Critical-typos-at-royal-tombs
A tourist sign of Myeongleung mistakenly notes that Queen Inhyeon was reinstated in 1649, as highlighted in a red box. In fact, she was reinstated in 1694. Photo by Tim Kim/Korea News Plus

This is the second of a series checking mistakes and typos in English-language tourist signs or explanations on the country’s cultural heritages. _ ED. 

Seooreung mistakes should be immediately corrected

The Joseon Dynasty lasted longer than 500 years in Korea, between 1392 and 1910, ruled by 27 monarchs. And a total of 120 royal tombs were built in the country, including ones for their family members.

Seooreung Royal Tombs, located just northwest of Seoul, is the second largest in size. The term means that five royal tombs are located on the west of the country’s capital, including Myeongleung.

Thanks to its historical value of showing Joseon’s Confucian ideology and philosophy, the well-preserved Seooreung was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage.

However, its English-language explanation appears not to be perfect, as at least two sign boards of the tombs include incorrect information.

Myeongleung comprises three tombs of King Sukjong, the 19th monarch of the Joseon Dynasty, his second consort Queen Inhyeon and his third consort Queen Inwon.

Queen Inhyeon became King Sukjong’s consort in 1681 and was deposed amid a conflict over the investiture of the crown prince. But she was reinstated as queen in 1694.

A tourist sign in front of the tombs mistakenly notes that Queen Inhyeon was reinstated in 1649, almost 20 years before she was born in 1667.

Daebinmyo is the tomb of Huibin, a royal concubine of King Sukjong and nemesis of Queen Inhyeon. Its tourist sign says that she received poison as the death penalty.

However, there are controversies about her death. It is widely believed that she received poison, but the Veritable Records of the Joseon Dynasty say that she killed herself.

There is another typo in Sugyeongwon, a tomb for the grandmother of King Jeongjo, the 21st monarch.

It was originally situated at Yonsei University in Seoul but was moved to Seooreung on Sept. 8, 1970. But the date is erroneously put on Sept. 9, 1970.

The Cultural Heritage Administration (CHA) is supposed to preserve and promote Korean cultural heritage, including the royal tombs.

When contacted, a CHA official said that the state-run agency would check the typos and controversial explanation on the Daebinmyo tourist board.

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The publisher studied Korean history in Seoul and management of business administration in the United Kingdom. He has 20-year experiences in the media business. Kim can be reached at voc200@gmail.com or 82-2-6956-6698.