Home | Kisaeng | An Minyong | Anonymous | Chin-ok | Choe Chung | Chong Ch'ol | Ch'on'gum | Hanu | Hwang Chin'i | Im Che | Kil Chae | Kim Ch'on-taek | Kim Kwang'uk | Kyerang | Kim Tongnyon | Pak Hyogwan | Sin Hum | So Kyongdok | Song Sammun | Yi Hwang | Yun Sondo | Yun Tuso

Sijo Masters in Translation

Korean Classical Sijo

Horizontal Divider 28

In the year 17 BCE, King Yuri of Kokuryo was saddened by the quarreling of his two wives. The Chinese sisters, Hwahi and Chihi, grew so jealous of each other that one finally returned to China. I don't know what happened to the other, but the grieving Yuri, yearning for better times, wrote a love song in Chinese about two birds he observed courting in a nearby tree. This Song of Yellow Birds is the earliest remaining written evidence of the Korean poetic tradition. Poetry and song have flourished in Korea ever since.

Horizontal Divider 28

In the 6th century, scholars developed Yidu, an attempt to adapt athe predominant Chinese writing script by mixing in certain characteristics of the Korean oral vocabulary. The result was a kind of pidgin Chinese which made both reading and writing much easier. This development fostered a great flowering of poetry called Hyangga (the home song) which became very popular.

Horizontal Divider 28

Though much of the Hyangga and other later developments are often sijo-like in structure, the precise origin of the lyric verse we now call sijo is not clear. Some point to developments as early as the 9th century, others the 11th. It is clear, however, that by the 13th century it had come into its own as the predominant lyric poetry of Korea.

Sijo continued to be refined both in style and content, especially after the introduction of Hanguel, the Korean alphabet, in 1446. The 15th and 16th centuries saw its highest development, before internal turmoil and invasions from Japan and Mongolia hastened its decline.

Horizontal Divider 28

Click in the column to the right to sample
some of the greatest masters of the Classical Sijo.

Horizontal Divider 28

To learn more about sijo, click here.

Master Sitting

Sijo Masters

Visit the new Master of the Month.

Updated 080928

Sijo Quick Nav:


Powered by WebRing.