Chinese character (Hanja in Korean) was developed by Korean
I found this post at a discussion group. I thought it was interesting enough so I post it here.
I insist that the so-called Chinese character (Hanja in Korean) was probably invented and developed by Korean, although the populous Chinese also have used it as their basic writing systems. I believe the number of population of any ethnic group should not be a factor that obscures the origin. I explain some evidences.
1. The original pictographs called 'gab-gol' (bone and shell) or 'bok-sa' in Korean were certainly invented during the Yin dynasty (or Shang state, BC 1600~BC 1046), although it is uncertain who was the inventor. There is no dispute regarding this matter between Korean and Chinese historians. There are ample recent evidences that the dominant people of the Yin dynasty was Korean, which some Chinese historians also acknowledge. Moreover, prototypes of Hanja (chinese character) were found to the east of the Shang (Ta wen k'ou and Lungshan culture), not the west (Yangshao culture). The culture of Lungshan was far advanced than Yangshao culture. If Yangshao can be called Chinese as modern Chinese historians do, Lungshan should be called Korean.
Archaeological evidences imply that bronze culture was imported from Lungshan to the Shan dynasyty. With respect to historical records, Shiji by Sima Qian, which most scholars on east Asian history cherish, described 'Chiwoo' (an Korean emperor recorded in Handangogi, See footnote 4) as the following:
"He had 81 brothers. They were with beast body, spoke in human language, had bronze head and iron forehead, and ate sands everyday."
Shiji implies that Chiwoo was from a tribe that used bronze to make weapons and spoke in different language. Usually, responses to Koreans described in chinese history books are bipolar (disparaging while being scared). The description on Chiwoo is a typical one. But Chinese historians themselves wrote implications that bronze was introduced from Koreans.
People who developed Ta wen k'ou and Lungshan culture in Shantung province were called "East Yi". Koreans had called "East Yi" by Chinese, and "Yi" means a big arrow, a feature of the Shang dynasty [See footnote 1].
Based on archaeological evidences from Ta wen k'ou and Shiji's mention on bronze weapon of a Korean ancestor, it seems certain that Shang dynasty succeeded Hanja and bronze culture in the East (Shantung province) where some Korean ancestors resided.
2. Among countries that adopted Hanja, only Koreans use exactly one syllable for one character.
Although Chinese are technically monosyllabic, Chinese or Japanese used one or more syllables de facto for one character. A good example is the sounds denoting the numbers. Only Koreans use just one syllable for one number. So, it is very easy for Koreans to say any complex numbers quickly.
For another example, the sound for 'white' in Hanja in 'baek' (one syllable) in Korean but 'bai' (two syllable) in Chinese. Regarding the character denoting 'head', it is 'doo' in Korean but 'tou' in Chinese. On the other hand, it is the same for the character denoting 'mountain' - 'shan' in both Korean and Chinese.
Why have Koreans used only one syllable for one character, but Chinese one or more syllables de facto? It certainly shows that Chinese pronunciation system is a variant from Korean counterpart.
Koreans seemed to try use Hanja as phonogram before the 7-th century. Hyangchal and Idoo were Korean phonetic systems based on Hanja before the hangul nvention by King Sejong in 1443. Ancient Korean poems 'Seodongyo' and 'Hyeseongga' were written based on Idoo between AD 579-632 (King Jinpyung), indicating that not only pronunciation system for Hanja, but Idoo itself had already been established in Silla before AD 600. Considering the fact that Silla should have been the last country to use Hanja, the pronunciation system might have been established earlier in Paekche and Koguryo.
3. Some basic pictographs reflect Korean life-style and customs.
For example, the character denoting 'house' (ga in Korean) contains a character denoting a pig (hog) in the lower part. In the house, people live, not a pig live. Why did they adopt a pig to denote a house? Only Koreans raised pigs within their house.
Another example is the character denoting 'sun'. The character contains a dot within a rectangle. Why did they contain the dot, seemingly unnecessarily? The dot denotes a golden crow. Only Koreans had the legend linking the sun to the golden crow [See Footnote 2].
