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Saturday, 12 November 2016

Hapcheon, Southern Gyeongsang: Ancestral Seat of ChoGye Joo Clan, Hometown of Disgraced President Chun Doo-hwan and Home of Tripitaka Koreana

Hapcheon (Hangul/Hanja: 합천군/陜川郡) is a county located at Northwestern Bound of Southern Gyeongsang Province, Republic of Korea. Hapcheon County is surrounded by Changnyeong and Uiryeong Counties to the southeast, Geochang and Sancheong Counties to the west and Goryeong and Seongju Counties of Northern Gyeongsang Province to the north. This county is the place where the Tripitaka Koreana kept in Haeinsa Temple and Disgraced Korean Republic's President in the Freaking Fifth Republic, Chun Doo-hwan was born in 1931 at Naecheon-ri, Yulgok-myeon Commune. The postal codes of Hapcheon County start from 50200 (1645-8~1836 Mount Gaya Road/Gayasanno, Gaya-myeon) to 50253 (34-7~195-93 Chogok Alley/Chogok-gil, Cheongdeok-myeon).

The Mount Gaya range on the boundary line between provinces to the north as the main range, there are many big and small mountains that branch out from the range. There are Mount Maehwa, Mount Bigye which is bordered with Geochang County, Mount Dumu, Mount Odo, Mount Hwangmae which is bordered with Sancheong County and also mountains like Mount Akgyeon, Mount Geumseong, Mount Uiryong and Mount Gajeom, Mount Misung to the north. Also there are Mount Jagul, Mount Mita located south of Mount Dumu so the terrains are packed with famous mountains and open fields are rarely seen around these mountain areas. Except for the eastern region, it is high and rugged with mountainous terrains overlapping with each other and Nakdong River flows on the eastern region.

As one of major streams in Hapcheon and as a branch of Nakdong river, Hwang River that passes through the county originates from Mount Deogyu In Geochang County. Then, many streams converge and head south at Bongsan-myeon and passes through the communes of Yaro-myeon and Myosan-myeon, Goryeong County of Northern Gyeongsang and reaches Deokgok-myeon. Hwanggang, a river that flows from west to east, passes through 6 myeons out of 17 eups and myeons from south to west so many administrative areas and living zones are established according to the flow of the river. The river is wide but not that deep.

The foundation of Hapcheon started where the Stonewares are excavated in Gyodong of Hapcheon-eup and Daemok-ri of Daeyang-myeon and as well as the Stone Age artifacts during the construction of Hapcheon Multipurpose Dam. Hapcheon belonged to Byeonhan in Samhan Age (Byeonhan, Jinhan and Mahan), there were tribe nations of Daraguk (다라국/多羅國; in Hapcheon-eup), Chopalhyeguk (초팔혜국/草八兮國; in Chogye-myeon) and Saigiguk (사이기국/斯二岐國; in Samga-myeon). In particular, there are a number of ancient tombs located in Dabyeong-myeon (Chang-ri, Hageum-ri and Daeji-ri), Yaro-myeon (Geumpyeong-ri and Wolgwang-ri) and Samga-myeon (Yangjeon-ri). With the excavation of Okjeon Ancient Tombs in Seongsan-ri of Ssangchaek-myeon, it is assumed that may have been a power ruling force in the regions.

In 562, The Greater Gaya, a kingdom in Gaya Confederacy was destroyed by Kim Isabu and Sadama, the generals of Silla Kingdom in the 23rd year of King Jinheung, 24th King of Silla and Hapcheon was reverted to Silla. In the 11th year of the 27th Monarch of Silla Kingdom, Queen Seondeok Kim Deok-man (642CE) - Daeya Fortress was fallen to the hands of General Yunchung of Baekje where the lord of the castle, Pum-Seok Kim and Hwarang General Jukjuk died in the battle. However, Hapcheon was degraded from 'Ju' (State) into 'Gun' (County) in December 757CE (16th Reigning Year of King Gyeongdeok, 35th Monarch of Silla, thus renamed as GangYang-gun.

During Goryeo Dynasty Period, GangYang-gun was raised into the state of Hapju and had Yaro-myeon, Gasu-myeon, Samga-myeon as the subsidiary Communes in the 9th Reigning Year King Hyeonjong Wang Soon of Goryeo, 8th King of Goryeo (1018). In the 3rd Reigning year of King Chungsuk Wang Man, 27th King of Goryeo (1334), with the help of services from Cheong Soon-ki and Byun Woo-seong, Chogye Prefecture was raised to a status of County and a governor was staitioned to rule over the area. Later in 1373 (22nd Reigning year of the King Gongmin Wang Ki, 31st King of Goryeo), Gammu (Magistrate Office) was installed in Samgi Prefecture.

Moving on to the contemporary Korea, the county office was transferred from Yaro-myeon to Hapcheon-ri 789-beonji (Present-day 119 Dongseo Avenue/Dongseo-ro, Hapcheon-eup) in 1893. Two years later, Emperor Gojong-Gwangmu Yi Myeong-bok revamped the administrative regions of Korea where the region became Hapcheon County according to the 13 Provinces Administrative System. In 1914 - during Japanese Colonization Period, Samga and Chogye Prefectures were absorbed by Hapcheon County (17 myeons), Gungyu-myeon by Uiryeong County and Sinwon-myeon by Geochang County. In 1979, Hapcheon-myeon was raised to a status of eup (town) and now consists of 1 eup and 16 myeon (communes). The annexation of the areas out of Hapcheon occured in 1983 where Gwonhye-ri and Mukbang-ri of Jeokjung-myeon was incorporated into Burim-myeon of Uiryeong County. Six years later, Part of Osan-ri, Daeyang-myeon was incorporated into Bongsu-myeon of Uiryeong County and part of Oeto-ri, Samga-myeon into DaeUi-myeon of that same county.

As mentioned earlier, the county office is located at 119 Dongseo Avenue/Dongseo-ro, Hapcheon-ri 789-beonji, Hapcheon-eup with its postal code: 50231. The chief of this county is Ha Chang-hwan (Saenuri). In the other hand, Kang Seok-jin (Saenuri) served as the assemblyman for Sancheong, Hamyang, Geochang and Hapcheon Counties in 20th Session of Gukhoe (2016-2020). Hapcheon County contains a town (eup) and 16 communes (myeon) as shown on the map below (in Hangul and Hanja).