{[ promptMessage ]}

Bookmark it

{[ promptMessage ]}

Sources_vol_2_pp_277-288

Sources_vol_2_pp_277-288 - Sources of Korean Tradition...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–8. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Background image of page 2
Background image of page 3

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Background image of page 4
Background image of page 5

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Background image of page 6
Background image of page 7

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Background image of page 8
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Unformatted text preview: Sources of Korean Tradition Introduction to Asian Civilizations WM. THEODORE DE BARY, GENERAL EDITOR VOLUME II: FROM THE SIXTEENTH TO THE TWENTIETH CENTURIES Sources 'ofIapanese Tradition (1958; 2nd ed., 2001) Edited by Yong—ho Ch’oe, Peter H. Lee, and Wm. Theodore de Bary Sources of Indian Tradition (1958; 2nd ed., 1988) ' WITH THE COLLABORATION OF Sources of Chinese Tradition “ Donald Baker, JaHyun Kim Haboush, and Han-Kyo Kim (1960; issued in 2 vols., 1964; vol. 1, 2nd ed., 1999; vol. 2, 2nd ed., 2000) E and contributions by Martina Deuchler, John Duncan, Michael Kalton, Fujiya Kawashima, Yong Choon Kim, James B. Palais, Mark Peterson, and Mark Setton Sources of Korean Tradition (v01. 1, 1997; vol. 2, 2001) m COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY PRESS NEW YORK 276 THE MODERN PERIOD erently trusting in the merits bequeathed by our ancestors, will bring these to a successful issue, nor will we dare to go back on our word. Do you, bright spirits, descend and behold! 1. All thoughts of dependence on China shall be cut away, and a firm foundation for independence shall be secured. 2. [A code of the royal household shall be enacted to clarify the line of succession and the distinction between the royal family and those related to the royal family by marriage] 3. The king shall attend at the Great Hall for the inspection of affairs, where, after personally interrogating his ministers, he shall decide upon matters of state. [The queen, other royal consorts and concubines, mem- bers of the royal family, and the in-laws of the king are not allowed to interfere] 4. Palace matters and the government of the country must be kept separate and may not be mixed together. 5. The duties and powers of the cabinet and of the various ministers shall be clearly defined. 6. The payment of taxes by the people shall be regulated by law. Wrongful additions may not be made to the list, and no excess may be collected. 7. The assessment and collection of the land tax and the disbursements of expenditures shall be under the charge and control of the Finance De- partment. 8. The expenses of the royal household shall be the first to be reduced, by way of setting an example to the various ministries and local officials. 9. Each year an estimate of the expenditures of the royal household and the various official establishments shall be drawn up in advance, putting on a firm foundation the management of revenues. 10. The system of local governments shall be speedily reformed, and the powers of the local officials shall be restricted. 11. Young men of intelligence shall be sent abroad to study foreign science and industries. ' 12. [Instruction of military officers and the recruitment of soldiers shall be regularized in order to secure the foundation of the military system.] 13. Civil law and criminal law must be strictly and clearly laid down. [None must be imprisoned or punished'willfully] so that security of life and property may be ensured for all alike. 14. Men shall be employed without regard to their origin, and in seeking for officials recourse shall be had to capital and country alike in order to widen the avenues for men of ability to find employment. ' HKK Chapter 31 THE INDEPENDENCE CLUB AND THE PEOPLE’S ASSEMBLY The murder of Queen Min was an act of desperation on the part Japanese officials in Korea, but it merely worsened Japan’s deteriorating position on the peninsula. In February 1896 King Kojong, fearing for his own safety, made a dramatic escape from the palace, which was guarded by pro—[apanese troops, and sought refuge in the Russian legation in Seoul. ‘He then qu1ckly dismissed the pro—Japanese cabinet ministers — two of whom, including the moderate re- formist Kim Hongjip, were killed by an enraged street crowd — and installed a new cabinet with a pro-Russian and pro-Western orientation. Meanwhile, the sovereign reigned from the Russian diplomatic compound. I L. 1 Amidst the bewildering changes in the government, a retresiiingiy movement for patriotic enlightenment began to grow under the leadership of So Chaep’il (1866—1951), a youthful participant in the 1884 coup who had made his way to the United States, where he had obtained a medical degree as well as American citizenship. 86 returned to Korea on invitation from the pro-apanese reform cabinet but declined to join the government. Known to the foreign community in Seoul by his anglicized name, Philip [aisohn, Sc resolved to devote his energy to arousing the public in the interest of patriotic and modern reforms. To that end, he undertook three projects: a newspaper, phySi- cal monuments to Korea’s independenCe, and a patriotic organization to pro- mote a wide range of reforms. 