The Annals of the Choson Dynasty. Documentary heritage submitted by Republic of Korea and recommended for inclusion in the Memory of the World Register. Free database of the annual record of the Joseon Dynasty of Korea. Available in the Hangul scripts as well as the original classical Chinese texts. The centuries-old Annals of the Joseon Dynasty also known as the Joseon Wangjo Sillok, are set to be translated into English. The National.

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Most of the annals compilation projects followed the procedures and format adopted for the Veritable Records of Taejo. These are outlined below. The Veritable Records of King Seongjong contains a very high number of fascicles, as each one covered just one month’s time regardless of the content volume. This includes his surname, personal name, courtesy name, parents’ names, date of birth, his time as a youth, education, and investiture as crown prince.

In case that he was adopted from a cadet branch, his real parent’s backgrounds and the adoption process were also documented. Such a layout makes the Sillok appear to be the typical jiseon document, but oof more snnals provided than the facts recorded in a log or diary. The Veritable Records of King Danjong includes a supplementary fascicle that details the process of restoring the deposed monarch’s posthumous name and title as “king,” and includes the related documentation.

The main text is laid out chronologically. The date of the entry may include the following elements, in descending order: In principle, the year after the ruler ascends the throne i.

However, when josron preceeding ruler was deposed, his successor’s first reign year is considered to be the same year he takes the throne. This was the case with Sejo, Jungjong and Injo. A notation on the Chinese emperor’s reign anals is placed below the Joseon ruler’s reign year. The annals for the early Joseon rulers record the season along with the lunar month e.

The Annals of the Choson Dynasty | United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

Guidelines were written each time the annals on a king’s reign were compiled to determine what content to include and what to exclude. Despite this, the Sillok can be aptly described as dynadty a record on virtually every subject.

Notably, the annals written in early Joseon contain much information that would be difficult to justify according to strict Confucian norms. With the passage of time, the rich diversity of the Tge contents diminished with the focus increasingly put on political matters.

When writing the Sillok, the following sources are used as references: All imperial decrees from China and royal edicts related to the present dynasty Joseon are cited directly. When information on these persons if incomplete, it is to be supplemented by the public opinion toward them, or his own writings and tombstone epitaph. Daily entries are indicated in terms of the sexagenary cycle. As a general rule, records by the Office for Observance of Natural Phenomena are examined when detailing natural disasters and celestial portents, which are covered as individual events.

Each typhoon, earthquake and other natural disaster that occurs in outlying regions must be recorded without annqls by examining the reports that were submitted the throne at the time of occurrence. As a general rule, details on selections for government posts besides the unimportant positions, miscellaneous tasks, extraneous officials, and honorary positions are to be written after examining the personnel-related documents at the Ministry of Personnel and Ministry of War.

However, when important new details are included, they are to be recorded. In the event of a major controversy, the names of the principle proponents and opponents must be recorded. The most important of the annlas to the throne are to be recorded entirely, but unimportant dynassty within those memorials may be omitted. Ceremonial resignations normally need not be recorded in full.

However, when these actions involve questions of right and wrong with regard to government affairs, they must be recorded. The number of soldiers in the military, the legal practices within and without the capital area, and the number of households throughout the state must be recorded in detail, after examining the relevant documents.

The writers must strive to keep the text both concise and substantive, deleting useless passages and simplifying confusing parts. Issues of the auspicious such as weddings, birthdays and inauspicious funerals ceremonies at court which are of value to future generations concerning the standards and norms of behavior should be recorded despite their complexity.


Important points must, without fail, be recorded in summary regarding the demotion dynqsty promotion th officials and their right and wrong deeds in both the public and private spheres. The above text illustrates what the Sillok compilers believed to be important and provides clues as to joseoj they organized the material.

It was compiled immediately after the death of the ruler in question. As such, the Or Records are not the typical history planned and tthe by a specific individual or team of individuals. The collection covers the reigns of 25 rulers, from King Taejo to King Cheoljong, and spans a period of years.

Rather, they were produced by the Office of Governor-General of Korea between andat a time when Korea had lost her sovereignty to Imperial Japan, and the accounts on the Korean emperor and imperial family were greatly distorted.

Moreover, the strict annals compilation dynqsty applied during Joseon were not followed after the dynasty’s demise. As a result, great care is needed when referring to or citing the historical records included in the Veritable Records of Emperor Gojong and Veritable Records of Emperor Sunjong.

Thus, the annals of their reigns are respectively known as Yeongsan-gun ilgi and Gwanghae-gun ilgi, however they were compiled in the same way as the other dynastic annals were, and the nature of their content is also the same. One version of veritable records was compiled during most reigns, however revised or supplemented versions of some veritable records were compiled later as the Veritable Records of Seonjo, the Veritable Records of Hyeonjong, and the Veritable Records of Gyeongjong were not satisfactory.

The final draft contains contents that were finally deleted, so this draft retains a lot of information. Most of the Joseon wangjo sillokwas printed on paper with wooden movable type. However, the annals of the earliest reigns formerly stored at the Mt. Jeongjok archive and two volumes of the Gwanghae-gun ilgi were transcribed by hand. Extant copies of the Sillok in South Korea come from various sources and are kept at multiple locations.

