Han Yong-un

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Born July 12, 1879
Died May 9, 1944(1944-05-09) (aged 64)
Language Korean
Nationality South Korean
Ethnicity Korean
Citizenship South Korean
Han Yong-un
Korean poet-Han Yong-un-01.jpg
Korean name
Hangul 한용운
Hanja 韓龍雲
Revised Romanization Han Yong-un
McCune–Reischauer Han Yongun
Pen name
Hangul 만해
Hanja 萬海 also 卍海
Revised Romanization Manhae
McCune–Reischauer Manhae
Birth name
Hangul 한유천
Hanja 韓裕天
Revised Romanization Han Yu-cheon
McCune–Reischauer Han Yuch'ŏn
Courtesy name
Hangul 정옥
Hanja 貞玉
Revised Romanization Jeongok
McCune–Reischauer Chŏngok
Dharma name
Hangul 한봉완
Hanja 奉玩
Revised Romanization Bongwan
McCune–Reischauer Pongwan

Manhae (만해, July 12, 1879 – May 9, 1944) was a twentieth century Korean Buddhist reformer and poet.[1] Manhae was his pen name; his birth name was Han Yu-cheon, but he is universally known by the name he was given by his meditation instructor in 1905, Han Yong-un (Korean: 한용운)


Manhae was born Yucheon in Chungcheongnam-do, Hongseong on July 12, 1879. He was later given the Buddhist name Manhae. During his childhood, he studied Chinese classics in Seodang, a popular elementary school during the Joseon Dynasty. Prior to being ordained, he was involved in resistance to Japanese influence in the country, which culminated in the Japanese occupation from 1905 to 1945.[2] He lived in seclusion at Ose-am in the Baekdam Temple (Baekdamsa) from 1896. During this period, he studied Buddhist sacred texts and several books of modern philosophy. In 1905 he received the robes of an order of monks at Baekdam Temple (Baekdamsa). In 1908, he went to Japan and visited several temples and studied Buddhism and Eastern philosophy in Jodongjongdaehaglim for six months.[3] In 1919 he was one of the patriot signatories to the 1919 Declaration of Independence.[4]


As a social writer, Manhae called for the reform of Korean Buddhism.

Manhae's poetry dealt with both nationalism and sexual love. One of his more political collections was Nimui Chimmuk (님의 침묵), published in 1926. These works revolve around the ideas of equality and freedom, and helped inspire the tendencies toward passive resistance and non-violence in the Korean independence movement.

In 1913, Han Yongun published Restoration for Joseon's Buddhism (Joseonbulgyo-yusimlon), which criticized the anachronist isolationist policy of Joseon Buddhism and its incongruence with the then contemporary reality. The work sent tremors through the intellectual world. In this work, the author promulgated the principle of equality, self-discovery, the potential for Buddhism for safeguarding the world, and progress. His developments as an activist and thinker resulted from his adherence to these very principles.[5]

In 1918, Han published Whole Mind (Yusim), a work that aimed to enlighten the youth. In the following year, he played an important role in the 3.1. Independence movement with Chae Lin, and he was later taken imprisoned for his involvement, and served a three-year sentence. During his imprisonment, Han composed “Reason of Joseon's Independence” (Joseondoglib-i-yuseo) as a response to prosecutors’ investigation into his political engagement. He was later acquitted in 1922, at which time he began a nationwide lecture tour. The purpose of the tour was to engage and inspire youth, an objective first established in Han’s Whole Mind (Yusim). In 1924, he became the chair for the Buddhism youth assembly. In 1926, Han published a collection of poems entitled Silence of My Beloved (Nim-ui Chimmuk), which had been written at Baegdam Temple (Baekdamsa,) in the previous year. This book garnered much attention from literary critics and intellectuals at the time. Despite his many other publications, from Chinese poems and Sijos and the poems including in Whole Mind (Yusim), to novels such as Dark Wind (Heukpung), Regret (Huhoe), Misfortune (Park Myeong), Silence of My Beloved (Nim-ui Chimmuk) remains the poet’s most significant and enduring literary achievement.[5]

Works in Translation

  • The Silence of Love (님의 침묵)
  • Contemporary Korean Poetry (한국현대시선집)

External links


  1. "Han Yong-un " LTI Korea Datasheet available at LTI Korea Library or online at: http://klti.or.kr/ke_04_03_011.do#
  2. Lee, Kyung-ho (1996). "Han Yong-un". Who's Who in Korean Literature. Seoul: Hollym. p. 137. ISBN 1-56591-066-4.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Han Yong-un" LTI Korea Datasheet available at LTI Korea Library or online at: http://klti.or.kr/ke_04_03_011.do#
  4. "Han Yong'un". http://www.koreanlitinfo.com/han-yongun/. Korean Literature. Retrieved 20 November 2013. External link in |website= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 5.0 5.1 Source-attribution|"Han Yong-un" LTI Korea Datasheet available at LTI Korea Library or online at: http://klti.or.kr/ke_04_03_011.do#