Moon Jae-in

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Moon Jae-in
Chairman of the Minjoo Party of Korea
In office
9 February 2015 – 27 January 2016
Preceded by Ahn Cheol-soo, Kim Han-gil
Succeeded by Kim Chong-in (acting)
Member of the National Assembly
In office
30 May 2012 – 29 May 2016
Preceded by Chang Je-won
Succeeded by Chang Je-won
Constituency Sasang (Busan)
Personal details
Born (1953-01-24) 24 January 1953 (age 67)
Geoje, South Korea
Political party Minjoo Party of Korea
Spouse(s) Kim Jeong-suk
Children 1 daughter, 1 son
Alma mater Kyung Hee University (LL.B.)
Religion Roman Catholicism
Signature Moon Jae-in's signature
Military service
Allegiance  South Korea
Service/branch Republic of Korea Army
Years of service 1975-1978
Rank ROK Army Byeongjang.png Byeongjang
Korean name
Hangul 문재인
Revised Romanization Mun Jaein
McCune–Reischauer Mun Chaein

Moon Jae-in (Korean pronunciation: [mundʑɛin]; born January 24, 1953) is a South Korean politician who served as the opposition leader of the Minjoo Party of Korea from 2015 to 2016. He was formerly a lawyer and the former chief of staff to late President Roh Moo-hyun. In the 19th legislative election on 11 April 2012, Moon won a seat in the Sasang District of Busan. On September 16, 2012, Moon received the nomination for the Democratic United Party's candidate for the 2012 presidential election after winning a majority in the party primaries, but lost the election to Park Geun-hye.

Early life and education

Born in Geoje, South Korea, Moon Jae-in was the first son of father Moon Yong-hyung and mother Kang Han-ok among five children. His father was a refugee from South Hamgyeong Province who fled his native city of Hamhung during the Hamhung Retreat. His father settled in Geoje as a laborer for the Geoje POW Camp. His family eventually settled in Busan and Moon attended Kyungnam High School, which is considered among the most prestigious schools outside of Seoul. He enrolled in Kyunghee University where he majored in law. He was arrested and expelled from the university when he organized a student protest against the Yushin Constitution. Later, he was forcibly conscripted to the military and recruited to the Special Forces, where he participated in a military mission during the Axe murder incident. After his discharge, he passed the Bar Exam and was admitted to the Judicial Research and Training Institute. He graduated second in his graduating class and, despite his superb academic record, was not admitted to become a judge due to his organization of protests as a student[1] and chose to become a lawyer instead. He stepped down from the Minjoo Political Party in 2016.


Human Rights Attorney

When he became a lawyer, he partnered and worked with Roh Moo Hyun.[2] They remained friends up until Roh's death in 2009. Along with Roh, he took cases involving human rights and civil rights issues. He was a member of Minbyun and the Chairman of Human Rights at Busan Bar.


He was a founding member of the progressive South Korean newspaper, The Hankyoreh, in 1988.[3]

Roh's Campaign

Due to Roh's insistence, he became Roh's campaign manager during his presidential bid.[4]

Roh's Administration

After Roh's victory, Moon became Roh's chief of staff and close aide.

Roh's Death

When prosecutors began investigating Roh's corruption charges, Moon was the legal counsel to Roh. After Roh committed suicide, Moon was in charge of the funeral and handling his private affairs. His exposure to the public as a poised and trustworthy aide impressed the public and many liberals in Korea found Moon to be an attractive candidate against the conservative Saenuri Party candidate Park Geun-hye.

Entrance to Politics

Despite his earlier indifference to politics, he began to get involved in the politics. He published a memoir called Moon Jae-in: The Destiny which became a bestseller.[5] His popularity has been rising steady against the likely opponent in the presidential race, Park Geun-hye. For instance, in a February 2012 poll, Moon managed to gain parity with Park in popularity.[6]

Moon managed to capitalise on the conservatives' decline in popularity amid a series of corruption scandals: as one pundit said, "Moon had managed to portray himself as a moderate and rational leader who has the backing of the younger generation".[7] In early 2012, Moon entered a bid for a seat at the National Assembly and has been campaigning in western Busan. He ran for the 2012 presidential election and was defeated by Park Geun-hye, the incumbent ruling party’s candidate and daughter of the late president Park Chung-hee.[8]

Leader of Opposition

Moon was elected as the leader of New Politics Alliance for Democracy in February 2, 2015. After former party leader and presidential candidate rival Ahn Cheol-Soo's departure, Moon scouted several politicaly prominent people including former police Pyo Chang-won, political critic Lee Chul-hee and notably former president Park's secretary Cho Ung-chun to preprare for upcoming South Korean legislative election, 2016. After his recruitment, Moon resigned his position for another scouted advisor Kim Chong-in.[9]

Personal life

Moon is married and has one daughter and one son. He is a Roman Catholic.


  • January 2016 - Resigned
  • December 2012- 18th Presidential Election candidate
  • May 2012 - Member of National Assembly for Sasang-gu, Busan
  • August 2007 - Chairperson of the Promotion of the 2nd North-South Korea Summit
  • March 2007 ~ February 2008 - Chief Secretary of the President
  • January 2005 ~ May 2006 - Senior Presidential Secretary for Civil Affairs
  • May 2004 ~ January 2005 - Senior Presidential Secretary for Civil Society
  • 2003 ~ February 2004 - Senior Presidential Secretary for Civil Affairs


  1. "대선주자 인물탐구 민주통합당 문재인". 경남신문. 2012-08-13.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2."Tv report"
  3. Naver Profile on Moon Jae-in
  4. UnMyeong (destiny). Seoul: Moon Jae In. 2011. pp. 196~205. ISBN 978-89-7777-188-8.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Evan Ramstad Wall Street Journal, Moon Jae-in Steps Back Into the Spotlight, July 21, 2011
  6. Presidential poll: Moon Jae-in neck-and-neck with Park Geun-hye Andy Jackson Feb 18, 2012
  7. Moon rises in open South Korea presidential race Reuters
  8. Associated Press (19 December 2012). "Dictator's daughter elected South Korea's first female president". National Post. Retrieved 19 December 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. [1]

External links