Jeongjok archive, 27 books from the Mt. Odae archive, and some miscellaneous pages. Meanwhile, the National Archives of Korea has at its Historical Repository in Busan 1, fascicles books of the texts originating from the Mt.

Korea undertakes English translation of historical archives

The texts preserved at both sites have collectively been designated as National Treasure No. The Veritable Records were written in classical Chinese, making them inaccessible to the average reader. Inthe King Sejong Memorial Society began translating dynsaty Sillok into Korean, and that project was taken over by the Korean Classics Research Institute in and completed josson The Korean language version was published in volumes, providing the Korean public with an opportunity to read the text directly.

To enhance accessibility, the contents were digitalized and provided to the public in the form of CD-ROMs by Seoul System later renamed as Soltworks in Jeoksang archive version into Korean between andresulting in volumes of Han-geul text. Odae repository archives were taken to Japan during the Colonial Period and mostly destroyed during the Great Kanto Earthquake inbut 27 20 from of the Veritable Records of Jungjong and 7 from the Veritable Records of Seonjo of the 74 joseob books are now back in Korea anhals housed in the Kyujanggak collection.

Discussions are now underway on their repatriation to Korea and on designating the place in Korea for their preservation. Origins of Sillok Compilation. The Sillok records, in chronological order by year, lunar month and daythee events that occurred and reports that were submitted during a given ruler’s reign. As such it belongs to the annals genre of literature. The Chinese continued to produce Shilu but almost all of the versions before Song Dynasty have been lost. However, dynasyt content is not as rich as that of the Joseon wangjo sillok.

Veritable Records were produced for the first seven reigns of Goryeo kings from King Taejo to King Mokjongbut they were destroyed, along with the palace buildings during an invasion by the Khitans in Following this, later rulers ordered that veritable records be compiled. The Joseon Dynasty inherited the tradition of Josepn, and compiled the veritable records of King Gongmin and successive rulers of the late Goryeo period in However, they were all destroyed over the course of several wars, and have not been handed down.


In Korea today, the Joseon wangjo sillok is the only extant thf of dynastic annals. It starts with annzls Veritable Records of King Taejo. Thus, the compilation project was temporarily halted but then restarted two years later and completed in Two copies of the ths annals for each king were produced initially, with one being stored at the Office of Annals Compilation in the capital and the other kept at the Chungju archive.

However, concerns arose over the possible loss or destruction of these precious documents, and, at the recommendation of the Office of Inspector-General, two more copies of the annals covering the first three reigns were transcribed in New repositories were also constructed at Jeonju and Seongju in which to preserve them. Thus, a total of four history archives emerged in early Joseon.

Succeeding kings carried on this tradition of annals production, and strict rules and procedures were followed in the compilation and maintenance of the Sillok archives.

Chos┼Ćn Wangjo Sillok = The Annals of the Joseon dynasty

Order of reign Official title Dynwsty. Taebaek version Sillok totals 1, joseonn in books. Organization and contents of the Sillok Most of the annals compilation projects followed the procedures and format adopted for the Veritable Records of Taejo.

The project of compiling the annals of a Joseon ruler’s reign began after the ruler under discussion had died and his successor had taken the throne. That is to say, the annals were always produced posthumously. The division offices normally numbered three but could be increased to as many as six when the deceased ruler had had a very long reign and the volume of records was immense. Each division was responsible for compiling the records covering a predetermined number of successive reign years.

The Committee on Compilation was mainly staffed by high- and mid-ranking officials who concurrently served as diarist-historians in the Bureau of State Records or had posts in the Office of Special Counselors.

However, when the volume of material to be complied was especially great, officials with excellent writing skills were recruited from throughout the court. Once the compilation project was officially announced and the Committee on Compilation established, the court would issue a countrywide decree requiring the submission of all the daily records kept at home by former dedicated diarist-historians, by officials who once served concurrently as diarist-historians or by surviving family members.

A heavy punishment awaited those who failed to meet the submission deadline. The daily records collected in this way served as the primary source material for the Sillok compilation project. At the same time, any diarist-historian who allowed his the contents of his notes to be leaked would face heavy punishment.

Despite this, their writings sometimes would become known, which could lead to tragic consequences. off

The compilers were required to maintain the confidentiality of those notes and the Sillok contents as a whole, while their duty to document fairly and accurately was emphasized at all times.

In reality, however, the diarist-historians feared retaliation for their being candid and would sometimes avoid recording events the way they actually witnessed them or revise portions of their notes, although such action was strictly forbidden.

They were held accountable by the rule that required the names of the diarist-historians to put on the notes. Segeom-jeong is located there today. The mulberry paper on which the documents were written was then reused. In late Joseon, the supply of mulberry paper was plentiful, and most of the source materials were simply burned.

The completed Sillok were then stored in archives that were built expressly for this purpose. The Sillok that were stored inside the archives were taken out and exposed to direct sunlight once every three years to prevent water and insect damage. One dedicated diarist-historian was required to be present at this event in order to ensure that the ceremonial rules were followed.

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