Korea Has a 4th Kingdom?
As some Korean history buffs may know, Korea’s history includes the story of the Three Kingdoms that can be found in the Samguk Sigi 삼국시기. These three Kingdoms consisted of Koguryo, Paekchae, and Silla. This past week in my Asian Studies class however, we read about Kaya, the lost Kingdom of Korea. Kaya was present in the same era as the Three Kingdoms, and located on the southern shore of Korea and had control of the maritime trades along Nakdong River and were known for their advanced iron products including armor and swords.
Not much is known about Kaya, but due to interest, Japanese historians and scholars are heavily researching Kaya in relation to the history of Korea. Only recently did they start discovering Kaya relics in what is now modern-day KimHae.
Sorry to sound like a history book but this article that I read for class was fascinating. Kaya was so involved in Korea’s history, yet barely mentioned in the Samguk Sigi . There’s still a lot of speculation and theories about why Kaya was barely mentioned in Korean history books but it’s interesting to think about, isn’t it?
I encourage people to read about it, especially if you’re into Korean history. And to add on, I highly recommend watching Jumong! It’s a k-drama, and it’s quite long (over 100 episodes), but it’s definitely a fun drama that tells a story about the Three Kingdoms and how they came to be united.
Also, if you ever visit the southern part of South Korea, stop by the Kimhae National Museum and look at the Kaya exhibit! I believe that’s the first Korean Museum where they are displaying Kaya artifacts dating back to ca. 6000 B.C.! Definitely a must see if you’re interested in Korea, history, and/or just like visiting museums. I know I will visit it the next time I get the chance. Maybe it’ll give me insight to why Kaya is rarely mentioned :(.
What do you think is the reason Kaya is excluded from texts? One theory I’ve heard is that it wasn’t a united kingdom; it was a group of individual states. Another theory is that because the Samguk Sigi was written by a descendant of Silla and maybe they were...bitter? Haha, definitely interesting to speculate history to figure out what happened and why. Comment below with your thoughts and share your theory, I’d love to discuss them!