Common Knowledge Test Questions for Korean Police 1947

This week, I’m reading through some fascinating issues of the journal of the Korean National Police from 1947-1949 (民主警察). I’m finding its articles to be really useful for my topic and was surprised to see that its pages included contributions by Horace Underwood, Kim Ku, John R. Hodge, as well as leading American military and civilian advisors to the Korean police during the US military occupation in early post-liberation Korea.

There are also some some fun sections that are less directly useful to my dissertation research. Some issues have a section at the back with practice test questions for police officers (the police academy entrance exam or qualifying exam? I didn’t look closely enough to determine what the questions are for).

Here are some of the test questions in the “common knowledge” (常識) section:

Define the following:

貪官污吏 – corrupt officials (UPDATED – see comments)
잔 알 하-지
朝鮮五大島 – the big islands, not the small controversial ones
칼 맑스

Write the Hanja for these words and then define them:

음모 (陰謀) – As in, Communist conspiracy
인류애 (人類愛) – As in, don’t torture your suspects.
전평 (全評 = “全國勞動組合評議會의略稱으로 世界勞聯에加入한左翼勞動團體의一이다”)
훈민정음 (訓民正音)
리(이)순신 (李舜臣)
반탁운동 – The anti-trusteeship movement, protesting US and Soviet trusteeship over Korea active late 1945-1948
배은망덕 (背恩妄德)


  1. Are you sure “貧官污吏” wasn’t “貪官污吏”? (tan1 instead of pin2), because the latter is a set phrase referring to corruption in general.

  2. Doh, you caught it before I got a chance to fix it. The text was very light print and only this afternoon did I see the correct four character compound 貪官污吏 appear elsewhere in a clearer print. Don’t you like my creative newly created compound though (Poor officials are corrupt officials)?

    I’ll update the posting and fix this now.

  3. Yes, your interpretation was quite convincing! I once mistook 晝(zhou4 – daytime) for 畫 (hua4 – draw) for a couple hours reading a pre-war japanese short story.

  4. Nice…I really should be more careful about this – it can wreak havoc on any translation! Thanks for picking up on the problem. Your weblog looks very promising. I have linked it to the Frog-China blog.

  5. What a wonderful entry! Very delighted to have discovered your essay. I don’t have my Allan R. Millett handy, but even in a thick book like that one hasn’t the time to stop and reflect on the cultural resonances of what appears to be an important source you describe here. I am also hoping for more hanja juxtapositions as I work my way through this rather prodigious collective archive of entries.

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