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    Who Invented the Movable Type?

    Who Invented the Movable Type?

    6 January 2010

    Dear webmaster,

    I'm Korean and researcher who research about printing technology of Korea.

    I found wrong information from your website at http://www.juliantrubin.com/bigten/gutenbergmovable.html

    In the The Gutenberg Bible, there is this sentence which contains wrong information: Gutenberg’s name does not appear on any of his work, but he is generally accredited with the world’s first book printed by movable type.

    Woodblock painting technique was developed in the 7-8 century China. Currently extant one is “The Mugujeonggwang daedaranigyeong” which was published in 751 AD Korea. With regard to the movable type printing technique, “Movable Type Printing” was invented by a Chinese, Pi Sheng, in 1041 and the movable metal type printing was invented in the 13th century Korea.

    You can’t discuss or mention about movable metal type printing without Korean technology and Jikji book. You might not hear about Jikji book. Jikji book was printed by movable metal type in 1377 which is 75 years earlier than Gutenberg’s Bible. And according to many Korean documents, Koreans adopted Chinese movable type technology and finally invented movable metal type printing in early 12C. You can read more about this at Museum of Early Printing in Cheongju at http://www.jikjiworld.net.

    I think you should add this sentence in your website : In Korea movable metal type printing was invented in the early 13th century. The oldest extant metal type printing is ‘Baegun Hwasang Chorok Buljo jikji simche yojeol,’ abbreviated to ‘Jikji,’ (the abbreviated title of a Korean Buddhist document) which was published in 1377 Cheongju, Korea, proves this fact.

    Jikji book is recognized as the oldest metal type printed book by scholars and it is registered as documentary heritage by UNESCO. You can check that fact at http://www.unesco.org/new/en/communication-and-information/resources/

    Jikji is definitely worthy documentary heritage to mention in your webpage. Please check the websites above and update your webpage and provide correct information to your users!


    Dear reader,

    It’s only normal that nationals are willing to promote their county’s cultural and scientific heritage including important contributions to invention history.

    I think you didn’t read my article carefully since I clearly mentioned that there is a historical controversy concerning the question “Who invented the movable type?” and there was mentioned Korea’s unique contribution.

    The BBC’s article cited, also gives a good answer to this question, emphasizing that not always the first to introduce a technological process is also credited with the full fledged invention stemming from it.

    As a matter of fact, that’s the case with the radio invention were Marconi, and not Tesla or others, is credited; the telephone invention where Bell, and not Elisha Gray, is credited and the inventions of the power grid system and light bulb by Edison and many other examples.

    In our case the right question must be not “who is the first to print a book by movable type?” but “who is the one that first used movable type to bring books to every home?”

    We think that the answer to this is Johannes Gutenberg.

    More about this subject:



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