By James B. Palais
Seventeenth-century Korea used to be a rustic in crisis―successive invasions by way of Hideyoshi and the Manchus had rocked the Chosòn dynasty (1392-1910), which already was once weakened by means of maladministration, internecine bureaucratic factionalism, unfair taxation, focus of wealth, army difficulties, and different ills. Yu Hyòngwòn (1622–1673, pen identify, Pan’gye), a recluse student, replied to this time of chaos and uncertainty by way of writing his modestly titled Pan’gye surok (The Jottings of Pan’gye), a digital encyclopedia of Confucian statecraft, designed to aid his plan for a revived and reformed Korean method of government.
Although Yu was once missed in his personal time by way of all yet a number of admirers and disciples, his rules turned sought after by means of the mid-eighteenth century as discussions have been underway to unravel difficulties in taxation, army carrier, and advertisement task. Yu has been seen by way of Korean and jap students as a forerunner of modernization, yet in Confucian Statecraft and Korean Institutions James B. Palais demanding situations this view, demonstrating that Yu was once as a substitute a superb instance of the premodern tradition.
Palais makes use of Yu Hyòngwòn’s big, pivotal textual content to ascertain the advance and form of the main associations of Chosòn dynasty Korea. He has incorporated an intensive therapy of the various chinese language classical and old texts that Yu used in addition to the on hand Korean basic assets and Korean and jap secondary scholarship. Palais strains the background of every of Yu’s topics from the start of the dynasty and pursues advancements in the course of the eighteenth and 19th centuries. He stresses either the classical and ancient roots of Yu’s reform principles and analyzes the character and measure of proto-capitalistic alterations, akin to using steel foreign money, the creation of salary exertions into the agrarian economic climate, the improvement of unregulated advertisement task, and the looks of industries with extra differentiation of labor.
Because it includes a lot comparative fabric, Confucian Statecraft and Korean Institutions could be of curiosity to students of China and Japan, in addition to to Korea experts. It additionally has a lot to claim to students of agrarian society, slavery, landholding platforms, paperwork, and constructing economies.
Winner of the loo Whitney corridor publication Prize, backed via the organization for Asian experiences
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Extra info for Confucian Statecraft and Korean Institutions: Yu Hyongwon and the Late Choson Dynasty
Imports, which were primarily lUXUry items, exceeded the mainly staple exports. Trade consisted of official gifts from Japan and private trade at the three treaty ports under strict supervision by local officials, three times a month at the Japan House (Waegwan) until 1610, when it was increased to six times a month. Yu Wondong has argued that the structure of foreign trade also limited the possibility for expanding that trade and stimulating the domestic economy. That structure was based on a pattern of exports of necessities under coercion from the suzerain Ming and Ch'ing emperors, and the limitation of imports to luxuries sought by the Korean ruling class, rather than a full array of consumer items for the general populace.
Even the largest towns like Kyongju, Sangju, Andong, and Chinju only had one or two blacksmiths or metallurgists. The yamen of provincial governors and military commanders had the most artisans, about a dozen each. 6 Most local industry at the beginning of the dynasty was in textiles - hemp, ramie, and cotton. 7 Cotton textile production began in the mid-I 290S in China, and cotton seeds were first brought to Korea around 1364, but cotton cloth did not become a major source of clothing until the 1460s.
For that matter, the Neo-Confucian supporters of the new dynasty did not agree on all aspects of reform for two reasons because fundamentalists thought that the new dynasty should come as close as possible to the recreation of the vaunted institutions of the ancient Chou dynasty of China, while others believed that compromises had to be struck het ween ancient ideals and contemporary Korean reality. Nonetheless, virtually all hoped to effect a total moral, religious, and cultural conversion of the Korean people from the evils, comlptions, and harharities of late Koryo dynasty Iife to the refined, glorious, ordered, and ethically superior heights of a society inspired by a NeoConfucian vision.