Moon Jae-in

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This is a Korean name; the family name is Moon.
Moon Jae-in
Moon Jae-in cropped.jpg
Leader of the New Politics Alliance for Democracy
Assumed office
9 February 2015
Member of the National Assembly
Assumed office
30 May 2012
Constituency Sasang District (Busan)
Personal details
Born (1953-01-24) 24 January 1953 (age 62)
Geoje, South Gyeongsang, South Korea
Political party NPAD
Spouse(s) Kim Jeong-suk
Children 1 daughter, 1 son
Alma mater Kyung Hee University (LL.B.)
Religion Roman Catholicism
Korean name
Hangul 문재인
Revised Romanization Mun Jae-in
McCune–Reischauer Mun Chaein

Moon Jae-in (Korean pronunciation: [mundʑɛin]; born January 24, 1953) is a South Korean politician and the opposition leader of the New Politics Alliance for Democracy party. He was formerly a lawyer and the former chief of staff to late President Roh Moo-hyun. In the 19th legislative election on 11 April 2012, Moon won a seat in the Sasang District of Busan. On September 16, 2012, Moon received the nomination for the Democratic United Party's candidate for the 2012 presidential election after winning a majority in the party primaries.

Early life and education[edit]

Born in Geoje, South Korea, Moon Jae-in was the first son of father Moon Yong-hyung and mother Kang Han-ok among five children. His father was a refugee from South Hamgyeong Province who fled his native city of Hamhung during the Hamhung Retreat. His father settled in Geoje as a laborer for the Geoje POW Camp. His family eventually settled in Busan and Moon attended Kyungnam High School, which is considered among the most prestigious schools outside of Seoul. He enrolled in Kyunghee University where he majored in law. He was arrested and expelled from the university when he organized a student protest against the Yushin Constitution. Later, he was forcibly conscripted to the military and recruited to the Special Forces, where he participated in a military mission during the Axe murder incident. After his discharge, he passed the Bar Exam and was admitted to the Judicial Research and Training Institute. He graduated second in his graduating class and, despite his superb academic record, was not admitted to become a judge due to his organization of protests as a student[1] and chose to become a lawyer instead.


Human Rights Attorney[edit]

When he became a lawyer, he partnered and worked with Roh Moo Hyun.[2] They remained friends up until Roh's death in 2009. Along with Roh, he took cases involving human rights and civil rights issues. He was a member of Minbyun and the Chairman of Human Rights at Busan Bar.


He was a founding member of the progressive South Korean newspaper, The Hankyoreh, in 1988.[3]

Roh's Campaign[edit]

Due to Roh's insistence, he became Roh's campaign manager during his presidential bid.[4]

Roh's Administration[edit]

After Roh's victory, Moon became Roh's chief of staff and close aide.

Roh's Death[edit]

When prosecutors began investigating Roh's corruption charges, Moon was the legal counsel to Roh. After Roh committed suicide, Moon was in charge of the funeral and handling his private affairs. His exposure to the public as a poised and trustworthy aide impressed the public and many liberals in Korea found Moon to be an attractive candidate against the conservative Saenuri Party candidate Park Geun-hye.

Entrance to Politics[edit]

Despite his earlier indifference to politics, he began to get involved in the politics. He published a memoir called Moon Jae-in: The Destiny which became a bestseller.[5] His popularity has been rising steady against the likely opponent in the presidential race, Park Geun-hye. For instance, in a February 2012 poll, Moon managed to gain parity with Park in popularity.[6] Moon managed to capitalise on the conservatives' decline in popularity amid a series of corruption scandals: as one pundit said, "Moon had managed to portray himself as a moderate and rational leader who has the backing of the younger generation".[7] In early 2012, Moon entered a bid for a seat at the National Assembly and has been campaigning in western Busan. He ran for the 2012 presidential election and was defeated by Park Geun-hye, the incumbent ruling party’s candidate and daughter of the late president Park Chung-hee.[8]

Leader of Opposition[edit]

Moon was elected as the leader of New Politics Alliance for Democracy in February 2, 2015.

Personal life[edit]

Moon is married and have one daughter and one son. He is a Roman Catholic. His baptismal name is Timotheus.[9] Moon has reported that he has done activities with the YMCA and that his life and political activities have deep relationships with Christianity. He has said, if he becomes president, he will aim for a clean and humble government, in accordance to Christian values. And he promised he will support the WEA (World Evangelical Alliance) conference which will be held from 27 to 31 October 2012 in Korea.


  • December 2012- 18th Presidential Election candidate
  • May 2012 - Member of National Assembly for Sasang-gu, Busan
  • August 2007 - Chairperson of the Promotion of the 2nd North-South Korea Summit
  • March 2007 ~ February 2008 - Chief Secretary of the President
  • January 2005 ~ May 2006 - Senior Presidential Secretary for Civil Affairs
  • May 2004 ~ January 2005 - Senior Presidential Secretary for Civil Society
  • 2003 ~ February 2004 - Senior Presidential Secretary for Civil Affairs


External links[edit]