278 THE MODERN PERIOD THE INDEPENDENT AND THE INDEPENDENCE CLUB On 7 April 1896 the first issue of the Tongnip sinmun (The Independent) came off the press. Although it was started with a substantial subsidy from the gov— ernment, the paper was 85’s own creation. In its inaugural issue, the paper declared its nonpartisan stance and its role as a communication link between the government and the people. In a dramatic departure from the tradition of total reliance on the classical Chinese language in formal and scholarly writ- ings, The Independent used the Korean script, hangfll, exclusively and also included a page written in English for foreign readers.l Chu Sigyong (1876— 1914), a noted pioneer in the study of hangfil, advocated the use of the simpler Korean writing system in order to devote more time to the study of useful sub1ects other than the Chinese graphs. Published every other day, The Independent showed great concern for public enlightenment during its first few months of publication:2 After the establish- ment of the Independence Club (Tongnz'p Hyophoe) in early July 1896, however The Independent became the club’s organ, and its editorial line became much more politicized and critical of government policies. Sr") was the first editor of The Independent. After so departed from Korea in May 1898 under pressure from his political foes, Yun Ch’iho (1865—1945), an American-educated former high official and president of the Independence Club, became the editor. Following the forced dissolution of the club in De- cember 1898, Yun was appointed prefect of a remote region in the northeast and the editorship passed, successively, to H. G. Appenzeller, an American misswnary, and H. Emberly, an Englishman. Although the paper’s editorial line became much more subdued, the archconservative government bought it out and ceased publication on 4 December 1899. At its inception, the Independence Club was under the strong influence of sea and consisted primarily of high government officials who had varying de— grees of familiarity with Western Civilization and were in sympathy with S6’s proposals for modern changes. As its name signified, the club's initial and pri- mary purpose was to consolidate Korea’s independence from outside forces: China, Japan, and eventually Russia as well. A gate in the western part of Seoul where envoys from China had been officially welcomed was replaced by a new gate of independence — designed by $6 and modeled on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris; it was constructed using funds collected from private donations. A hall 1: Beginning 1 January 1897, the English page was issued as a separate four—page newspaper bearing the title The Independent. 2.. On 1 July 1898, the Korean Independent began publishing every day. The Independence Club and the People’s Assembly 279 Where Chinese visitors had been entertained was now renamed Independence Hall and became a meeting place where the club’s members and interested observers could engage in public debate over the issues of the day. The continued sojourn of King Kojong in the Russian legation was one of these early political issues. The Independence Club spoke out against the hu- miliating spectacle of the sovereign residing in a foreign diplomatic compound in his own capital. The club was also much disturbed by a spate of concessions in mining, timber, fishing, railroad construction, and naval coaling stations granted to foreigners — especially the Russians, who had replaced the Japanese as the most Visible source of external influence in Korea. The Independent issued repeated warnings against these concessions. Paradoxically the protest led to more insistent Russian demands on the one hand and, on the other, to the resignation from the Independence Club of pro-Russian officials in the govern- ment, who were replaced by more radical nationalists. Neither the king’s return to Kyongun Palace immediately adjacent to the Russian legation in February 1897 nor the change in the official name of the nation from the Kingdom of Chosen to the Great Han Empire (Taehan Che- guk) accompanied by Kojong’s assumption of the title “Emperor”——a status equal to that of his Chinese and Japanese counterparts éallayed the growing tension between the Independence Club and the government. 