Moon Jae-in (Hangul/Hanja: 문재인/文在寅; born January 24, 1953) is a South Korean lawyer, an assemblyman of Busan Sasang-gu in the 19th Session of Gukhoe and the former chief of staff to late President Roh Moo-hyun. 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. He is a member of Nampyeong Moon Clan (남평 문씨/南平文氏), originated from Nampyeong-eup, Naju City, Southern Jeolla Province.
Born in Myeongjin-ri, Geoje-myeon, Geoje City, Southern Gyeongsang Province, South Korea, Moon Jae-in was the first son. His father, Moon Yong-hyung was a refugee from North Korea who fled his native city of Hamhung, Southern Hamgyeong Province, DPRK during the Hamhung Retreat. His father settled in Geoje as a laborer for the Geoje POW Camp.
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 and chose to become a lawyer instead.
When he became a lawyer, he partnered and worked with Roh Moo-hyun. 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 was the Chairman of Human Rights at Busan Bar. 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 Park Geun-hye.
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. 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. Moon managed to capitalize 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". 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 dictator Park Chung-hee.
He is a Roman Catholic. His baptismal name is Timotheus. Moon has reported that he has done activities with the YMCA and that his life and political activities have deep relationships with Christianity. He has said, if he becomes president, he will aim for clean and humble government, which are Christian values. And he promised he will support the WEA (World Evangelical Alliance) conference which will be held from 27 to 31 October 2012 in Korea.