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Choson Korea (text) - Choson Korea Koreas Choson...

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Choson Korea Korea’s Choson dynasty (1392-1910): established same century as China’s Ming By 1392, had a long tradition of political independence and cultural borrowing 7 th century, repelled attempts by China’s Sui and Tang dynasties to assert control 688 C.E., under Kingdom of Silla, Korea maintained an autonomous state Developed its own language, literature, art, social structure, economy, food, work patterns, folk religion Studied Chinese models – government institutions, Confucian philosophy, Chinese written language, lunar calendar, herbal medicine, and Ming clothing styles “Small Tradition”: local tradition; “Great Tradition”: imported tradition The Choson Dynasty: Foundations Koryo Kingdom: medieval kingdom that had been subjected to Mongol domination and suffered internal corruption Concentrations of power and property in a few aristocratic families – paid no taxes on their vast estates ( nongjang ) & tendency to own slaves reduced number of taxpayers 14 th cen., faction of Confucian-educated officials in Koryo capital called for reform Thief rise coincided with rise of the Ming and fall of Mongols in China 1392, overthrew the Koryo ruling house & established the new state of Choson King T’aejo (1335-1408): founder of Choson, who moved royal capital to Hanyang (moden Seoul) to symbolize a new beginning & built a new Chinese-style royal palace to symbolize his positing as a king ( wang ). Sent tribute enjoys to the Ming emperor – cut ties with China’s enemies (Mongols) – in return for “investiture” (recognition essential for king’s status), gifts, military support in case of foreign attack, permission for tributary trade Efforts to institutionalize Confucian ethics in new regime: Adopted Ming criminal code & council structure for decision making in the royal court
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Boys were tutored and subjected to Chinese-style “royal lectures” ( kyongyon ) Government set up a censorate to review the actions of officials & inspectorate to uncover corruption and report evildoers to the authorities of the capital Kings assisted by officials organized by rank in six Chinese-style ministries (Personnel, Revenue, Rites, Military, Justice, and Public Works) Officialdom – civil & military branches (civil exceeded the military in prestige) Families invested to prepare their sons for examinations necessary for bureaucratic appointment – moral lessons of Confucian classics, refined style in classical Chinese (written language for Korean documents) Saegwon/chinsa degrees (passed mid-level literary exams) munkwa (capital exams) mastery of history, philosophy, ethics ready to govern Most munkwa exam passers were members of Choson’s leading families The Enlightened Reign of King Sejong (r. 1418-1450) Promoted Neo-Confucianism as regime’s official ideology (distastes Buddhist influence on Koryo’s court) – stressed “encouragement of learning” King Sejong: 4 th Choson monarch, sponsored “Hall of Worthies” ( Chiphyonjon ) for
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