[KS] Chinese influence in Korea
ubcdbaker at hotmail.com
Fri Jul 1 13:53:03 EDT 2011
Those are much more complicated questions than they at first appear.
Regarding movement of people from China to Korea, aside from the people of Chinese background who moved to Korea 2,000 or so years ago when the Han dynasty had an outpost on the peninsula (some of the descendants of those Chinese immigrants later moved on to Japan, where they became the Hata, the Aya, etc.), we don't see any signs of distinctive Chinese communities in Korea until the 1880s, when Yuan Shikai had Chinese merchants move to Inch'on. However, we know that there was some immigration from the Mongol empire, though records suggests they were Central Asian Muslims rather than Han Chinese. There also are reports of refugees from the fall of the Ming settling in Korea, but they did not form "Chinatowns." I'm told that there are still some families in Korea that claim descent from those Ming refugees but otherwise they are indistinguishable from the general Korean population. As for other immigrants from Qing China before the 1880s, I haven't heard of any.
The Chinese community in Korea today is relatively new. Most of the descendants of the immigrants of the 1880s left Korea for North America in the 1970s and 1980s. They have been replaced by new immigrants from China in recent years.
As for the civil service exam, during the Tang, Koreans could go to China and take the civil service exam. If they passed, they could then serve in the Chinese civil service. Ch'oe Chi-won is one prominent example of someone who did that. As far as I know, that was the last time Koreans participated in the Chinese civil service exam system (they may have been a few cases during the Mongol empire, but I don't know of any.) Even though the content of the Korean civil service exam during the Choson dynasty was very similar to that of China, I don't know of any Koreans who moved to China, passed the exam there, and became a bureaucrat in the Chinese Confucian bureaucracy under the Ming or the Qing.
As for studying the Confucian Classics after 1910, the Japanese turned the old National Confucian Academy (Songgyun'gwan) into an Institute for the Study of the Classics (Kyŏnghakwŏn). They also allowed some old local village schools (sŏdang) to continue teaching the Confucian Classics as a supplement to, not a substitute for, a modern education. I have met some older Koreans, not much older than me, who say that they studied the Confucian Classics in such schools when they were young. I'm sure there are some specialists in the history of education in Korea who know more about this than I do, however.
Don Baker ProfessorDepartment of Asian Studies University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada V6T 1Z2 don.baker at ubc.ca
From: hkjoseph at law.syr.edu
To: koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws
Date: Fri, 1 Jul 2011 12:58:11 -0400
CC: ya.qin at WAYNE.EDU
Subject: [KS] Chinese influence in Korea
By way of introduction I am a new member to this list. I received a Ph.D. in premodern Chinese history and literature, went to law school, and taught in US. law schools for more than 25 years. My most recent research project
involved the household registration system (hukou zhidu) and the system of ethnic preferences (minzu shibie) in contemporary China. A complete CV can be accessed at law.syr.edu.
In connection with this recent project I read some works on the Qing dynasty and Manchu-Chinese relations. When I was an undergraduate I had been taught that the Manchus "simply" were assimilated and lost their separate ethnic
identity. Recent research disputes that conclusion. How Chinese influence spread throughout Asia but local peoples retained their own languages and distinct customs is a very interesting subject, with important consequences for international order.
1. My first question concerns the presence (or absence) of ethnic Han Chinese communities in Korea. In correspondence with George Kallender, who teaches Korean history at SU, I learned that there was migration from China to
Korea in the early dynasties, but those families became Koreanized and today are only identifiable by their surnames. Then, during the late Qing, a small community of Chinese merchants was established in Incheon. The numbers of overseas Chinese华侨 in modern
Korea is very low. May one conclude that there was essentially no Han Chinese migration to Korea during the Ming and Qing dynasties, even though Korea participated in the Chinese tribute system?
2. My second question concerns the study of the Confucian classics in Korea. Maybe five years ago I found a photograph of a historical re-enactment of the Korean civil service examinations. The "examinees" are dressed in traditional
Korean costume and are sitting cross-legged in a palace courtyard in Seoul. Under the traditional system did people preparing for the exams have to study the same curriculum that was studied in China (Confucius, Mencius, etc.)? Was it possible for Koreans
to take the civil service exam in China? Even after the beginning of the Japanese occupation, would it have been possible for a Korean child to get a solid education in the Confucian classics? Certainly the Confucian classics--indeed all of traditional Chinese
history and literature--were intensely studied in Japan. The Japanese produced monumental works like the Morohashi dictionary and Takikawa's edition of Sima Qian.
Unfortunately I cannot read Korean. I can read Chinese, Japanese, and French.
Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.
Regards,Hilary K. Josephs
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