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[Newsmaker] UNESCO lists war diary, Saemaul archives

By 김정보

Published : June 19, 2013 - 10:00

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“Nanjung Ilgi,” or “War Diary,” by 16th-century naval hero Yi Sun-shin, and archives of Korea’s Saemaul Movement in the 1960s have been listed to the UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register, the Cultural Heritage Administration said Wednesday.

Their inclusion brings the total number of South Korea’s heritage items on the UNESCO list to 11, the highest for an Asian country.

The decision was made during the 11th session of the International Advisory Committee that opened in Gwangju on Tuesday when the advisory board to the UNESCO Memory of the World Register made a recommendation for their inclusion. The recommendation was approved by UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova shortly after.

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

“Nanjung Ilgi” was Yi’s personal record during the Japanese invasion of Joseon in 1592-1598. It also contains information about the war as well as military customs early in the Joseon era (1392-1910). 

“Nanjung Ilgi: War Diary of Admiral Yi Sun-sin” (Cultural Heritage Administration) “Nanjung Ilgi: War Diary of Admiral Yi Sun-sin” (Cultural Heritage Administration)


“The diary is unequaled in world history as a commander’s battlefield accounts. Written as a personal journal, it describes in detail the daily combat situations, the admiral‘s personal views and feelings, observations on the weather, topographical features of battlefields and the lives of common people,” the IAC said.

The Saemaul Movement archive includes presidential speeches, government papers, village documents, letters, manuals, photographs and video clips related to the campaign, launched in 1970 by former president Park Chung-hee, who is the father of incumbent President Park Geun-hye. The state-led movement has been credited with helping impoverished South Korea develop into an industrial state. 

“The Archives of Saemaul Undong (New Community Movement) (Cultural Heritage Administration) “The Archives of Saemaul Undong (New Community Movement) (Cultural Heritage Administration)




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