image Jikji Memory of the World Prize image Heors who protected Korean documentary Heritages.

I will be telling you guys a little bit about Jikji

Hello! My name is Luisa and I am an intern at VANK and today I will be telling you guys a little bit about Jikji.

So far in what I’ve learned about Korean history and culture at VANK, the most interesting thing has been Jikji.

And the reason why it’s been the most interesting to me is because growing up, in high school and my other years in university,

I learned a lot about world history and European history (as well), but I had never heard about this artifact or this document.

During that time I learned about different written and printed works from Mesopotamia or the Chinese Dynasties
and of course we have the Gutenberg Bible from the Protestant Reformation in Germany.

So now thinking as to why in all of those time periods I never learned about Jikji- it makes me very curious.

As someone who’s really interested in learning about history, I’ve noticed that there is a very clear academic bias in valuing Western history and heritage over the Eastern one.

So I think maybe this might be a root factor as to why the Jikji is not as well known as the Gutenberg Bible.

And so if you’re wondering exactly what Jikji is, it’s the world’s oldest extant book that was printed using movable metal-type printing technology.

And it was created in Korea.

Jikji was printed in the year 1377, which makes it about 78 years older than the Gutenberg Bible that we learn about from the Protestant Reformation.

And then, learning more about this Korean artifact, I also learned that France, which is the country that’s in legal possession of this artifact, has not given it the value or recognition that it deserves.

So why wonder why this is the case because there’s a lot of research, and even prominent figures have come out and asserted that this movable metal-type printing technology was originally from Korea, and it reached Europe through cultural exchanges between the Vatican and Joseon Dynasty.

So for me, I think as humanity progresses and the world becomes more globalized, I really do believe that it is our generation’s mission and responsibility to give all of these civilizations and cultures the recognition that they deserve.

And we should also stop the narrative that is was mostly the western societies that spearheaded societal development because as global research and a lot of scholars
have demonstrated, more often than not, these same western societies that we credit actually took a lot influence or the original items from the rest of the civilizations around the world.