(pseudonym, Pangye surok). Born in 1622; died in 1673. Korean thinker and representative of the Sirhak movement, a progressive current in social thought that aimed at revising official Confucian ideology, propagating the “real sciences” (sirhak) and bringing about socioeconomic changes.
Yu Hyong-won was born in Seoul of aristocratic parents, but spent almost his entire life in the village of Uban-dong in Chollado Province. A scholar of encyclopedic learning, he was the first in feudal Korea to draw up a program of agrarian, industrial, and commercial reform designed “to eliminate abuses and restore the country to health.” He also advocated civic equality.