Jibong yuseol

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Jibong yuseol
Hangul 지봉유설
Revised Romanization Jibong yuseol
McCune–Reischauer Chibong yusŏl

Jibong yuseol ("Topical Discourses of Jibong") is the first Korean encyclopedia. It was published in 1614 during the reign of King Gwanghaegun. The author, Yi Su-gwang was a prominent silhak scholar and a military officer of the mid-Joseon period of Korea.[1][2] The title came from his pen name, Jibong and yuseol which literally means "topical discourses" in Korean.[3]


A sample pages from the Jibong yuseol

After the Imjin wars from 1592 to 1598, Yi Su-gwang worked temporarily as an emissary to the Ming Dynasty. In China, he acquired several books written on Catholicism by an Italian priest, Matteo Ricci, who was living in China at this time. He brought them back to Korea, which was the first time Western literature had been brought into the country. He took great interest in Catholicism and the Western world. From the information he obtained from the trips, he wrote a 20-volume encyclopedia, with the title Jibong yuseol. Jibong yuseol contained not only information on Catholicism and China, but also on Japan, Vietnam, and Thailand. It also contained basic information on the Western world, including the geography and weather of England, western food, and western weapons and the knowledge of astronomy that the author had acquired from an Italian priest staying in China at the time. Yi visited China several times, and even met Thai (known then to Koreans as Seomra people, 섬라사람) emissaries in China. Taking a great interest in the Thais, he closely recorded the customs of the Thai people. He also had contact with emissaries from Vietnam and the Okinawa.[2][4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Jibongyuseol". The Korea Foundation. Archived from the original on 2011-07-19. 
  2. ^ a b "지봉유설 (芝峰類說)". Empas / EncyKorea. 
  3. ^ "Korean Historical Resources" (PDF). University at Albany, State University of New York. p. 2. 
  4. ^ "지봉유설 (芝峰類說)". Naver / Doosan Encyclopedia. 

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