UNESCO to list Gwangju uprising records as world heritage

By 조정은
  • Published : May 24, 2011 - 11:57
  • Updated : May 25, 2011 - 20:26

A U.N. education and cultural body decided Tuesday to grant world documentary heritage status to two Korean historical records, officials said.

Ilsungrok, a diary-style log of ancient kings' daily lives, and documents on a 1980 pro-democracy uprising in the southern city of Gwangju will be listed on the Memory of the World Register, according to the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). 

A notebook containing records of Gwangju uprising (Yonhap News)

The decision came after UNESCO's International Advisory Committee held a meeting on Monday (local time).

Ilsungrok chronicles ancient kings' lives and state affairs during the last 151 years of the Chosun Dynasty (1392-1910), Korea's last dynasty before Japanese occupation.

First conceived by King Jeongjo in 1760 as a private journal, it was later expanded into records of state and national affairs with contributions from members of the royal library. The documents also account cultural and political exchanges between Asia and the Western world. 

Ilsungrok, a diary-style log of ancient kings' daily lives (Yonhap News)

UNESCO also added the written and visual records of the protest against a military junta in Gwangju on May 18, 1980.

Consisting of government and police documents, court records, statements from civic organizations, photographs and notes by journalists, the records are a vivid and detailed testimony to the watershed moment in the nation's transition to democracy.

With the latest decision, South Korea holds nine written records listed in UNESCO's Memory of the World Register, including the original manuscript of the Korean alphabet, hunminjeongeum.

The Memory of the World program, established in 1992, seeks to protect the world's valuable documents and records and widen public access to them through the Internet.

As of April, a total of 193 documents from 83 countries were protected by the UNESCO program. They include the diaries of Anne Frank of the Netherlands and the Magna Carta of 1215 of Britain. (Yonhap News)