King Sejong

King Sejong, also known as Sejong the Great, was the fourth ruler of the Joseon Dynasty.

Statue of King Sejong, located in Seoul

Born in 1397, Sejong was the third son of King Taejong. As young prince, he excelled in studies and was favored by his father as successor to the throne over his two older brothers. Wikipedia notes that the brothers agreed, and acted in a way that they were banished from Seoul so to allow Sejong to ascend the throne. There’s not reference to where that information came from so I wonder if it’s true. If so it’s an interesting story.

Sejong ascended the thrown in August of 1418, and is credited with many accomplishments during his 32 year reign. He strengthened the military, supported and encouragement scientific advancements, encouraged education, and oversaw the creation of a unique Korean alphabet.

King Sejong died at age 54 in 1450 from complications of diabetes. Sejong’s likeness can be found on the 10,000 won note and his life was depicted in the 2008 KBS TV series King Sejong the Great (which I haven’t seen but it’s now on my list of “to see” Korean dramas).

If you’d like to read more about King Sejong, visit This site has lots of well-organized information, plus you can download the PDF of a 112-page booklet on King Sejong. It’s a great resource.


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