Additional example is the character denoting 'surname' (ssi in Korean). In Chinese, the character denotes only 'surname' while it denotes both 'surname' and 'seed' in Korean. 'Ssi' is a most common word in Korean and compares the pedigree with the tree (i.e., the seed is a common symbol for the original ancestor whose trace has been handed down by his surname).
4. Korean history book describes the origin of written systems, which is inscribed in dolmens in Korea.
A Korean history book called Chun-bu-gyung records the origin of both current Hanja and Korean alphabet (hangul). Hanja is a kind of pictograph + ideograph, while hangul is the most advanced of phonogram + ideogram in the world. Bone and shell inscriptions were a pictograph, while hexagrams of I-ching invented by Fu Xi (Bokhwi in Korean) are a kind of ideogram. The original character for both Hanja and hangul was 'Nok-doo-mun' (the most ancient writing system),
according to the Chun-bu-gyung. Currently, only Koreans still play a game called 'Yout', which is believed to be very similar to the 'Nok-doo-mun'. The principles of Yout game are essentially the same as I-Ching [See Footnote 3]. Moreover, in Korea and Manchuria, currently there are many ancient rocks (dolmen) in which various kinds of primitive writings are inscribed (see some pictures at
Based on these four facts, I strongly argue that the Hanja was originated and developed by Koreans. The differences in pronunciation system for numbers between Chinese and Korean clearly indicates it's Korean origin.
I do not deny the influence of Chinese Hanja culture on Koryo and Chosun. Depending on the period, the direction of cultural transfer could change. And, Koreans were segregated from Cantonese area and confined to the Korean peninsula since the 7-th C AD.
During the Shang period, all three types of Hanja (Chinese character) already had been developed (pictography, logography and lexigraphy). Moreover, semantic and phonetic determinative were developed in this period. It will not be surprising that phonetic determinative continued to be developed in Korea to establish Idoo before 600 A.D., finally inventing Hangul in 1446 A.D.
William Boltz (1986) concluded that the Ta wen k'ou graphs (1900 B.C.) are indeed the predecessors of the Shang pictography (B.C.1200). He differed "Origins of civilization in China" from "Origins of Chinese civilization".
He noted distinct two kinds of inscription of the Shang dynasty: 1) oracle bone inscription (OBI), and 2) bronze inscription. Shang OBI had rough and angular, with a strong dominance of straight lines, whereas the characters of "bronze inscriptions" are replete with circles, ovals and curved strokes of a kind nearly impossible to incise on bone or turtle shell. Shang bronze inscriptions are generally limited to simple statements of who made the vessel for whom. The OBI, on the other hand, consist of considerably more complex, often ritually formulaic, divinatory texts.
Pictographs found in the Shantung province show evolutionary process of writing system according to Boltz (1986).
(1) Insignia or emblem-type graphs found on pottery fragments from a neolithic site at Ling yang ho, near Chu hsien, souther part of modern Shantung province (4300-1900 BC)
(2) Emblem-type character painted on a hu vase found at Pao t'ou village, Shantung province (Middle Ta wen k'ou period)
(3) Partial insigne found on pottery fragment from Ch'ien chai, north of Ling yang ho (Late Ta wen k'ou culture)
The feature of the Ta wen k'ou pictographs (1900 B.C.) is matched by the 'clan name' emblems on Shang bronzes of a few centuries later.
Let's summarize the propagation sequence of Hanja system and technology among the four cultures with respect to Chinese writing system (Hanja): Ta wen k'ou (4300-1900 BC), Yangshao (West) vs. Lung-shan (East) (3000-1000BC) and Shang (1700-1027 BC).
Now, it seems certain that Hanja (Chinese writing) did not come from Yangshao culture, but Hanja might have came from Ta wen k'ou through Lung-shan (Youngsan). The Lungshan people were far advanced at pottery than the concurrent Yangshao people. Undoubtedly, the Lungshan was the predecessor of the Bronze Age (Shang) kingdom.
