the so-called Chinese character (Hanja in Korean) was
probably invented and developed by Korean ancestors or, at least,
other non-Chinese nomadic people who spoke in Altaic or related
languages, although the populous Chinese also have used it as their
basic writing systems. I believe
the number of population of any ethnic group should not be a factor
that obscures the origin. I explain just one aspect of evidences.
1. Archaeological evidence
Civilizations in China, in the sense of modern political border, were
not initiated and dominated by a single ethnic group. From Neolithic
to Bronze age, when Chinese characters were invented and developed,
nomadic peoples dominated central Asia, southern Siberia, Manchuria
and, probably, current Korean peninsula, whereas agricultural people
lived from Southeast Asia to central China . It is likely that
agricultural people flourished near the area of Yangshao Neolithic
culture, whereas nomadic people in the northeastern and central Asia
dominated areas of Hongshan, Ta wen k'ou and Lungshanoid cultures.
Upper and Lower Hsia-chia-tien in north China also was linked to the
nomadic/hierarchical Lungshanoid and Shang (Yin) cultures to the west.
Sudden climate changes to drier and colder conditions around a
millennium B.C. eventually drove nomadic people to south to Korean
peninsula and Japan and to west to central Asia and even to Europe
. During Zhou, Chin and Han dynasty, Hua people (ancestors of most
of modern Chinese), who had originally lived in Yangshao area,
extended their political territory, while succeeding or interacting
with nomadic cultures, especially Shang . They eventually formed a
uniform, cultural and political unity, so-called Chinese. However, the
term 'Chinese' should not be interpreted as modern border of China
when applied to prehistory civilizations. How could ancient people in
East Asia know that there would be a border defining 'Chinese'? Even,
could any political or cultural border exist during prehistory in
In short, eastern part of the East Asia was dominated by the so-called
'East I', nomadic/Altaic people, whereas western/southern part was
dominated by Hua, agricultural/Chinese-Tibetan people when writing
systems were being developed.
The original pictographs called 'gab-gol' (bone and shell) or
'bok-sa' in Korean were certainly invented during the Yin dynasty (or
Shang state, BC 1600~BC 1046), although it is uncertain who was the
inventor. There is no dispute regarding this matter between Korean and
Chinese historians. There are ample recent evidences that the dominant
people of the Yin dynasty was Korean (Dongyi) or other nomadic people,
which some Chinese historians also agree. Moreover, prototypes of
Hanja (Chinese character) were found to the east of the Shang (Ta wen
k'ou and Lungshan culture), not the west (Yangshao culture) . The
culture of Lungshan was far advanced than Yangshao culture . If
Yangshao can be called Chinese as modern Chinese historians do,
Lungshan should be called Korean or broadly nomadic or Altaic. Why?
Archaeological evidences imply that bronze culture was imported from
Lungshan to the Shang dynasty. With respect to historical records,
Shiji by Sima Qian, which most scholars on east Asian history cherish,
described 'Chiwoo' (chiyou in Chinese) (an Korean emperor recorded in
Handangogi, See footnote 4) as the following:
"He had 81 brothers. They were with beast body, spoke in human
language, had bronze head and iron forehead, and ate sands everyday."
Shiji implies that Chiwoo was from a tribe that used bronze to make
weapons and spoke in different language. Usually, responses to Koreans
described in Chinese history books are bipolar (disparaging while
being scared). The description on Chiwoo is a typical one. But Chinese
historians themselves wrote implications that bronze was introduced
Contrary to the Chinese history book, Korean history books,
collectively called Handangogi' summarize as the following:
I do not deny the influence of Chinese Hanja culture on Koryo and
Chosun. Depending on the period, the direction of cultural transfer
could change. And, Koreans were segregated from Cantonese area and
confined to the Korean peninsula since the 7-th C AD.
During the Shang period, all three types of Hanja (Chinese character)
already had been developed (pictography, logography and lexigraphy).
Moreover, semantic and phonetic determinative were developed in this
period. It will not be surprising that phonetic determinative
continued to be developed in Korea to establish Idoo before 600 A.D.,
finally inventing Hangul in 1446 A.D.
