Three English Translations of the Declaration of Korean Independence

  • Wook-Dong Kim


This chapter compares and contrasts three English versions of the Korean Declaration of Independence. In early March 1919, Soon Hyun, together with Yi Gwang-su, translated the document literally into English in Shanghai, China. Philip Jaisohn rendered it quite freely into English for the First Korean Congress held in Philadelphia in mid-April 1919 and then included it in his novella Hansu’s Journey. Around 1930, Younghill Kang also translated, both literally and in free translation, the Declaration into English, incorporating it into his novel The Grass Roof. Each of the three English versions is significantly different from the others in content, as well as in form and style. The difference is due not only to the translators’ political visions and agendas for an independent Korea but also to their careers and Weltanschauung.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wook-Dong Kim
    • 1
  1. 1.Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST)UlsanKorea (Republic of)

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