Few people would deny the fact that "East I" or "East Yi" was the dominant people of Lung-shan culture. And, Koreans had been called East Yi, as Yi indeed denotes a 'big bow', which still symbolize why Koreans are undefeatable champions in Olympic archery. Moreover, it would not be coincident that the Shang people firstly used a new composite bow and that the Hanja (Chinese character) denoting Yi is the shape of the composite bow. A picture of composite bow can be seen at http://www.rom.on.ca/pub/shang/shangd.html.
In various mural paintings drawn during Koguryo (B.C. 37 ~ A.D. 668), we can see the gold crow. The gold crow has three legs. See a picture of the gold crow at:
It was the symbol of the sun to Koreans, whereas a toad was the symbol of the moon. The legend says that the crow eats fire of the sun. Why did the crow have three legs? Two legs implies imperfection, so Koreans added another leg. Koreans cherished the number 3. The most ancient Korean history book called Chun-bu-kyung also started with the number 3 (1 + 2 = 3). Three denotes perfection or maturation.
This seemingly forgotten three-leg crow became a news during the 2002 worldcup in Korea. The three-leg crow has been used as the logo of JFA (Japan Football Association), probably since 1950, which most Koreans had not noticed. Look at the log at:
Of course, Japan has a record on the three-leg crow according the book (Nihon Shogi dated in AD 720), apparently influenced by Koguryo. But Japan do not have any ancient paintings on the three-leg crow or the related legend. Why do Japanese try to copy even this kind of ancient logo of Koreans?
Of course, it is true that China has more records on the three-legged crow than Korea, as Chinese, Mongolians and Japanese consistently tried to burn and destroy Korean history books during the past 2,000 years and Korea lacks of ancient text books.
I cite a record from the 8-th Dangun (Woo-seo-han, or Oh-Sah-Hahm, B.C. 1993 ~ B.C. 1985). Han-dan-go-gi records that the three-legged crow flied into the royal palace in B.C. 1987 and it's wing was about 1 meter width.
There is no disputes that the three-legged crow is the symbol of Koguryo among historians. Koguryo has the richest mural paintings on the three-legged crow compared to any other country. Based on this, we can infer that the three-legged crow found in other country had been originated from Koreans, as only people of Koguryo loved the bird so much. Koreans admired the sun and the light. 'Dan' in Dangun and 'Han' (also Khan) originally meant the light. In China, three-legged crow was gradually changed to the Chinese phoenix.
Unlike impressions from records, paintings clearly show that the three-legged crow was Korean. People could destroy as the Qin dynasty did, or modify/exaggerate history in text as Sima Qian did, but they could not completely remove relics.
The hexagrams of the I Ching were said to have been created by the legendary emperor 'Fu Xi' after he had contemplated on a diagram called Ha Do that was bestowed from the Heaven. Han scholars rewrote many myths as fact to fill gaps in early Chinese history. Fu Xi was declared to have been the very first emperor, ruling from 2852 to 2737 BC. He was said to have been the inventor of musical instruments and Chinese handwriting .
Chinese legend says that Fu Xi is the most senior one among the three ancestors. Together with N-Wa, the women who he married with, they started the civilization of human being. The current Fu Xi's Temple in Shandong was built on a 6-meter high terrace. In the main hall, Fu Xi's state was placed and sacrifices are given. And in the back of the hall, N-Wa's statue was placed .
It is said that the upper body of Fu Xi is that of a human being while his lower body is in the form of a snake. Inferring from the scientific nature of the I Ching, it may just be possible that Fu Xi was an extraterrestrial. If Fu Xi was indeed the first ancestor of Chinese, then how could the descendents describe their first ancestor as a monster? Why did ancient Chinese historians initially consider Fu Xi as just a legend? Ancient Chinese call their neighboring people as "bugs" or"barbarians". The monster portrait suggests that Fu Xi might have been from a neighboring country, not Chinese countries. What was that country?
"Fu Xi came from the nationality called East Yi dwelling in the Neolithic Age, along the coastal area of the present-day Shandong Province and, therefore, Fu Xi turned out to have come from Shandong Province" (quoted from a Chinese site )
What was "East Yi"? Of course, "Yi" means "barbarians" in Chinese. Most Koreans know what is "Dong (east) Yi". People in 'East Yi' are known to have been very good at archery, as Korean Olympic archery teams are today. The Hanja "Yi" indeed symbolize the shape of a big bow. Surprisingly. the recently discovered Korean history text titled "Han Dan Go Gi" describes the life of "Fu Xi" (Bokhwi in Korean) [3, see Footnote 4].
