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About: The Samguk Yusa was a Korean historical record/folktale collection. It was printed three times--first after its compilation in the Yuan Dynasty, second in the Ming Dynasty, and third in the Meiji era of Japan. The most widely distributed copy is the Meiji copy, with a table of contents and preface added in by the editor. Since there is no copy on the internet to my knowledge, I have produced an amateur translation.

Warnings: I am not an expert in old literary Chinese, nor am I an expert at pronouncing Korean hanja. I also lack geographic knowledge of Korea, especially when it comes to archaic names. Therefore, it is possible that this translation contains mistakes. I only hope I have translated the main idea of the work correctly.

Copyright: This work is an amateur translation that I'm doing because I'm bored. Any attempts to pass it off as an work of actual literary merit that you can make money from will probably get you laughed off of whatever site you're using. In other words, copy and sell at your own discretion.


The Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms. Based off of the Historical Records of the Kim Clan.

The one who collected and transcribed the memorabilia and trivia of the three kingdoms of Silla, Goguryeo, and Baekje in the time of King Chungnyeo of Goryeo was Monk Il-yeon. The book is composed of five volumes divided into nine chapters, originally without preface or afterword. Though called a historical chronicle of the three kingdoms, it actually records myths and legends. The researcher was concerned with revering the Buddha and spreading his word. The speaker was talking about irrational nonsense. Their words are not to be easily believed. However, the legends have remained in the common consciousness. They have become scattered among people. And in provinces, towns, and metropolitan areas, as well as in natural landmarks, there are varied proofs of their existence. If you wish to discuss the events of the Three Kingdoms period, do not let the shortcomings of this book blind you to its value. Please just quietly endure them!

This book was finished during the Dade Era of the Yuan Dynasty (1297-1307 AD). Two hundred years later, by the time of the seventh year of the Ming Dynasty's Zhengde Era (1506-1521 AD), the renshen year, it was reprinted. The Mayor of Gyeongju, Yi Kyepok said in the afterword "I have two volumes of the history of our eastern three kingdoms. There are no other copies in print; they are both in my residence. However, they have suffered from the years and are damaged. There are only four or five legible characters in each line. Therefore, I sought a newer edition so I could acquire a complete copy. However, I was unable to find any for many years. Master Kwen, the Head of Seongju County, heard of my search, so he found a complete copy to give to me." Kyepok was the one who accomplished the task of re-printing the book. However, the "complete" edition might not be truly complete. It could be a misprinted palace copy. There are two copies in our nation. One is in the possession of Lord Tokugawa of Owari Province. The other is hidden away by the Lord of Kanda. Both are the Zhengde reprints. The language is ambiguous; there are numerous misspellings. It visibly shows its age. At its worst, it has blank papers and loose pages. The words cut off and the meaning is lost. It is so horrible that it deserves no praise. And so, going off of the copies in the possession of the two families, while cross-referencing works like The Annals of the Three Kingdoms, the Chronicles of Goryeo, the Miscellaneous Records of the Eastern Capital, Survey of the Eastern Kingdom, Test Preparation Documents, Survey of the Land, Sources of Precious Stones in the Eastern Sea, Record of Visits to China, Legend of the Wise Monk who Sought Buddha’s Law in the West, and Legend of the Wise Post-Tang Monks, I fixed its continuity errors, filled in its missing information, and typeset it with sorts.

From the time when it was first distributed in the world in the Yuan dynasty, it has been six hundred years. The Yuan Sovereign Kublai Khan wished to invade the Easter Provinces. Using Gouryeo as a starting point, he sought to attack our island of Tsukushi (modern Kyuushuu). The armies in charge of pacifying the West crumbled under Kublai's assault. They lost uncountable battles. The Sovereign of Goryeo was so desperate he would have conscripted even scholars into his army. Nevertheless, the people of Goryeo diligently worked to publish their works even during this time. They were not intimidated even as their brushes snapped in their hands, and so they gained the admiration of all future generations.

Because our involvement with the Three Koreas goes far into ancient times, the events featured in this book also concern us. The various Hyangga poems inserted into this book are mostly in the Silla language. The hyangga alone can be said to be nation's cultural zeitgeist. The ancient language of Silla is already dead, but several tens of hyangga remain. They are truly the neglected pearls of the deep blue sea. Though they are not directly connected to ancient matters of Silla, they are enough to elicit old proverbs from me. The men who are involved in archaeology discuss their origin and search for their purpose.

I wrote this with all resources that were at my disposal. 10 September, 35th year of Meiji, Renyin Year.

Table of Contents

Originally, the book had no table of contents. It was added in this printing. Also, two pages are missing from the first volume's section on Mohe and Balhae. One page is missing from the third volume's section on Mount Namdal and two pages are missing from the volume’s section on the rock tower relics of Baekeom Temple. For other sections that are missing titles or contents and seems to have no reason for such errors, assume the information to be missing. In the first printing, two pages were left out. Now, they cannot be recovered. For characters that are suspect, a ( ) has been added; for characters that are missing, they are replaced with a square. All errors in the dating and missing parts of phrases have been deemed mistakes and fixed. It is up to the scholars to debate the accuracy of the changes. I dared not tamper with the pronunciation of the words. It is up to the scholars to trace their origins. Rare characters have been retained, but no obsolete ones. For example, a word in the "imina" (personal name of royalty, taboo for commoners to say) of two emperors was modernized. This word obsolete word was connected to the names of the two emperors and thus hindered the accessibility of the text. Su Shi once said that "The previous generations did not dare to brazenly change old texts". This is because the words were written in an alternate form. We sought to keep the words as close to the original as possible. And, using sorts, we created the best approximation. Readers, please be lenient.

(A table of contents detailing the sections of the text follows. However, since it is irrelevant to this internet translation, it will not be included)

Volume 1 | Volume 2 (incomplete)
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