[KS] A Question about the term hanbando

Christopher Liao liao.christopher at gmail.com
Mon May 8 20:59:29 EDT 2006

*A Question about the term hanbando*

Dear listmembers,

 Im Dae-sik, the head editor of yŏksa pipy'ŏng had asked me to translate the
following and to solicit your opinions about the word "the Korean peninsula"(

Christopher Liao


             I'm curious about the origins of the term *hanbando *(韓半島).
Korea is also known by the name "hanbando." This name also appears in the
article regarding sovereign territory in the South Korean constitution. It
collectively refers to the two Koreas and distinguishes the two from other
nations and nationalities. South Koreans are instilled with a sense of
ethnic pride when they vocalize the word *hanbando*. I am curious about the
origins of this word.

             I am guessing this term was first used or popularized by the
Japanese as early as the 1900s. I have seen *hanbando *in the title of
Japanese books published during this time.

             *Hanbando* is a combination of *han* and *bando*. Here the
meaning of *han* differs from the South Korean meaning of "Korea," and the
Japanese usage of this Chinese character carried connotations of derogation
towards Korea. As evidenced by the inclusion of this Chinese character in
the combinations such as "三韓征伐論" (*sankan seibatsuron* in Japanese) and "征韓論
" (*seikanron* in Japanese), it tends to consider "Korea" in an inferior
light. If we take a look at Japanese documents before the Meiji Reformation,
instead of *Ch**ōsen*, we find that *Han* was actually used more widely to
refer to Korea. The Japanese usage of *Han *was similar to the Korean usage
of *wae* (倭) to refer to Japan from a position of authority.

             Moving on to *bando*, I am guessing that it is a Japanese
translation of the English word "peninsula." Although a peninsula is
certainly not an island, there is a high possibility that "peninsula" was
originally coined by the Japanese to mean "semi-island" due to Japan's
worldview derived from its existence as an island nation. Both China and South
Korea use the word *bando *to refer to a peninsula. I infer that this
Japan-centric translation of this word is widely used throughout the
Chinese-character-cultural sphere.
             I am interested in how the term *bando* came to be translated
from the English word "peninsula" and what process it went through before
settling firmly within the languages of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. I am
also interested in soliciting your views on an alternative translation of
the English word "peninsula."
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