Monthly Archives: March 2021


Many people set New Year’s resolutions, but it isn’t easy to follow them through ’til the end of the year. Why is that? It’s because people aren’t determined enough to put that much effort into it. Why do so many find it difficult to put that effort in? It’s because they are anxious to reach it quickly. When we set out to achieve something in the future, it’s important to be diligent and persistent in order to reach a completion.

There’s a phrase 行百里者半九十. 行 originally meant an intersection, or a junction of two roads. This is where we get the meanings such as procession, or degree of relationship, as in 行列. There were many merchants at such junctions, so we also have words like market, or merchant. 銀行 (bank) consists of the word 銀 (silver), so it originally meant a place where you bought and sold silver. In the past, silver was used as a form of common currency. 洋行 means a Western-style store, or a new type of merchant. Many people walk about a junction on a road, so we also have meaning of going or moving around. In 行百里者半九十, 行 means going. Therefore 行百里者 means a person going one hundred ri.

半 originally meant half, but here it means considering as half. We just have number 九十 for a numeric value of ninety, but because of the word 百里 (hundred ri), we can assume the unit of ri here as in ninety ri. So, 半九十 would mean consider as ninety ri as half.

Synthesizing these together, we have, “a person set out to travel one hundred ri goes ninety ri and considers it a half of his journey.” With such attitude, the person will continue on with persistence, and will not be so anxious to get to the destination quickly.

A turtle has short legs, so it can only travel at a very slow pace, but don’t forget that it can also travel 1,000 ri.

Note: ri is roughly about an one-third of an English mile.

English translation by Michael Han (

일제시대(日帝時代)를 왜정시대(倭政時代)

안 규호, 2009. 일제시대(日帝時代)를 왜정시대(倭政時代). 시사포커스. Available at: [Accessed March 29, 2021].

사실 대한민국이 그동안 친일파를 청산하지 못해 여러 가지 문제점이 노출됐다. 논란의 여지가 있을 수는 있겠지만 대체적으로 부인을 할 수 없는 사실이다.

많은 사람들에게 존경을 받던 여성박사 1호인 김활란, 시인 모윤숙과 서정주 애국가 작곡가인 홍난파 등은 친일 행각이 알려지면서 많은 국민들이 적지 않은 놀라움과 불쾌감을 가졌던 기억도 있다.

대한민국도 해방 이후에 친일파 청산의 노력을 하지 않았던 것은 아니다. 1948년 ‘반민족행위처벌법’을 제정해서 의욕적으로 친일파청산을 하려는 노력을 보이기도 했다. 그러나 그것이 흐지부지 되면서 친일부역자가 단죄는커녕 정치권력 뿐 아니라 사회 각계에서 영향력을 행사하는 기행적인 역사를 연출한 것이 우리의 역사였다.

세월의 흐름만큼 많은 국민들이 친일파에 대한 기억을 점점 잃어가고 있다. ‘글로벌시대’ ‘지구촌은 한 가족’이라는 구호가 나오고 있는 요즘 친일문제는 ‘구태의연’하게 들릴 수도 있을 것이다. 그러나 여기서 국민들이 간과해서는 안 되는 중요한 것 중의 하나가 바로 친일파 청산 없이는 우리의 역사가 한 발짝도 앞으로 나갈 수 없다는 것이다.

개인적으로 친일청산의 한 방법을 제안하고자 한다.우리나라의 많은 초·중·고등학교 교과서 심지어는 대학서적에서도 일제시대라는 표현을 쓴다. 이는 정말 잘못된 표현이다. 일제시대(日帝時代)라는 말을 풀이해 보면 한자 뜻 그대로 일본제국주의시대라는 이야기인데 이는 일본의 제국주의 부활을 꿈꾸는 이들이나 부를법한 이야기이다. 치욕의 역사인 왜정시대(倭政時代)를 일제시대(日帝時代)라고 표기를 하고 부르는 것은 적당히 않다.

일제 침략기에 고생을 했던 많은 어르신들은 아직도 왜정시대(倭政時代)라는 표현을 쓴다. 왜정시대倭政時代) 즉 우리나라를 침략했던 왜나라 오랑캐들이 정치를 하던 시대라는 뜻이다.
이젠 마무리 정리하자.

전국민이 이번 기회에 사소한 것처럼 보이지만 가장 중요한 문제인 일제시대(日帝時代)를 왜정시대(倭政時代)로 바꾸는 운동에 적극적으로 동참했으면 한다.

내년 광복절에는 모든 항일순국선열들에게 떳떳한 날이 되었으면 하는 큰 소망을 해본다.


原: 秋水/2 中 + 後漢書, 馬援傳, 等等

同: 井蛙, 井底蛙, 埳井之蛙

井中之蛙 (정중지와, jǐngzhōng zhī wā, かんせいのあ) well / in / [of] / frog
A frog in a well. Referring to someone with a very narrow view of things due to ignorance. It comes from the saying, “a frog in a well doesn’t know about the great sea (井中之蛙 不知大海).”

This was near the end of Sin dynasty (新) which appeared after the end of Western Han dynasty (前漢). Wehyo (隗囂) of Nong-seo (隴西) maintained his relationship with King Gwangmu (光武帝) as an ally, but as King Gwangmu became more powerful he felt uneasy, and tried to form an alliance with Gongsonsul (公孫述) of Chok (蜀). Around that time, Gongsonsul had founded a country called Seong (成), and was calling himself an emperor (皇帝). The land of Chok was rich in natural resources, and the terrain made it a natural stronghold, so it was perfect to build up his power.

Wehyo decided to send Mawon (馬援) to Chok in order to find more about Gongsonsul. Mawon was born in Mureung (武陵) and he had moved to Nong-seo to avoid troubles after Wangmang (王莽) had died. After the move, he had accepted the request to become an advisor to Wehyo. Mawon was also a childhood friend of Gongsonsul.

Mawon eagerly looked forward to being received with a warm welcome by Gongsonsul, but he was met with a cold reception. Gongsonsul had been a king for four years, and he assumed a haughty attitude at the top of the stairs, and tried to give Mawon a government position. Of course, Mawon quickly made an exit and returned.
“The supremacy under heaven is yet to be decided, but instead of showing utmost courtesy to a capable person for advice on running a country, he only shows his haughtiness. One cannot discuss affairs of this world with such a person. He is a prideful frog inside of a well. It’s better to look to the East for going forward,” said Mawon to his entourage.

Mawon also said the same thing to Wehyo, and added, “He is merely a frog inside a well. You do not need to deal with him. I think it will be better to be more expectant from Han (漢).” With this, Wehyo gave up trying to form an alliance with Gongsonsul, and instead formed an amiable relationship with King Gwangmu, who would be the progenitor of the Eastern Han (aka Later Han.)

The expression “a frog in a well” was already widely in use before Mawon had used it. There is this narrative in Jang-ja (莊子): “A frog in a well can’t talk about the sea because it is inherently limited by the place (墟) it lives in. A summer bug wouldn’t be able to talk about ice because it only knows about the season of summer. You can’t talk about the Way (道) with someone who only knows about one thing because he is restricted by the limitation of his own learning.