2018 Personal Essay
I have been living in Ganghwado Island for 17 years. Ganghwado has a lot of historic tourist attractions and being the capital of Goryeo has such a wide variety of relics so that it is called a "roofless museum." Despite I have been living in Ganghwado for a long time many of the historic tourist attractions that I see on my way to school or academy were not very inspiring for me. Moreover when my relative sister came to Ganghwado for a school excursion, I thought “is there any reason to visit Ganghwado?” So I decided to participate in this camp because I wanted to know more about Ganghwado and Goryeo which I used to ignore. Also to foster my interest in Goryeo. In fact, I think many people know about scientific technology in Joseon, but if you ask them about the technology of the Goryeo Dynasty, most people will not be able to answer. This is because there are not many relics from the Goryeo Dynasty in South Korea, and it’s difficult to fine any books about that time. Most of the relics of the Goryeo Dynasty that remained on the Korean Peninsula exist in North Korea. So, I can say the main reason of my participation in global issue camp is that I hope many people will become interested and excited about the Goryeo Dynasty technology through my quest, my diligence and my efforts.
Before joining this camp I could’t obtain any information about technology of Goryeo. So I came here with the goal to look for scientific excellence in the cannons and metal types of Goryeo Dynasty and learn about the technology that protected the nation with cannons and metal types which helped people to promote their knowledge.
During two days, I already learned a lot about science and technology of the Goryeo. For example, I know now that Korea is the first country in the world who made metal types. After combining metal types and if you dip it in ink, you can easily create multiple books. This is faster than handwriting and also it is convenient because it does not wear out like wood type. However, advanced technology is needed to make metal types.
Next, I would like to introduce the topic what I was responsible for during the camp. A cannon is a weapon that fires an object using the explosive power of a gunpowder. In other words, it was used to protect our country during the war. Choi Mu-seon has learned how to make gunpowder from China and after that the cannons were developed. Various gunpowder weapons made by Choi Mu-seon can be divided into launchers, firings, bombs and rocket-type firearms. We can easily observe that his invention was critical in the battle against Japanese troops in August 1380. The Japanese were completely wiped out by Lee Seong-gye, a third-degree Chief Border Inspector who was assigned by Goryeo royal court. As you can see from these typical battles, it was a battle using the best gunpowder and weapons. The oldest cannon known in Korea is the Gyeonghui cannon (Gyeonghui chongtong), which is presumed to have been made from the end of the Goryeo Dynasty to the early Joseon period.
It is interesting that the Gyeonghui cannon (chongtong) has a similar internal structure with Sweden's Rochelt cannon and 14th century Chinese cannons, so it leads some to believe that it is not a Korean creation. However, despite these similarities, further research showed that the Gyeonghui cannon was likely first created prior to King Sejong’s reign, therefore, it is a Korean design. Considering that the size of the cannon (chongtong), the chinese one was 300mm to 400mm, it is 70mm larger than the Gyeonghui cannon (chongtong). So it is believed that cannon was either created by Choi Mu-seon at the end of the Goryeo Dynasty or before the end of the King Sejong's reign. As can be seen from the metal types and cannons mentioned above during the Goryeo Dynasty, there were as many technological developments and foundations as there were during the Joseon Dynasty. In the course of such an investigation, I had time to shame and reflect on my ignorance of Goryeo despite living in Ganghwado.
In addition, as we celebrated the 1100th anniversary of Goryeo, and discovered the science and technology of the Goryeo period, I've become familiar with the science and technology of the Goryeo Dynasty. As I put the results of my research on a media wiki, people around the world can see them, so I understood that I have the responsibility to do my best and that is why this activity was very meaningful to me. Moreover it was a memorable activity.
In conclusion, I want to say that our wise ancestors from Goryeo invented high quality techniques which are shining with various scientific techniques nowadays. I think it's a good time to think again about their inventions and show our respect.