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Joseon Tongsinsa documents registered with UNESCO’s Memory of the World

2017-11-13 339  Views

Joseon Tongsinsa Korea-Japan Cultural Exchange Festival  

UNESCO has confirmed the registration to its Memory of the World list of “Documents on Joseon Tongsinsa,” which consists of records of Korean envoys to Japan during the Joseon Dynasty era.


The Thirteenth Meeting of the International Advisory Committee (IAC) of UNESCO’s Memory of the World (MoW) Programme took place at UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, France from October 24 to 27 and recommended inscribing 78 new nominations on the Memory of the World International Register. UNESCO added the documents, “Joseon Tongsinsa/Chosen Tsushinshi: The History of Peace Building and Cultural Exchanges between Korea and Japan from the 17th to 19th Century” to the Memory of the World International Register.


Since 2013, the two organizations, the Busan Cultural Foundation (Republic of Korea) and The Liaison Council of All Place Associated with Chosen Tsushinshi (Japan), with the continuous support of Busan Metropolitan City and Nagasaki Prefecture, have jointly managed to compile the necessary documents and submit a joint application to UNESCO for inclusion on the Memory of the World. The joint listing of Korea and Japan to the Memory of the World is regarded as a big and significant achievement for the two nations.


The Tongsinsa were diplomatic envoys that were dispatched during the Joseon era at the request of Japan’s shogunate on 12 different occasions between 1607 and 1811. This addition to the list is composed of 333 records, which include diplomatic documents that the Tongsinsa left at major stops in Korea and Japan, as well as the results of artistic exchanges, including drawings and poetry.


The ‘Hunminjeongeum Manuscript’ and ‘The Annals of the Joseon Dynasty’ were the first documentary heritage pieces of the Republic of Korea inscribed on the Memory of the World Register in 1997. Since then, there have been a total of sixteen documents or collections of documents from the Republic of Korea on the Memory of the World Register.


The Yeonggadae Pavilion at Jaseongdae Park, Dong-gu, Busan is where Joseon Tongsinsa had rituals for sea gods for a safe voyage to Japan before they crossed the Korean Strait between Korea and Japan.


The Joseon Tongsinsa Korea-Japan Cultural Exchange Festival has been held both in Korea and Japan every May since 2002. It provides visitors with various events, such as the reenacted parade of the Joseon Tongsinsa through the streets of Busan, a Korean-Japan cultural exchange performance and a symposium. The festival is hosted by Busan Metropolitan City and the Busan Cultural Foundation.  

The History Museum of Joseon Tongsinsa, opened in April 2011 in Busan, also provides information about Joseon Tongsinsa to the public. 



A celebrating ceremony for inclusion on the Memory of the World will be held at Busan Cinema Center from November 24 to 25.