35’s increasingly acerbic behavior invited his de facto expulsion in May 1898, but that did not dampen the club members’ enthusiasm for reform. On the contrary, under its new leader, Yun Ch'iho, the club sponsored mass rallies sharply criticizing the various forms of Russian encroachment upon Korea (a lease of an island near ‘ Pusan, for example) and its interference in Korea's internal administration (Rus— sian advisers for financial and military affairs, for example). Using the traditional format of a petition to the throne, the club demanded the expulsion of foreign influence and reaffirmation of Korea’s independence. ' INAUGURAL MESSAGE OF THE INDEPENDENT [From The Independent, 7 April 1896] As we publish the first issue of The Independent today, we shall declare to everyone in Korea, foreigners and natives alike, what we believe. We are impartial and nonpartisan and recognize no distinction between upper and lower classes; everyone shall be treated equally as a Korean. We shall speak only to benefit Korea, and we shall be fair. We shall speak not only for the people in Seoul but for everyone throughout the country on every subject. We shall communicate to the people what the government does and convey ( 280 THE MODERN PERIOD the conditions of the people to the government, thereby benefiting both sides who need not feel uncomfortable or suspicious. Slnce we are not publishing the paper for the sake of profit, the price of a copy 1s'low. We write in the vernacular (hangfil) to enable men and women of all Socral classes to read; we also insert spaces between the words to make reading easier.3 'We shall be truthful: we shall report on those government officials who may m1sconduct themselves; we shall let the whole nation know about any corrupt and self-enriching officials; and we shall investigate and publicize any private persons who may Violate the law. We are for His Majesty, the government of Korea, and the Korean people; there shall not be any partisan discourse nor words to benefit only one side printed in our paper. We have a page written in English because foreigners are not well informed on the Korean Situation and, therefore, are liable to be misguided in their thoughts by relying solely on biased words. In order to give them correct infor- matlon we shall prepare a section in English. It will become evident, then, that this newspaper exists only for the interests of Korea. Foreigners and Koreans, men andWOmen, people of diverse social classes. and stations, all will become informed about Korea. We will also report from time to time on the situations in foreign lands so that those Koreans who cannot travel to foreign countries may learn about them. As today is our first day of publication, we have outlined where we stand. We belleve that by reading our paper the opinions and wisdom of the Korean people will be improved. HKK CHU SIGYCNC! ESSAY ON THE KOREAN LANGUAGE [From The Independent, 24 April 1897] It the people of our country continue to study only the Chinese classics and neglect new subjects, our nation will remain ignorant and weak, and before long, the land we have inherited from our forefathers, our homes ourlbodies and those of our descendants will be owned by foreigners. This is shocking and deplorable. How can we afford not to be on our guard? If we should replace our study of Chinese graphs with a study of such useful sub1ects as parliament, domestic and foreign affairs, finance, law, the army and 3. mary PrflCth at trm S I lhe (Ellsto e the e wa to wnte several W()1'( S togetlle WllllO'Lll spaces The Independence Club and the People’s Assembly 281 navy, navigation, hygiene, economics, craftsmanship, commerce, agriculture, and other pursuits, within ten or more years everyone would become proficient in at least one of these practical occupations. Afterward, the people would work diligently, each at his own station, and become wealthy. The level of learning would then be advanced, and our nation would become civilized, rich, and strong. I sincerely pray that all our brethren will realize this and move quickly into practical lines of work. One hour at this time in our country is as valuable as one whole day in another country. Let no one waste precious time learning yet another Chinese graph. The Korean letters that were developed by our great scholars for our use are easy to learn and write, and they should be used in recording everything. Everyone in his youth should take the time to study for practical employment and, by doing his work, should become the foundation, and the pillar, for our national independence. . . . Our nation’s dignified status, based on wealth and strength, and its honor, based on its high level of civilization, shall then be recognized throughout the world. HKK ESSAY ON WORKING ONLY FOR KOREA [From The Independent, 25 May 1897] If Korea were to cause Russia and Japan to go to war against each other, we Koreans would be caught in the middle and would perish regardless of who won the war. We mention Koreans causing discontent between the Japanese and the Russians because, to cite an example, our government leaders relied = on Japan’s protection at the time of the Kabo Reforms [1894], discriminated against other nations, and allowed the Japanese to gain too much, thereby alienating other foreigners. It is for this reason that Russia reversed the situation and the pro—Japanese govern- u“ (D at the next opportunity, and Japanese infiuene merit were overthrown. Lately, it is said that there are those who take the side of Russia; they are no better than those who took Japan’s side. When a person is born Korean and works for the government of Korea, it is only natural that he should favor Korea and maintain close relations with the Koreans. If he should instead favor the Russians, the Japanese, or any other foreigners, turning his back on his own people, the discriminated nations would seek an opportunity to overthrow the Korean government. When there are frequent changes in the government, it is the people of Korea who suffer. If Korean officials favor Korea and protect their own people, however, there is no cause for any foreign nation to feel resentment, and Korea will grow in strength. 