Confucian Statecraft and Korean Institutions: Yu Hyongwon and the Late Choson Dynasty

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University of Washington Press, 1996 - History - 1279 pages
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Seventeenth-century Korea was a country in crisis—successive invasions by Hideyoshi and the Manchus had rocked the Choson dynasty (1392-1910), which already was weakened by maladministration, internecine bureaucratic factionalism, unfair taxation, concentration of wealth, military problems, and other ills. Yu Hyongwon (1622–1673, pen name, Pan’gye), a recluse scholar, responded to this time of chaos and uncertainty by writing his modestly titled Pan’gye surok (The Jottings of Pan’gye), a virtual encyclopedia of Confucian statecraft, designed to support his plan for a revived and reformed Korean system of government. Although Yu was ignored in his own time by all but a few admirers and disciples, his ideas became prominent by the mid-eighteenth century as discussions were underway to solve problems in taxation, military service, and commercial activity. Yu has been viewed by Korean and Japanese scholars as a forerunner of modernization, but in Confucian Statecraft and Korean Institutions James B. Palais challenges this view, demonstrating that Yu was instead an outstanding example of the premodern tradition. Palais uses Yu Hyongwon’s mammoth, pivotal text to examine the development and shape of the major institutions of Choson dynasty Korea. He has included a thorough treatment of the many Chinese classical and historical texts that Yu used as well as the available Korean primary sources and Korean and Japanese secondary scholarship. Palais traces the history of each of Yu’s subjects from the beginning of the dynasty and pursues developments through the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. He stresses both the classical and historical roots of Yu’s reform ideas and analyzes the nature and degree of proto-capitalistic changes, such as the use of metallic currency, the introduction of wage labor into the agrarian economy, the development of unregulated commercial activity, and the appearance of industries with more differentiation of labor.
 

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Contents

Confucian Statecraft in the Founding of ChosSn
25
The Disintegration of the Early Choson System to 1592
61
PostImjin Developments in Military Defense and the Economy
92
YANGBAN AND SLAVES
115
Remolding the Ruling Class through Education and Schools 722
122
Conservative Restraints on Radicalism 770
170
The Slow Path to Abolition
208
Conclusion
271
The Community Compact System Hyangyak
705
Yu Hyongwons Community Compact Regulations
735
Conclusion
762
FINANCIAL REFORM AND THE ECONOMY
769
Tribute and the Taedong Reform
777
The Taedong Model for Official Salaries and Expenses
815
Copper Cash and the Monetary System
855
Yu Hyongwons Analysis of Currency
877

MILITARY REFORM
391
The Debate over the Military Training Agency 165182
442
The Search for Alternative Modes of Military Finance
469
Military Reorganization Weapons and Walls
501
The Military Service System 16821870
537
Conclusion
569
REFORM OF GOVERNMENT ORGANIZATION
579
Reforming the Central Bureaucracy
612
Personnel Policy
646
Provincial and Local Administration
673
A Cycle of Inflation and Deflation
924
Cash and Economic Change after 1731
964
Conclusion
999
Notes 020
1020
Glossary 7753
1153
List of Kings of the Choson Dynasty 7793
1195
Bibliography 7204
1204
Index 7231
1231
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About the author (1996)

James B. Palais was professor of history at the University of Washington and the author of Policy and Politics in Traditional Korea.‰█¤Marks a watershed in East Asian studies on Confucian statecraft and Korean studies on the Choson dynasty (1392-1910) in particular.... Will remain for decades to come a cornerstone of Korean Studies and required reading for specialists and students alike who are interested in Confucian statecraft and institutions in East Asia.‰█? ‰█ĎJournal of Asian Studies

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