Record of the Seasonal Customs of Korea: Tongguk sesigi by Toae Hong Sŏk-mo

Record of the Seasonal Customs of Korea (Tongguk sesigi) is one of the most important primary sources for anyone interested in traditional Korean cultural and social practices. The manuscript was completed in 1849 by Toae Hong Sŏk-mo, a wealthy poet and scholar from an influential family. Toae, with his keen interest in the habits and customs […]

The Great Synthesis of Wang Yangming Neo-Confucianism in Korea: The Chonon (Testament) by Chong Chedu (Hagok)

From the publisher’s website: Translated, edited, and introduced by Edward Y. J. Chung, The Great Synthesis of Wang Yangming Neo-Confucianism in Korea: The Chonŏn (Testament) by Chŏng Chedu (Hagok), is the first study in a Western language of Chŏng Chedu (Hagok, 1649–1736) and Korean Wang Yangming Neo-Confucianism. Hagok was an eminent philosopher who established the unorthodox Yangming school […]

The Diary of 1636: The Second Manchu Invasion of Korea

Publisher description: Early in the seventeenth century, Northeast Asian politics hung in a delicate balance among the Chosŏn dynasty in Korea, the Ming in China, and the Manchu. When a Chosŏn faction realigned Korea with the Ming, the Manchu attacked in 1627 and again a decade later, shattering the Chosŏn-Ming alliance and forcing Korea to […]

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 […]

Agriculture and Korean Economic History: Concise Farming Talk (Nongsa chiksŏl)

From the publisher’s website: This book is an economic history of the Chosŏn dynasty (1392-1910). The Chosŏn dynasty is not only known for managing the northeastern regions of Asia for 500 years as the exemplars of Confucianism, their kingdom was also one of the greatest so-called “agricultural states under Heaven.” The Chosŏn dynasty has been […]

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 […]

A Place to Live: A New Translation of Yi Chung-hwan’s T’aengniji, the Korean Classic for Choosing Settlements

From the publisher’s website: A Place to Live brings together in a single volume an introduction to Yi Chung-hwan’s (1690–1756) T’aengniji (Treatise on Choosing Settlement)—one of the most widely read and influential of the Korean classics—and an annotated translation of the text, including the author’s postscript. Yi composed the T’aengniji in the 1750s, a time when, despite King Yŏngjo’s (r. […]

The Foresight of Dark Knowing: Chŏng Kam Nok and Insurrectionary Prognostication in Pre-Modern Korea

From the publisher’s website: Korea has long had an underground insurrectionary literature. The best-known example of the genre is the Chŏng Kam nok, a collection of premodern texts predicting the overthrow of the Yi Dynasty (1392–1910) that in recent times has been invoked by a wide range of groups to support various causes and agendas: from leaders […]

The Aphorisms of Yi Deok-mu: Musings of a Grateful Reader

From the publisher’s website: This volume brings together excerpts from Seongyuldang nongso [蟬橘堂濃笑: The Inexorable Glee of Master Seongyuldang] and Imokgusimseo [耳目口心書: First-hand Observations] by the 18th-century scholar Yi Deok-mu. Seongyuldang nongso is a collection of Yi’s observations about life. In Imokgusimseo, Yi writes about what he heard, saw, said, and felt in the day-to-day. […]

Doctrine and Practice in Medieval Korean Buddhism: The Collected Works of Ŭich’ŏn

From the publisher’s website: Ŭich’ŏn (1055-1101) is recognized as a Buddhist master of great stature in the East Asian tradition. Born a prince in the medieval Korean state of Koryŏ (960-1279), he traveled to Song China (960-1279) to study Buddhism and later compiled and published the first collection of East Asian exegetical texts. According to […]

Numinous Awareness is Never Dark: The Korean Buddhist Master Chinul’s Excerpts on Zen Practice

From the publisher’s website: Numinous Awareness Is Never Dark examines the issue of whether enlightenment in Zen Buddhism is sudden or gradual—that is, something intrinsic to the mind that is achieved in a sudden flash of insight or something extrinsic to it that must be developed through a sequential series of practices. This “sudden/gradual issue” was […]

The Analects of Dasan – A Korean Syncretic Reading (four volumes)

From the publisher’s website: With extensive research and creative interpretations, Dasan’s Noneo gogeum ju (Old and New Commentaries of the Analects) has been evaluated in the academia of Korean Studies as a crystallization of his studies on the Confucian classics. Dasan (Jeong Yak-yong: 1762-1836) attempted through this book to synthesize and overcome the lengthy scholarly tradition of […]

Classical Writings of Korean Women

This work is a collection of essays travelogues written by women during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). The work ranges from a eulogy for a broken needle to a travelogue describing various trips to scenic spots on the Korean peninsula, including to the Keum-Gang Mountains. Now available in English, this collection gives us a sampler of […]

Seeking Order in a Tumultuous Age: The Writings of Chŏng Tojŏn, a Korean Neo-Confucian

From the publisher’s website: Chŏng Tojŏn, one of the most influential thinkers in Korean history, played a leading role in the establishment of the Chosŏn dynasty (1392–1910). Long recognized for his contributions to the development of Neo-Confucianism in Korea, Chŏng was both a prodigious writer and an influential statesman before being murdered in a political […]

A Chinese Traveler in Medieval Korea: Xu Jing’s Illustrated Account of the Xuanhe Embassy to Koryŏ

From the publisher’s website: “The king and ministers, superior and inferior, move with ritual and refinement. When the king goes on an inspection tour, everyone has the correct ceremonial attributes and the divine flag [troops] gallop in front while armored soldiers block the road. The soldiers of the Six Divisions all hold their attributes. Although […]

A Korean Confucian Way of Life and Thought: The Chasŏngnok (Record of Self-Reflection) by Yi Hwang (T’oegye)

From the publisher’s website: Yi Hwang (1501–1570)—best known by his literary name, T’oegye—is one of the most eminent thinkers in the history of East Asian philosophy and religion. His Chasŏngnok (Record of self-reflection) is a superb Korean Neo-Confucian text: an eloquent collection of twenty-two scholarly letters and four essays written to his close disciples and junior colleagues. […]