Korean Studies Colloquium
Annenberg School of Communication Room 111
National symbols often have a fraught history, and this is no different with Tan’gun, the mythical progenitor of the Korean nation. Revered as ancestral founder, enlightened ruler, and even national God, he is commonly employed to endow Korea with five thousand years of history. However, Tan’gun’s development into perhaps the most important national symbolism was never straightforward, as he evolved along several trajectories that transcended the Korean peninsula and encompassed several centuries. This talk will focus on how the figure of Tan’gun was disseminated to Japan, how he became a deity there, and how Japanese views would enter Korea in the early twentieth century to impact Koreans' perception of their founding father.