[KS] A Question about the term hanbando

Ruediger Frank rfrank at koreanstudies.de
Tue May 9 02:45:54 EDT 2006


fascinating question, in particular concerning the "han" part. On "bando", here comes a 
layman's contribution from outside East Asia: the German word for peninsula is 
"Halbinsel", literally "half-island" - maybe that's why I for one never questioned the 
usual translation of bando. In Russian it is "poluostrov" or so, also "half-island". No 
strings attached here, it seems. I would not be surprised if the classical origin of the 
English "peninsula" would have the same meaning (is it Greek or Latin?); I am sure that at 
least the linguists on this list can answer that perfectly.



Christopher Liao schrieb:
> *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 " (/hanbando/).
> 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. "

More information about the Koreanstudies mailing list