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A Study on the Cognition of Country Ryukyu and Conception of Utopia in Heo Gyun

  • Korean Language & Literature
  • 2015, (92), pp.63-83
  • Publisher : Korean Language & Literature
  • Research Area : Humanities > Korean Language and Literature

Kim,Su-Jung 1

1조선대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The concept of Utopia in Heo Gyun is centered on the Country Yuldo motifin <Hongkildongjeon>. This study examined the historical and literaryconditions which seemed to influence Heo Gyun. Vulgar conditions whichoccurred in the early 16th century made intellectuals turn their eyes awayfrom reality, and Heo Gyun was also interested in the idea of evasion toovercome the conditions. However, he felt depressed and pursued a realutopia, which is the motif of the Country Yuldo. It is a country where the people are happy and live peacefully. Heo Gyunkept a real island which is not too far off with a focus on feasibility, not thinkingof it as an imaginary place. It is the Country Ryukyu. Heo Gyun knew thatthe Country Ryukyu considers filial piety and a sense of honor precious andis a place where the people love peace. He knew that it was a real islandwhere we could get to on the boat in seven days. It can be inferred that itmet the conditions of the Utopia he pursued. It has been thought that <Hongkildongjeon> was written immediately afterthe case of the Ryukyu Crown Prince. As the tragic story was that he waskilled near Jeju Island while sailing with mysterious and precious treasures,Heo Gyun's concept of Utopia might be determined to be Ryukyu. He wassuspected as a person who spread a rumor that the Country Ryukyu cameto Joseon for revenge. He utterly denied the suspicion until he died, which means that he showed respect to the Utopia. As a result of analysing that the Country Yuldo in <Hongkildongjeon> isthe Country Ryukyu (now Okinawa) in Japan, it was discovered that theyhave a number of identical aspects even though they can not be consideredthe same. The sounds in geographical names of Yuldo and Ryukyu are similar,and the geographical location of Yuldo reminds us of the Country Ryukyu. It has not been definitely known whether Hong Kil-dong as a real personwent to the Country Ryukyu, but folktales floating around in the CountryRyukyu tell of relations with Hong Kil-dong.

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