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|#25 April, 2002
Kakara-shima, The Island of Camellia
The Legend of King Munyeong of Baekje
|On January 14, 2002, Kakara-shima, a small island of Chinzei Town near Karatsu, was crowded with amateur historians.
My husband and I are not historians at all, but my husband is much interested in Korea and I like mysteries of the ancient days of my district. So we jumped on the chance to join the excursion.
The excursion was guided by Korean professor Moon. He had published his thesis about the birth place of King Munyeong (Muryeong), the 25th King of Baekje*.
People in this town prepared a symposium with Professor Moon and some other scholars of Korea and Japan. ‚v‚… were so excited. A king of Baekje about 1500 years ago was born in a very small island here!
But how comes?
King Munyeong, the 25th king of Baekje and his queen were laid to rest in the tomb in Geumseong-dong, Gongju, Chungcheongnam-do Province of Korea. His tomb was excavated in 1971, and they found almost 3000 objects including gold ornaments for crowns, bronze mirrors with designs, copper bowls, etc.
Among them found were two stone plates engraved with a contract from the King of Land to purchase the tomb site, and they showed when the tomb was made and who were buried in there.
So, we can tell that King Munyeong was born in 462A. D. and died in 523A.D. Then does the stone tell us where he was born? No. On the side of Korean history, his birth place had been never mentioned.
It is "Nihon-shoki", the first history book of Japan, edited in 720 A. D. by the Imperial order, that tells us about that.
Konikishi, a younger brother of the The 21st King Koeru of Baekje, was sent to Japan, and when he left for Japan, Konikishi asked the King to give him one of the King's wives to go with him as his wife. Konikishi wanted a woman who was expecting a King's baby, and on their way, the woman had a birth-pain, and she had a boy on the Island of Kakara in Kyushu.The prince was sent back to his Father King and later he became the 25th King of Baekje.
I am kind of afraid that this might offend Korean people. But at the same time, I wish that this might dispel the long historical antagonism and unite the two nations into a true brotherhood. Anyway, the missing links of the history should be found to make it clear how and why we are here.
So I would like to invite you to the excursion to this island of King Munyeong's birth place.
We call this beautiful island "The island of Camellia".
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