'World's first newspaper published in Korea in 1557'
Posted : 2017-04-20 15:42
Updated : 2017-04-20 17:26
A page of the Jobo, which is claimed to be the world's first daily newspaper. / Yonhap
By Lee Han-soo
Did Korea publish the first newspaper?
One Buddhist monk believes so. Jibong, 52, from the Yonghwa Temple in Yeongcheon, North Gyeongsang Province, says he has copies of the world's oldest daily newspaper, published in 1557.
Until now, the oldest was believed to be German daily Einkommende Zeitungen, whose first issue dates to 1660.
The monk said he has five issues of "Jobo" -- which translates into "morning news" -- dated Nov. 6, 15, 19, 23 and 24, 1577, in the lunar calendar.
Jobo's existence is only recorded in the historical script "The Annals of the Joseon Dynasty," known in Korean as Silok. The script has a record of the daily's issue from Nov. 28, 1577, which reported on the dynasty's then ruler King Seonjo. He was greatly angered when he found that information about royal court was being circulated outside the palace and ordered the newspaper to cease publication. He punished 30 people involved in reading or publishing it.
The paper's texture suggests it was made in the 16th century using wooden printing plates. Jobo is also known to contain information about the weather, incidents and official appointments to royal palace positions.
But Jobo has not been officially verified.
Jibong said he obtained the papers through a small private website that specializes in selling ancient historical documents and was unclear how the initial seller had obtained them.
"The papers were auctioned off at a small private website," Jibong told Korean TV broadcaster SBS. "I obtained it after realizing that others, including the seller, were unaware of its value."
Scholars and bibliographers have not verified the papers' authenticity. They plan to use radiometric dating to discover if they are from the claimed period.