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Jonathan Best
Wesleyan University (Middletown, CT 06459-3208)
Redating Early Korean and Japanese History based on the 12th-Century "Samguk sagi," Korea's Oldest Surviving Chronicle

The 12th-century Samguk sagi is the oldest surviving history of Korea. Compiled at royal command, it chronicles three early kingdoms—Silla, Koguryo, and Paekche—that tradition holds were founded in the 1st century BCE and that came to an end ca. 665. Archaeological evidence and data from earlier Chinese and Japanese sources reveal, however, that Silla and Paekche only emerged as royal states in the 4th century. To fill the historiographic voids created by the fragmentary records still extant and the incredibly early foundations credited to these kingdoms, the text’s editors systematically ‘redated’ entries from the few surviving records. By comparative historical analysis and comparison with the archaeological record, I have ascertained the system whereby this redating was done—and thus am able to return the anachronistic entries to their original dating and thereby create a more accurate history of early Korea and its relations with Japan than has been available for over 850 years.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
East Asian History

Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars

Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2013 – 12/31/2013