangun is worshipped today as a deity by the followers of Cheondoism and Daejongism.[14]

In TaekwondoEdit

Dangun is the second pattern or hyeong in the International Taekwon-Do Federation form of the Korean martial art taekwondo. Students learn that the hyeong represents "the holy legendary founder of Korea in the year 2333 BC."[15] Unusually for a hyeong, all the punches in Dan Gun are high section (eye level) symbolising Dangun scaling a mountain (see Dangun Hyeung).

Mausoleum of DangunEdit

North Korea's leader Kim Il-sung insisted that Dangun was not merely a legend but a real historical person. As consequence, North Korean archaeologists were compelled to locate the purported remains and grave of Dangun.[16]

According to a publication by North Korea, the Mausoleum of Dangun is the alleged burial site of the legendary Dangun.[17] The site occupies about 1.8 km² (0.70 mi²) on the slope of Taebaek Mountain in Kangdong, not to be confused with the Taebaek Mountain in South Korea. Dangun's grave is shaped like a pyramid, about 22 m (72 ft) high and 50 m (164 ft) on each side.

Many observers and historians outside of North Korea, including South Korea, consider the site controversial.[citation needed]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Melton, J. Gordon (2014). Faiths Across Time: 5,000 Years of Religious History. 1. ABC-Clio. pp. [1]. ISBN 1610690265.
  2. ^ Kang, Chae-ŏn (2006). The Land of Scholars: Two Thousand Years of Korean Confucianism. Homa & Sekey. pp. [2]. ISBN 1931907374.
  3. ^ 한국 브리태니커 온라인 ‘단군’ Encyclopædia Britannica online Korea ‘단군 Dangun’
  4. ^ The Story of Dan-gun Archived 2011-09-03 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Needham, J; Lu GD (2002). Celestial lancets: a history and rationale of acupuncture and moxa. Routledge. pp. 262. ISBN 0-7007-1458-8.
  6. ^ http://www.san-shin.org/Dan-gun_Myth.html
  7. ^ Tudor, Daniel (2013). Korea: The Impossible Country: The Impossible Country. Tuttle Publishing. pp. [3]. ISBN 146291022X.
  8. ^ Tudor, Daniel (2013). Korea: The Impossible Country: The Impossible Country. Tuttle Publishing. pp. [4]. ISBN 146291022X.
  9. ^ Richmond, Simon; Yu-Mei Balasingamchow (2010). Lonely Planet Korea. Lonely Planet. p. 25. ISBN 1742203566.
  10. ^ Hong, Sung-wook (2008). Naming God in Korea: The Case of Protestant Christianity. OCMS. p. 56. ISBN 1870345665.
  11. ^ Lim, SK (2011). Asia Civilizations: Ancient to 1800 AD. Asiapac Books Pte Ltd. p. 76. ISBN 9812295941.
  12. ^ KCNA
  13. ^ Hong, Sung-wook (2008). Naming God in Korea: The Case of Protestant Christianity. OCMS. pp. [5]. ISBN 1870345665.
  14. ^ Mason, David A. (1999). Spirit of the Mountains: Korea's San-Shin and Traditions of Mountain-worship. Hallim Publishing. pp. [6]. ISBN 1565911075.
  15. ^ Kemerly, Tony; Steve Snyder (2013). Taekwondo Grappling Techniques: Hone Your Competitive Edge for Mixed Martial Arts. Tuttle Publishing. pp. [7]. ISBN 1462909914.
  16. ^ Tertitskiy, Fyodor (6 June 2016). "The good things in North Korea". NK News. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  17. ^ G. John, Ikenberry; Chung-in Moon (2008). The United States and Northeast Asia: debates, issues, and new order Asia in world politics. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 204 [8]. ISBN 0742556395.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit

Dangun Wanggeom
Regnal titles
New creation King of Gojseon
c. 2333 BC – c. 2240 BC
Next known title holder: