A. The Songs of Flying Dragons and Frogs from the Bottom of a Deep Well: The Yangban Society, the Sirhak Literati and the Emergence of Korean National Identity

Bianca Angelien A. Claveria

Abstract


Korea‟s society during the Chosŏn Dynasty (1392-1910) was embroiled in disorder and confusion, and as the dynasty faced the modern world of the nineteenth century, having a solid national identity was their beacon of light—the country‟s key unifying force. In order to appreciate how such national identity emerged, this paper seeks to review the respective influences of the yangban society, the Sirhak literati, and the enlightenment movements of Chosŏn Korea, to the identity and modernization of the country. From the rise to power by Yi Sŏng-gye, to the continued influence of the yangban society, and to the emergence of the Sirhak literati and enlightenment movements, each of these are crucial pillars of the Chŏson dynasty legacy. It is significant to consider that though each had distinct initiatives in forming Chŏson's society, their influence in building and molding the Korean national identity strengthened and prepared its people in facing the uncertainties brought by the modern world—as one nation

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