[KS] The Origins of the Korean Alphabet
hoffmann at koreanstudies.com
Sat Aug 31 06:12:07 EDT 2013
> I presume the hangul version of his name is 정계원 but does anybody
> have the Chinese characters?
Almost but not quite. You guys are all too linguistically messed up :)
Just joking … "kei" or "key" would in the U.S. from the 1910s to the
1950s mostly be "ki 기" when in personal names. In general would "ei"
usually be a Korean "i." For example, the other day I had a "H.K. Rey"
and the family name "Rey" would actually be "Yi 李". That of course,
same as with the transcription of Chinese names, would also be an
attempt of disguising 'race' and non-Western origin, probably from both
sites, white America and Asian immigrants. With a family name like
"Rey," for example, and a given name just represented by the two
initials, that name is not immediately detectable as Korean (or
Chinese, etc.), and a medical doctor like H.K. Rey (Yi Hoe-gyŏng) would
have at the time likely attract more non-Asian patients. In various
ways you see this continuing until the 60s and 70s, of course, and
maybe even today with the use of "Christian" given names.
ed States Government wartime strategic intelligence agency chief
information officer honor soldiers for the Asia Society President
Anyway, the thesis author must be Chŏng Ki-wŏn 鄭基元, and that is
likely why it was Bill Streifer who rediscovered him -- yes Bill? --
with the interest in colonial and immediate post-liberation North
Korean weapons development, if I understand that correct. Chŏng was not
only an academic, he also, because of the situation during World War
II, took the position of the U.S. Government Wartime Strategic
Intelligence Chief Information Advisor (re-translation from Korean,
original title might be different). The dates there are very concrete:
March 16, 1899-June 17, 1986. Elsewhere the birth year is given as
1898. I do not know where from Dr. Shulman's dates come, the birth year
given as 1902. But very likely this was his "official" birth year in
U.S. documents. It is clear that he came very early to the U.S., could
have well been with a Chinese passport (that was later changed to a
U.S. one, possibly, typically), and at that time he might have been too
old to be accepted at a college, and thus the birth year was changed to
a later one. I am *speculating* here, but this would be the typical
case and the best explanation without knowing all the facts--that was a
very usual case.
It is also interesting to see that Chŏng comes from Haeju.
Coincidentally, just last and this week, I had to deal a lot with
Haeju--it is the place where the An Chung-gŭn family comes from also.
And that seems to have been an amazing "battle ground" for early
missionaries, one where Catholics and Presbyterians nicely intrigued
against each other. The An Chung-gŭ clan was all Catholic, under the
hand of Father Joseph Wilhem, whom Mutel kicked out after An had
assassinated Itō Hirobumi … but there was more going on … years
earlier, I think it was 1896 or 1897, a brother of An (a rich yangban
family, of course), had been overtaxing his peasants, was then being
punished by the governor, and was blaming this punishment to be a case
of Christian persecution (keyword "rice riots"), AND on the protestants
who would be jealous of Father Wilhem's missionary success. In English,
all this is wonderfully and in much detail been dealt with in Franklin
D. Rausch's dissertation at UBC and several of his other publications
as well as it a chapter in Yumi Moon's brand new (2013) _Populist
Collaborators_ book. Fascinating reads! Since Chŏng Ki-wŏn graduated
from Soongsil [Sŭngsil] Union Christian College in P'yŏngyang, it means
he was of the Presbyterian camp, and that would typically tie him to
the U.S., and he would thus continue his career in the U.S.
Please find his bio with links to documents at the Korean History DB:
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