Hwarang Segi

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Hwarang Segi
Hangul 화랑세기
Hanja 花郞世記
Revised Romanization Hwarang segi
McCune–Reischauer Hwarang segi

Hwarang segi (lit. Annals of Hwarang or Generations of the Hwarang) was a historical record of the Hwarang (lit. flower boys) of the Silla kingdom in ancient Korea. It is said to have been written by Silla historian Kim Daemun 金大問 (fl. 704) in the reign of Seongdeok the Great (r. 702~737).

The Hwarang segi survived to the time that Kim Busik 金富軾 (1075–1151) compiled the Samguk sagi, but is believed to have been lost since the 13th century, because no reference to the Hwarang segi was made after reference to the text found in monk Gakhun's 覺訓 Haedong goseung jeon 海東高僧傳 (Lives of Eminent Korean Monks, ca. 1215). Two handwritten manuscripts of a text titled Hwarang segi were found in 1989 in Gimhae, South Korea. The first manuscript, which was made public in 1989, is typically called the "extract" (balchwebon, 발췌본, 拔萃本), and contains a preface and short accounts of the first fifteen pungwolju (풍월주, 風月主) or leaders of the hwarang. The second manuscript, which was not made public until 1995, is usually called "the mother text" (mobon, 모본, 母本). Because the first part of the manuscript is damaged and missing, it begins with a fragmented but fuller account of the fourth pungwolju, continues with more detailed accounts of the first fifteen pungwolju, and concludes after an account of the thirty-second and final pungweolju. Both manuscripts are in the handwriting of Bak Changhwa 朴昌和(1889–1962), who was skilled in literary Chinese and also worked for the Imperial Library in Tokyo during the Colonial period. The historical validity of these Hwarang Segi manuscripts is a subject of great controversy among scholars of early Korea and Korean studies. Most scholars think of this as a forgery although some argue for its authenticity.[1]

For those who argue for the authenticity of the manuscripts, the importance of Hwarang segi is that is one of the scarce historical works about Silla by a person of Silla himself, and it is free from Confucian dogma and morality. If the Hwarang segi manuscripts are authentic, later historians have based their understanding of Three Kingdoms era on Goryeo Dynasty sources like Samguk sagi and Samguk yusa.

The manuscript known as the Hwarang Segi extract is made of 16 parts; one for the introduction and the fifteen for the biographies of fifteen pungwolju leaders of the hwarang. They are:

  1. Introduction
  2. Wihwarang
  3. Mijinbu
  4. Morang
  5. Ihwarang
  6. Sadaham
  7. Sejong
  8. Seolwonrang
  9. Munno
  10. Biborang
  11. Miseng
  12. Hajong
  13. Bori
  14. Yongchun
  15. Horim
  16. Kim Yusin


  1. ^ Those arguing in favor of the manuscript include Young-hoon Rhee (이영훈), a professor of economics at Seoul National University. "화랑세기 필사본은 신라시대 작품". Dong-A Ilbo (Korean), 2003.01.07. Archived from the original on May 14, 2011. Retrieved July 26, 2005.  Those arguing against include Richard D. McBride II, published in the Autumn 2005 edition of Korea Journal: [1], who maintains that it was a leisure writing or fictional work composed by Bak Changhwa because he composed many other fictional writings.


McBride, Richard D., II. "The Hwarang segi Manuscripts: An In-Progress Colonial Period Fiction." Korea Journal 45, no. 3 (Autumn 2005): 230-260.

McBride, Richard D., II. "Silla Buddhism and the Hwarang segi Manuscripts." Korean Studies 31 (2007): 19-38.

McBride, Richard D., II. "Silla Buddhism and the Hwarang segi Manuscripts." Tongguk sahak 東國史學 (Seoul) 44 (June 2008): 35-71.

McBride, Richard D., II. "Pak Ch’anghwa and the Hwarang segi Manuscripts." Journal of Korean Studies 13, no. 1 (Fall 2008): 57-88.

See also[edit]