King Sejong is one of the greatest leaders in all Korean history. He is often referred to as one of the most outstanding exemplars for those in the Korean business world. I am descended from him on my Korean side with the surname Yi (李) of Jeonju (全州). King Sejong became a recognized figure because his leadership style aligned with universal principles, which also happen to coincide with our beliefs. I argue that his character and values were also similar to Reverend Moon’s.
King Sejong was born on the tenth day of the fourth month in 1397, by the lunar calendar. He was the grandchild of King Taejo of Joseon who established the Joseon Dynasty (1392–1897), which arose after the fall of Goryeo (918–1392). King Sejong ascended the throne at the age of 21 as the fourth king of Joseon (r. 1418–1450) after his father, King Taejong of Joseon. At the time of his ascension, Joseon was still unstable. It was a new dynasty in dire need of a leader with a strong heart and mind in addition to skill. As history has shown, King Sejong more than lived up to what had been expected of him. He played a major role in stabilizing Joseon and is recognized for his exceptional leadership.
His leadership inspired some of the greatest scientific and cultural advancements of his time, including applying advanced arithmetic to farming and calendar development; producing astronomical charts and 347 books of musical scores; as well as developing the Korean alphabet. All this was achieved during the 32 years of his reign.
If we parallel parts of King Sejong’s era with ours, we realize that we too are striving to establish a new nation: Cheon Il Guk. That is our ultimate goal. Thus, if we draw out some common basic principles, we may be able to discover that we can learn something from history.