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Confucian influence to Korean society - Essay Example

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The beginning of Confucian notion as part of the cultural exchange from China is one of the most significant influences in Korean intellectual history. Thus the ideology that undergirded Korea's relations with Ming China was Neo-Confucianism, which arose in Sung China during the eleventh and twelfth centuries…
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Confucian influence to Korean society

Download file to see previous pages... They were indebted also to Taoism for such elements as Tao, T'a-chi, and wu. Supported by an ontology and a cosmogony that drew on the rival systems of thought, the new Confucianism reconfirmed traditional Confucian emphasis on human beings, society, and the world as an interrelated whole. Having become the governors of China, except Southern Sung, the Mongols proclaimed the Yan dynasty in 1271. Thus it was that Neo-Confucianism became the established teaching in Mongol China during the thirteenth century. The Mongols did not limit their conquests to North China but continued to advance upon Korea. In 1270 the Kory dynasty (918-1392) capitulated to the Mongols. Thenceforth, steady stream of Korean scholars who visited Beijing, the hub of the Yan Empire and of civilized life, contacted Neo-Confucianism. The Neo-Confucianism thus introduced to Korea contained refreshingly new teachings concerning human beings and society. The early development of Confucianism in Korea remains obscure. We know, however, that Korean literati had met the Confucian classics as early as the period between the third and fourth centuries, when they adopted writing. Yet until the middle of the thirteenth century, Confucianism was no match for Buddhism, Taoism, and popular shamanistic beliefs. Thus the inheritance of Confucianism remains an essential part of Korean society, shaping the ethical system, the lifestyle, social relations between old and young, high culture, as well as is the foundation for much of the lawful system. Confucianism in Korea is sometimes measured a realistic way of holding a nation together without the civil wars and internal rebel that was innate from the Goryeo dynasty, and before. 1
Confucian Influence to Korean Society
Many observers of the Korean scene have commented on the persistence of Confucian attitudes in the Republic of Korea. Indeed, it has become something of a convention to attribute salient features of contemporary Korean society such as the rapid industrial development of recent decades to the enduring values of Confucianism.
These observers typically cite as an example the Korean zeal for education. To be sure, in premodern Korea mastery of the Confucian classics constituted, at least for the sons of yangban families, the path to prestige and power and in twentieth-century Korea college education has been widely regarded as the avenue to success. The Confucian heritage is undoubtedly a main contributor to the modern Korean enthusiasm for education, but we must keep in mind that the importance attached to education is one area where the traditions of Confucianism and the needs of a modernizing society coincide. It was not only natural but perhaps even inevitable that Koreans would transfer their traditional respect for learning to the task of mastering new technologies from the West.
The continuing respect for education notwithstanding, we must not forget that many traditional Korean Confucian ideas and attitudes that do not suit the needs of modernization have been overwhelmingly rejected by modern Koreans, including such concepts as monarchical government, subservience to China, anticommercialism, and antiChristianity. The personal virtues of sincerity sngi, humility ( kymson ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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