282 THE MODERN PERIOD The kin and the co le ‘ ' Will Proier togetfinsr infill-l be treated With respect throughout the world and This 18 an easy course to follow, yet a twisted path has been selected instead There are several parties: a party that puts its faith in Japan, a party that trusts Russra, an American party, a British party, and so on. We have not yet heard of a Korean party. We advise those who wish to work for Korea to be impartial fair, and friendly to all foreign nations alike so that no jealousy will develo ’ among them. Only the Korean people should receive special favor so that thep Wlll work together to defend and aid the nation. Should there be a rebelliony the people of the entire nation will join in defeating the rebels. When there is no longer any foreign party, everyone will belong to a Korean party and more will be accomplished to strengthen the nation. Whoever loves himself his fam— ily, and his people and is loyal to His Majesty should discard any notion of relyingnon foreigners. The Korean people may be uneducated foolish and unciv111zed, but they can be taught, directed, and trusted in preserviny the natlon. Although foreign institutions and teachings must be actively stuiied we should think only of Korea. A little knowledge of a foreign tongue and customs should not lead one to depend on the foreign nation for the work that needs to be done in Korea. Such reliance would surely result in a disaster eve time and cause injury to oneself and the nation. ry HKK I ESSAY AGAINST WAR [From The Independent, 10 August 1897] Korea is in a. perilous situation. If it should favor a certain nation, if it should grant more rlghts to a certain nation, if it should rely on a certain nation the other nations will become jealous, and there will be war between the favored natlon and the yealous nations. Regardless of who won the war, Korea would be extinguished. The best policy for Korea, therefore, is to prevent a war over Korea. To that end, all nations of the world should be treated imnartim" "" friends, without sentiments of love or hatred and without distinction 1Nokfgfeii an, nation should be allowed to snatch even a small portion of our own rights- E0 effort .should be spared in improving our own circumstances by devotingTull attention to our own work. There shall then be nothing to worry about. HKK DEMAND FOR DEMOCRATIC REFORM The crescendo of mass nationalism inspired by the Independence Club had a moment of triumph in mid—1898 when Russian advisers had to be withdrawn The Independence Club and the People’s Assembly 283 and Russia had to accede to Japan’s demand that both of them should refrain from intervention in Korea’s internal affairs (the so-called Nishi-Rosen Agree- ment). Moreover, the pro-Russian faction was forced out of the Korean govern- ment, at least for the time being. Encouraged by these developments on the diplomatic and domestic fronts, the Independence Club held mass public meetings in downtown Seoul for six consecutive days, from 28 October to 2 November 1898, and high government officials as well as commoners came to hear speeches demanding further reform measures. A six—point petition calling for an end to capricious government behavior in various areas was adopted. Implicit in the club’s reform agenda was the revolutionary assertion of the peo- ple’s right to participate in the nation’s political life. Writing from Washington, D.C., shortly after his return from Korea, sa Chaep'il made an earnest plea to his Korean colleagues that the people, not the officials, be the masters of their nation. They were in fact demanding a democratic reform in government. The government’s response was surprisingly conciliatory, at least for a short period in early November. The Privy Council, an advisory body first created in 1895, was to be restructured as a semi-elected assembly, the elected members being chosen for the time being by the Independence Club. On the day the new council was to convene, however, the government suddenly reversed its policy and ordered the club to disband. Violent clashes resulted when the club’s supporters staged street demonstrations in protest, but they were to no avail. By the end of the year, the club’s leadership was dissolved, leaving many activists, including the young Syngman Rhee (Yi Si‘ingman, 1875—1965), the future pres— ident of the Republic of Korea, in prison. Thus ended Korea’s first mass organized movement for modern reforms. It was a movement for national independence and democratic innovations in politics. It was also for egalitarian social changes and a more enlightened way of life. Another dimension of its intellectual concerns was evident in the use of hangrjl in The Independent, which printed an article advocating the use of ...
View Full Document

{[ snackBarMessage ]}