Looking East: Rubens’s Encounter with Asia

From the publisher’s website: Peter Paul Rubens’s fascinating depiction of a man wearing Korean costume of around 1617, in the collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum, has been considered noteworthy since it was made. Published to accompany an exhibition of Rubens’s Man in Korean Costume at the J. Paul Getty Museum from March 5 to June […]

Toegye and Gobong Write Letters

From the publisher’s website: Toegye and Gobong Write Letters is a unique look into the lives of two prominent Confucius scholars. This special edition of their letters highlights their personal struggles as civil servants and scholars. Set in the backdrop of the Four Seven debate, the greatest philosophical debate in Korean neo-Confucianism, these poignant letters have […]

The Four-Seven Debate: An Annotated Translation of the Most Famous Controversy in Korean Neo-Confucian Thought

From the publisher’s website: This book is an annotated translation, with introduction and commentary, of the correspondence between Yi Hwang (T’oegye, 1500-1570) and Ki Taesung (Kobong, 1527-1572) and between Yi I (Yulgok, 1536-1584) and Song Hon (Ugye, 1535-1598), known as the Four-Seven Debate, the most famous philosophical controversy in Korean Neo-Confucian thought. The most complex […]

Korean Confucianism: The Philosophy and Politics of Toegye and Yulgok

From the publisher’s website: This book explores Neo-Confucianism and its relationship to politics by examining the life and work of the two iconic figures of the Joseon dynasty Yi Hwang (1501-1570, Toegye) and Yi I (1536-1584, Yulgok). Neo-Confucianism became state orthodoxy in 1392, and remained in place for over five centuries until the end of […]

Turning toward Edification: Foreigners in Chosŏn Korea

From the publisher’s website: Turning toward Edification discusses foreigners in Korea from before the founding of Chosŏn in 1392 until the mid-nineteenth century. Although it has been common to describe Chosŏn Korea as a monocultural and homogeneous state, Adam Bohnet reveals the considerable presence of foreigners and people of foreign ancestry in Chosŏn Korea as well […]

A Genealogy of Dissent: The Progeny of Fallen Royals in Chosŏn Korea

From the publisher’s website: In early modern Korea, the Chosŏn state conducted an extermination campaign against the Kaesŏng Wang, descendants of the preceding Koryŏ dynasty. It was so thorough that most of today’s descendants are related to a single survivor. Before long, however, the Chosŏn dynasty sought to bolster its legitimacy as the successor of […]

A Family of No Prominence: The Descendants of Pak Tŏkhwa and the Birth of Modern Korea

From the publisher’s website: Koreans are known for their keen interest in genealogy and inherited ancestral status. Yet today’s ordinary Korean would be hard pressed to explain the whereabouts of ancestors before the twentieth century. With A Family of No Prominence, Eugene Y. Park gives us a remarkable account of a nonelite family, that of Pak […]

China, Korea and Japan at War, 1592–1598: Eyewitness Accounts

From the publisher’s website: The East Asian War of 1592 to 1598 was the only extended war before modern times to involve Japan, Korea, and China. It devastated huge swathes of Korea and led to large population movements across borders. This book draws on surviving letters and diaries to recount the personal experiences of five […]

Korean Adoption and Inheritance: Case Studies in the Creation of a Classic Confucian Society

From the publisher’s website: The cases in Korean adoption and inheritance reveal steps in the transition called “Confucianization” that took place mostly in the seventeenth century. The transition from partible inheritance, equally divided between sons and daughters, to primogeniture; the attempt to use soja as heirs; the movement toward agnatic adoption as the way to […]

Naming the Local: Medicine, Language, and Identity in Korea since the Fifteenth Century

From the publisher’s website: Naming the Local uncovers how Koreans domesticated foreign medical novelties on their own terms, while simultaneously modifying the Korea-specific expressions of illness and wellness to make them accessible to the wider network of scholars and audiences. Due to Korea’s geopolitical position and the intrinsic tension of medicine’s efforts to balance the local […]

Between Dreams and Reality: The Military Examination in Late Chosŏn Korea, 1600-1894

From the publisher’s website: From the mid-seventeenth to the mid-nineteenth century, millions of Korean men from all walks of life trained in the arts of war to prepare not for actual combat but to sit for the state military examination (mukwa). Despite this widespread interest, only for a small minority did passing the test lead […]

A Korean Scholar’s Rude Awakening in Qing China: Pak Chega’s Discourse on Northern Learning

From the publisher’s website: Two years after Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations was published in 1776, Pak Chega’s (1750–1805) Discourse on Northern Learning appeared on the opposite corner of the globe. Both books presented notions of wealth and the economy for critical review: the former caused a stir across Europe, the latter influenced only a modest group of Chosŏn […]

The Founding of Catholic Tradition in Korea

From the publisher’s website: Catholicism in Korea has a history of two hundred years. The role it has played in Korea is unique in that many of its initiatives have come from the laity, rather than the clergy or the church administration. After a prolonged period of cultural conflict, the number of Catholics has grown […]

Ch’oui Uisun: The Liberal Son Master and Engaged Artist in Late Choson Korea

From the publisher’s website: Scholars of Choson Korea tend to view Buddhism negatively, or at best ignore it, and at present there is a lack of research on this crucial topic. Through appreciation of the life and thought of Ch’oui Uisun (1786-1866), this study is an attempt to recover and supplement the intellectual history of […]

Neo-Confucianism in Korea

From the publisher’s website: Chinese and Japanese Neo-Confucius scholars have traditionally claimed that Korean Neo-Confucianism was an imitation of Chinese Neo-Confucianism, a belief which was generally accepted by Western scholars. Now, this book edited from the theses of representative Korean Neo-Confucius scholars, shows that the three Korean scholars, T’aegye, Yulgok and Dasan in the Chosŏn […]

Buddhism in the Early Choson: Suppression and Transformation

From the publisher’s website: Contrary to the Buddhism in the Koryo period, Buddhism in the early Choson period suffered from a great deal of suppression. The society was dominated by the Confucian elite and there was little power or financial resources available to the Buddhists. The monasteries were struggling. Nevertheless, out of this community, came […]