History of Jeonju-Meaning and Origin

Origin of the name Jeonju

The old name of Jeonju was Wansan in Baekje Period according to the Chronicles of the Three States but it was called Wonji Nation by the people of Mahan Kingdom. The use of the name, Jeonju started from 16th year of King Gyeongdeok when Shilla unified the Three States in A.D 757. Considering the original meaning of writings written on the headstone in Wansan, Jeonju, 'Wan' and 'Jeon' both refer to the Korean word 'On' which means 'Complete'.
Therefore, the word 'Wan' is originated from 'On' having similar pronunciation at the same time.

Meaning of the name Jeonju

From this point of view, we can find out that the old name for 'Jeonju' and 'Wansan' were 'On' and Dara'. The 'On' means

  • First, complete and flawless.
  • Second, clear and prepared.
  • Third, pure and spotless.
  • Fourth, combining everything together.
and etc.
Especially, the word, On was borrowed from the sound and interpretation of Chinese characters such as Baek, On, Won. If you look at the Story of King Onjo of Baekje in the chronicles of the Three States, Wonsan Castle where consistent resistance was existed when Baekje got Mahan land and On of King Onjo means King On actually.

Furthermore, Baek of Baekje is also a borrowed character from On. Baekje is a written form of On Dara, which is actually the same meaning as 'Wansan' and 'Jeonju'. This statement means "The whole people cross the sea". In conclusion, 'On Dara' has an ideal of flawlessly winning through the wind wave of rough sea and build a country that is well-arranged and has everything.