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Hong Gildong

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Hong Gildong is a prominent character in Korean traditional literature, who has been described as "the Korean Robin Hood." One of the most classic or standard versions of his story was the first "novel" ever written in the Korean syllabary, hangul.

The story describes Hong's adventures in combatting government corruption and other social injustices, including fighting to defend women and children from discrimination. It is said that he was forced to leave his family and take up the outlaw lifestyle as a result of the strict social system of his time.

Though widely known as a literary figure, Hong is believed to have been a real historical figure who lived in the 15th or 16th century; genealogies of his family survive, and he appears at least ten times in the Annals of the Joseon Dynasty.

A theme park dedicated to him, and a historical marker near the supposed location of his birthplace, can be found in Jangseong, South Korea.

References

  • Kim Myun-Joong, "Jangseong: A Home to Healing," Asiana: Culture, Style, View, Feb 2017, 45.
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