It writes that he was the son of the 5-th emperor of the Baedal (B.C.3898- BC 2333) and his surname was "Pung" as he lived in "Pung-san". Although the surname "Pung" no longer exists in Korean names, some related words survived to today such as "Pung-chae" "Pung-gol" and"Pung-shin", all of which are terms for describing human body shape. Another daughter name was "Yeo-wa" (N-Wa in Chinese) .
It writes that she was known to have a magical talent to make a human being from mud and to be extremely jealous (these two points, together with the sound, might may remind you of Jehovah) .
Unfortunately only a few Korean scholars in universities accept "Han Dan Go Gi" as a history book, insisting that the book was fabricated in some points. Some Koreans, while acknowledging that a few points might have been fabricated while copying, decry the university historians as too much contaminated by Japanese colonial view of history that tried to disparage Korean history in the 1910-1945 period, as they deny whole text book. Anyway, East Yi was located in Shandong Province...... What does this mean? I would rather stop here for today. But the point is that it will not be awkward that I link "I Ching" to Han.
Some References on this footnote
 Microsoft Encarta "Fu Xi"  http://www.china-sd.net/eng/sdtravel/scenery/30.asp  http://www.sejongnamepia.pe.kr/name_before.html http://www.shaman.co.kr/newspaper/09/mago.htm http://www.jsd.or.kr/a/truth_sh/korhist/k_hist_05.htm  http://www.sbbs.com.cn/English/RE-EXPLORATION%20OF%20BIAN-HEALING%20S...m).  http://www.hankooki.com/culture/200205/h2002051415292516030.htm  http://www.chinaknowledge.de/History/Zhou/springautumn.htm http://www.xsenergy.com/theme.html
"Yi is known by a variety of names: The East Barbarian, Yi the Good, Lord Yi, and Yi Lord of the Hsia. As a result of this ambiguity, Yi is seen both as a hero who is favored by the Gods as well as a villain, murderer, usurper and adulterer. In this myth Yi is the hero as he shoots the Ten Suns to avert disaster."
Handangogi records anstromical events that are not recorded in any other history text books.
Just two examples:
1. The oldest record for a solar eclipse in Chinese history books is B.C. 776 (Zhou dynasty). The oldest one in Handangogi is B.C. 2183, which was about 1,400 year earlier. Of course, the calculated date was near the same.
2. Dangunsegi and Dangungosa record that, in B.C. 1733, five stars approached each other and became a cluster. The calculated year by the professor and his colleague was B.C. 1734, July 13.
As a solar eclipse can be seen only in a specific area on the earth, they could track down the position of observers based on records of samguksai or other texts from the three kingdoms. The results indicated that the Silla observer should have been near the Yangtze River before AD 201 and southern Korea after AD 787. It is quite interesting that the observers for Paekche should have been near Bohai bay, as all events recorded from Paekche could have been observed only there.
With respect to solar eclipse events, the hitting ratio of samguksai was 80%, 63-78% for some Chinese records at the similar period, and only 45% for Nihon shogi. The ratio was 70% for all recorded solar eclipse in handangogi when allowing +/-4 years error. http://www.eurasiad.com/handan_astro.html (hangul)
It seems to be true that a few sentences in Handangogi were modified while copying around 1911. Koreans, including me, acknowledge it. However, the few modified sentences can not justify denying all of the history text book. In the world, which text book was not modified at all while copying? Comparing with Handangogi, Nihon Shogi is indeed an imaginary novel. Comparing hitting ratio of solar eclipse, Handangogi is 70% while Nihon Shogi is just 45%. Still, historians, especially westerners, cite Nihon Shogi while acknowledging some parts were exaggerated or modified. Look at the whole context of Handangogi at first. This is what so-called nationalist historians in Korea ask for.