Heo Gyun (pen name Gyosan) (1569~1618)

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Heo Gyun (pen name Gyosan) (1569~1618)

Heo Gyun
He was a civilian official and thought of as a reformist in the middle of the Joseon dynasty. He hailed from Gangneung. His pen name was Gyosan, and his original ancestor came from Yangcheon. His father was Heo Yeop who served as Busa (governor) of Samcheok, and his mother was the daughter of Yejopanseo (Minister of Rites, Protocol, Culture and Education) Kim Gwang-cheol of the Gangneung Kim family line. Heo Seong and Heo Bong were his half-brothers. They had been to Japan as envoys right before the Japanese Hideyoshi´s invasion of Korea in 1592. And Heo Gyun and Heo Nanseol were his real siblings.

He passed Jeongsimungwa (the civil service examination) in 1594 (the 27th year of King Seonjo), and also passed Mungwajungsi (specially administered civil service examination) in 1597. Afterwards, he served in numerous offices such as Dosa (provincial official) of Hwanghae Province, Hyeongjo- jeongrang (official in charge of legal affairs), Moksa (local official) of Gongju, and Yejo and Hojo Chami (assistant deputy at the ministries responsible for economy, land, construction, education, etc.) In 1606 (the 39th year of King Seonjo), he served as Jonsagwan (official) responsible to take care of Ming´s envoy Jujibeon, and he thus was made known for his talent for writing and scholastic knowledge.

He handed over his elder sister, Nanseolheon´s, poems to Jujibeon to have them published in China. In 1617, he became Jwachamchan (an official of Premier´s office) and, in August of the following year, he posted an appeal on the Namdaemun Gate, which was regarded as a rebellious act, leading to his being hanged.
Honggildongjeon was ahis representative novel written in Korean during the Joseon dynasty. This novelcriticized the absurdities of the existing social systems. Particularly, Heo Gyun, who was regarded as a dissident by other orthodox scholars, had a broad understanding of cultures. He is evaluated as the pioneer of the times who represented the oppressed low-class population and proclaimed his opinions on politics and literature from that point of view. He has left a literary book titled “Seongsobokbugo”. In September 2000, Heo Gyun and his older sister Heo Nanseolheon were designated as the cultural persons of the month.