William Boltz (1986) concluded that the Ta wen k'ou graphs (1900 B.C.)
are indeed the predecessors of the Shang pictography (B.C. 1200). He
differed "Origins of civilization in China" from "Origins of Chinese
He noted distinct two kinds of inscription of the Shang dynasty: 1)
oracle bone inscription (OBI), and 2) bronze inscription. Shang OBI
had rough and angular, with a strong dominance of straight lines,
whereas the characters of "bronze inscriptions" are replete with
circles, ovals and curved strokes of a kind nearly impossible to
incise on bone or turtle shell. Shang bronze inscriptions are
generally limited to simple statements of who made the vessel for
whom. The OBI, on the other hand, consist of considerably more
complex, often ritually formulaic, divinatory texts.
Pictographs found in the Shantung province show evolutionary process
of writing system according to Boltz (1986).
(1) Insignia or emblem-type graphs found on pottery fragments from a
neolithic site at Ling yang ho, near Chu hsien, souther part of modern
Shantung province (4300-1900 BC)
(2) Emblem-type character painted on a hu vase found at Pao t'ou
village, Shantung province (Middle Ta wen k'ou period)
(3) Partial insigne found on pottery fragment from Ch'ien chai, north
of Ling yang ho (Late Ta wen k'ou culture)
The feature of the Ta wen k'ou pictographs (1900 B.C.) is matched by
the 'clan name' emblems on Shang bronzes of a few centuries later.
For the latest news on the oldest Chinese character refer to:
Let's summarize the propagation sequence of Hanja system and
technology among the four cultures with respect to Chinese writing
system (Hanja): Ta wen k'ou (4300-1900 BC), Yangshao (West) vs.
Lung-shan (East) (3000-1000BC) and Shang (1700-1027 BC).
<Propagation of Hanja system>
Ta wen k'ou (pictograph) -> Shang dynasty
<Propagation of technology>
Ta wen k'ou (Neolithic) -> Lung-shan (Neolithic + bronze weapon) ->
Shang dynasty (bronze)
Now, it seems certain that Hanja (Chinese writing) did not come from
Yangshao culture, but Hanja might have came from Ta wen k'ou through
Lung-shan (Youngsan). The Lungshan people were far advanced at pottery
than the concurrent Yangshao people. Undoubtedly, the Lungshan was the
predecessor of the Bronze Age (Shang) kingdom.
Few people would deny the fact that "East I" or "East Yi" was the
dominant people of Lung-shan culture. And, Koreans had been called
East Yi, as Yi indeed denotes a 'big bow', which still symbolize why
Koreans are undefeatable champions in Olympic archery. Moreover, it
would not be coincident that the Shang people firstly used a new
composite bow and that the Hanja (Chinese character) denoting Yi is
the shape of the composite bow. A picture of composite bow can be seen
2707 BC-2598 BC Reign of fourteenth Han-ung, Ja-o-ji
During his reign: Begins mass production of steel and bronze weapons
such as swords, spears, armor, helmet, arrow tips, etc. When Yumang
(Yuwang), descendent of Shin-nong, tries to reach the coast by
military means, the Han-ung's army crushes them and occupies their
capital, Gongsang (Kongsang, in present Shandong). Then the native
chieftain Heon-won (Xuanyuan, the Yellow Emperor) issues challenge,
whom the Han-ung defeats is 73 successive battles, and makes him a
vassal. Heonwon is given the title Yellow Emperor (Huangdi) by the
Han-ung, who is also known as Chi-u (Ciyou) 
People who developed Ta wen k'ou and Lungshan culture in Shantung
province were called "East Yi". Koreans had called "East Yi" by
Chinese, and "Yi" means a big arrow, a feature of the Shang dynasty
[See footnote 1].
Based on archaeological evidences from Ta wen k'ou and Shiji's mention
on bronze weapon of a Korean ancestor, it seems certain that Shang
dynasty succeeded Hanja and bronze culture in the East (Shantung
province) where some Korean ancestors resided.
 http://ist-socrates.berkeley.edu/~korea ... ology.html
 Chang, Kwang-chih. 1977. The Archaeology of Ancient China. New
Haven: Yale University Press., 3rd ed.
 Chun Chang Huang, Jiangli Pang & Pinghua Li. 2002. Abruptly
increased climatic aridity and its social impact on the Loess Plateau
of China at 3100 B.P. Journal of Arid Environments 52: 87.99
doi:10.1006/jare.2002.0981, available online at
 William Boltz. 1986. Early Chinese Writing. World Archaeology 17: