Korean Confucianism

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Chugyedaeje, a Confucian ritual ceremony in autumn in Jeju, South Korea. Korean Confucianism-Chugyedaeje-01.jpg
Chugyedaeje, a Confucian ritual ceremony in autumn in Jeju, South Korea.

Korean Confucianism is the form of Confucianism that emerged and developed in Korea. One of the most substantial influences in Korean intellectual history was the introduction of Confucian thought as part of the cultural influence from China.

Confucianism Chinese ethical and philosophical system

Confucianism, also known as Ruism, is described as tradition, a philosophy, a religion, a humanistic or rationalistic religion, a way of governing, or simply a way of life. Confucianism developed from what was later called the Hundred Schools of Thought from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius, who considered himself a recodifier and retransmitter of the theology and values inherited from the Shang and Zhou dynasties. In the Han dynasty, Confucian approaches edged out the "proto-Taoist" Huang–Lao as the official ideology, while the emperors mixed both with the realist techniques of Legalism.

Korea region in East Asia

Korea is a region in East Asia. Since 1948 it has been divided between two distinct sovereign states, North Korea and South Korea. Korea consists of the Korean Peninsula, Jeju Island, and several minor islands near the peninsula. Korea is bordered by Russia to the northeast, China to the northwest, and neighbours Japan to the east via the Korea Strait and the Sea of Japan.

Intellectual history refers to the history of ideas and thinkers. This history cannot be considered without the knowledge of the humans who created, discussed, wrote about, and in other ways were concerned with ideas. Intellectual history as practiced by historians is parallel to the history of philosophy as done by philosophers, and is more akin to the history of ideas. Its central premise is that ideas do not develop in isolation from the people who developed and use them, and that one must study ideas not only as abstract propositions but also in terms of the culture, lives, and historical contexts.


Today the legacy of Confucianism remains a fundamental part of Korean society, shaping the moral system, the way of life, social relations between old and young, high culture, and is the basis for much of the legal system. Confucianism in Korea is sometimes considered a pragmatic way of holding a nation together without the civil wars and internal dissent that were inherited from the Goryeo dynasty.

Goryeo Korean dynasty

Goryeo was a Korean kingdom founded in 918, during a time of national division called the Later Three Kingdoms period, that unified and ruled the Korean Peninsula until 1392. Goryeo achieved what has been called a "true national unification" by Korean historians as it not only unified the Later Three Kingdoms but also incorporated much of the ruling class of the northern kingdom of Balhae, who had origins in Goguryeo of the earlier Three Kingdoms of Korea. The name "Korea" is derived from the name of Goryeo, also spelled Koryŏ, which was first used in the early 5th century by Goguryeo.

Origins of Confucian thought

Confucius (孔夫子 Kǒng Fūzǐ, lit. "Master Kong") is generally thought to have been born in 551 BCE and raised by his mother following the death of his father when Confucius was three years old. The Latinized name "Confucius" by which most Westerners recognize him is derived from "Kong Fuzi", probably first coined by 16th-century Jesuit missionaries to China. The Analects, or Lunyu (論語; lit."Selected Sayings"), a collection of sayings and ideas attributed to the Chinese philosopher and his contemporaries, is believed to have been written by Confucius' followers during the Warring States period (475 BC – 221 BC), achieving its final form during the Han dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD). Confucius was born into the class of shi (士), between the aristocracy and the common people. His public life included marriage at the age of 19 that produced a son and a variety of occupations as a farm worker, clerk and book-keeper. In his private life he studied and reflected on righteousness, proper conduct and the nature of government such that by the age of 50 he had established a reputation. This regard, however was insufficient for his success in advocating for a strong central government and the use of diplomacy over warfare as the ideal for international relationships. He is said to have spent his last years teaching an ardent group of followers of the values to be appreciated in a collection of ancient writings loosely identified as the Five Classics. Confucius is thought to have died in 479 BCE.

Confucius Chinese teacher, editor, politician and philosopher

Confucius was a Chinese philosopher and politician of the Spring and Autumn period.

<i>Analects</i> Sayings of Confucius

The Analects (Chinese: 論語; pinyin: Lúnyǔ; Old Chinese: *[r]u[n] ŋ aʔ; literally "Selected Sayings", also known as the Analects of Confucius, is an ancient Chinese book composed of a collection of sayings and ideas attributed to the Chinese philosopher Confucius and his contemporaries, traditionally believed to have been compiled and written by Confucius's followers. It is believed to have been written during the Warring States period, and it achieved its final form during the mid-Han dynasty. By the early Han dynasty the Analects was considered merely a "commentary" on the Five Classics, but the status of the Analects grew to be one of the central texts of Confucianism by the end of that dynasty.

Warring States period Era in ancient Chinese history

The Warring States period was an era in ancient Chinese history characterized by warfare, as well as bureaucratic and military reforms and consolidation. It followed the Spring and Autumn period and concluded with the Qin wars of conquest that saw the annexation of all other contender states, which ultimately led to the Qin state's victory in 221 BC as the first unified Chinese empire, known as the Qin dynasty.

Under the succeeding Han dynasty and Tang dynasty, Confucian ideas gained even more widespread prominence. During the Song dynasty, the scholar Zhu Xi (AD 1130–1200) added ideas from Taoism and Buddhism into Confucianism. In his life, Zhu Xi was largely ignored, but not long after his death his ideas became the new orthodox view of what Confucian texts actually meant. Modern historians view Zhu Xi as having created something rather different, and call his way of thinking Neo-Confucianism. [1] Neo-Confucianism held sway in China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam until the 19th century.

Tang dynasty State in Chinese history

The Tang dynasty or the Tang Empire was an imperial dynasty of China that ruled from 618 to 907, with an interregnum between 690 and 705. It was preceded by the Sui dynasty and followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period in Chinese history. Historians generally regard the Tang as a high point in Chinese civilization, and a golden age of cosmopolitan culture. Tang territory, acquired through the military campaigns of its early rulers, rivaled that of the Han dynasty. The Tang capital at Chang'an was the most populous city in the world in its day.

Song dynasty Chinese historical period

The Song dynasty was an imperial dynasty of China that began in 960 and lasted until 1279. The dynasty was founded by Emperor Taizu of Song following his usurpation of the throne of the Later Zhou, ending the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. The Song often came into conflict with the contemporaneous Liao, Western Xia and Jin dynasties to its north. It was eventually conquered by the Mongol-led Yuan dynasty. The Song government was the first in world history to issue banknotes or true paper money nationally and the first Chinese government to establish a permanent standing navy. This dynasty also saw the first known use of gunpowder, as well as the first discernment of true north using a compass.

Zhu Xi Song Dynasty Neo-Confucian scholar

Zhu Xi, also known by his courtesy name Yuanhui, and self-titled Hui'an, was a Chinese historian, philosopher, politician, and writer of the Song dynasty. He was a Confucian scholar who founded what later became known as the "learning of principle" or "rationalist" school and was the most influential Neo-Confucian in China. His contributions to Chinese philosophy including his editing of and commentaries to the Four Books, which later formed the curriculum of the civil service exam in Imperial China from 1313 to 1905; and his emphasis on the process of the "investigation of things" and meditation as a method for self cultivation. He has been described by scholar Edward Slingerland as the second most influential thinker in Chinese history, after Confucius himself.

Early developments towards Confucianism in Korea

Before Goryeo

The nature of early Korean political and cultural organization centered on the clan and the tribe rather than cities and states. A Chinese record of the Gojoseon Kingdom (1000 BC – 300 BC) labeled the inhabitants of the peninsula as DONG-I or "eastern barbarians" or "eastern bowmen". Though the Shang dynasty (1600 BC – 1040 BC) is recognized chiefly for its metallurgical accomplishments, its organizational accomplishments included the invocation of authority through one's ancestors. When the Shang Dynasty was overtaken by the Western Zhou (1122 BC – 771 BC), the Zhou modified the Shang belief in ancestors belief to invoke the "Mandate of Heaven" as a way of identifying the divine right to rule. The Mandate of Heaven was based on rules of good governance and the emperor was granted the right to rule by heaven as long as those rules of good governance were obeyed.

Gojoseon Ancient state, based in northern Korean peninsula and Manchuria

Gojoseon, originally named Joseon, was an ancient kingdom on the Korean Peninsula. The addition of Go, meaning "ancient", is used to distinguish it from the later Joseon kingdom (1392–1897).

Shang dynasty kingdom of ancient China

The Shang dynasty, also historically known as the Yin dynasty, ruled in the Lower Yellow River Valley in the second millennium BC, succeeding the semi-mythical Xia dynasty and followed by the Zhou dynasty. Since there was no writing at sites before Anyang, many scholars believe that only the state at Anyang should be called Shang, but scholars in China tend to trust later historical accounts and consider the entire period "Shang." The classic account of the Shang comes from texts such as the Book of Documents, Bamboo Annals and Records of the Grand Historian. According to the traditional chronology based on calculations made approximately 2,000 years ago by Liu Xin, the Shang ruled from 1766 to 1122 BC, but according to the chronology based upon the "current text" of Bamboo Annals, they ruled from 1556 to 1046 BC. The state-sponsored Xia–Shang–Zhou Chronology Project dated them from c. 1600 to 1046 BC based on the carbon 14 dates of the Erligang site.

Western Zhou dynasty of ancient China

The Western Zhou was the first half of the Zhou dynasty of ancient China. It began when King Wu of Zhou overthrew the Shang dynasty at the Battle of Muye and ended when the Quanrong nomads sacked its capital Haojing and killed King You of Zhou in 771 BC.

The scattered rule of many semi-autonomous holdings were increasingly brought under the rule of a central government as a Zongfa or "kinship network" though as time went on the territory ruled was far too large for all vassals to be actual blood relatives. Vassals to the king enjoyed hereditary titles and were expected to provide labor and fighting forces as circumstances merited. In these many ways, the Gojoseon kingdom would have been “validated” by their “big brother” to the south, and while the Gojoseon king would still rule, the “Mandate of Heaven” lay obligations on him to rule justly and fairly and for the benefit of his people and not just his favorites or relatives. As the Western Zhou declined, China entered into a period known as the Spring and Autumn period (771 BC – 471BC) and the "kinship network" also declined. Control of many feudal holdings fell to feudal lords and knights, or "fighting gentlemen", (C. SHI). Unbound by family relationships, these men were free to attack their neighbors and accrue holdings. It was into this period, then, that Confucius was born and spent his entire life seeming to strive for the construction of a governmental ideal in the nature of the Zhou centralized government. However, in 109 BC the Han Emperor, Wu-Ti overwhelmed Gojoseon by both land and sea and established four bases, or "commanderies", Four Commanderies of Han in the region as a way to stabilize the area for trade. The subsequent introduction of four separate administrations to oversee the region only served to prolong the divided nature of the Korean peninsula and hamper an adoption of the Confucian model.

Mandate of Heaven political and religious doctrine of the Emperor of China

The Mandate of Heaven or Tianming is a Chinese political and religious doctrine used since ancient times to justify the rule of the King or Emperor of China. According to this belief, heaven —which embodies the natural order and will of the universe—bestows the mandate on a just ruler of China, the "Son of Heaven" of the "Celestial Empire". If a ruler was overthrown, this was interpreted as an indication that the ruler was unworthy, and had lost the mandate. It was also a common belief among citizens that natural disasters such as famine and flood were signs of heaven's displeasure with the ruler, so there would often be revolts following major disasters as citizens saw these as signs that the Mandate of Heaven had been withdrawn.

Spring and Autumn period period of ancient Chinese history

The Spring and Autumn period was a period in Chinese history from approximately 771 to 476 BC which corresponds roughly to the first half of the Eastern Zhou period. The period's name derives from the Spring and Autumn Annals, a chronicle of the state of Lu between 722 and 479 BC, which tradition associates with Confucius.

Four Commanderies of Han Chinese commanderies set up to control the populace in the former Gojoseon area

The Four Commanderies of Han were Chinese commanderies located in northern Korean Peninsula and part of the Liaodong Peninsula from around the end of the second century BC through the early 4th AD, for the longest lasting. The commanderies were set up to control the populace in the former Gojoseon area as far south as the Han River, with a core area at Lelang near present-day Pyongyang by Emperor Wu of the Han dynasty in early 2nd century BC after his conquest of Wiman Joseon. As such, these commanderies are seen as Chinese colonies by some scholars. Though disputed by North Korean scholars, Western sources generally describe the Lelang Commandery as existing within the Korean peninsula, and extend the rule of the four commanderies as far south as the Han River. However, South Korean scholars assumed its administrative areas to Pyongan and Hwanghae provinces.

As the Three Kingdoms Period emerged from the Four Commanderies, each Kingdom sought ideologies under which their populations could be consolidated and authority could be validated. [2] From its introduction to the kingdom of Baekje in 338 AD, Korean Buddhism spread rapidly to all of the states of the Three Kingdoms Period. [3] Though Korean Shamanism had been an integral part of Korean culture extending back to earliest time, Buddhism was able to strike a balance between the people and their administration by arbitrating the responsibilities of one to the other.

Goryeo period

By the time of the Goryeo Dynasty (918–1392) the position, influence, and status of Buddhism far exceeded its role as a mere religious faith. Buddhist temples, originally established as acts of faith had grown into influential landholdings replete with extensive infra-structure, cadre, tenants, slaves and commercial ventures. The state observed a number of Buddhist holidays during the year where the prosperity and security of the nation were inextricably tied to practices and rites that often mixed Buddhist and indigenous Korean beliefs. [1] As in China, Buddhism divided into the more urban faith rooted religious texts and the more contemplative faith of the rural areas. This emphasis on texts and learning produced a "monk examination" wherein the Buddhist clergy could vie with Confucian scholars for positions in the local and national government. During this time, Confucian thought remained in the shadow of its Buddhist rival, vying for the hearts and minds of Korean culture, but with growing antagonism. [1]

With the fall of Goryeo, the position of the landed aristocracy crumbled to be replaced by the growing power of the Korean illiterati who advocated strenuously for land reform. Interest in Chinese literature during the Goryeo Dynasty had encouraged the spread of Neo-Confucianism, in which the older teachings of Confucius had been melded to Taoism and Buddhism. Neo-Confucian adherents could now offer the new Joseon Dynasty (1392–1910) an alternative to the influence of Buddhism. In Goryeo, King Gwangjong (949–975) had created the national civil service examinations, and King Seongjong (1083–1094) was a key advocate for Confucianism by establishing the Gukjagam, the highest educational institution of the Goryeo dynasty. This was enhanced, in 1398, by the Sunggyungwan – an academy with a Neo-Confucian curriculum – and the building of an altar at the palace, where the king would worship his ancestors. Neo-Confucian thought, with its emphasis on Ethics and the government's moral authority provided considerable rationale for land reform and redistribution of wealth. Rather than attack Buddhism outright, Neo-Confucian critics simply continued to criticize the system of Temples and the excesses of the clergy.

Neo-Confucianism in the Joseon dynasty

Portrait of Jo Gwang-jo Cho Kwang-jo in 1750.jpg
Portrait of Jo Gwang-jo

By the time of King Sejong (ruled 1418–1450), all branches of learning were rooted in Confucian thought. Korean Confucian schools were firmly established, most with foreign educated scholars, large libraries, patronage of artisans and artists, and a curriculum of 13 to 15 major Confucian works. Branches of Buddhism in Korea were still tolerated outside of the major political centers. In Ming China (1368–1644), Neo-Confucianism had been adopted as the state ideology. The new Joseon Dynasty (1392–1910) [4] followed suit and also adopted Neo-Confucianism as the primary belief system among scholars and administrators. Jo Gwangjo's efforts to promulgate Neo-Confucianism among the populace had been followed by appearance of Korea's two most prominent Confucian scholars, Yi Hwang (1501–1570) and Yi I (1536–1584), who are often referred to by their pen names Toe gye and Yul gok. Having supplanted all other models for the Korean nation-state, by the start of the 17th century, Neo-Confucian thought experienced first a split between Westerners and Easterners and again, between Southerners and Northerners. Central to these divisions was the question of succession in the Korean monarchy and the manner in which opposing factions should be dealt.

A growing number of Neo-Confucian scholars had also begun to question particular metaphysical beliefs and practices. A movement known as Silhak (lit. "practical learning") posited that Neo-Confucian thought ought be founded more in reform than in maintaining the status quo. Differences among various Confucian and Neo-Confucian schools of thought grew to conflicts as Western countries sought to force open Korean, Chinese and Japanese societies to Western trade, Western technologies and Western institutions. Of particular concern were the growing number of Catholic and Protestant missionary schools which not only taught a Western pedagogy but also Christian religious beliefs. In 1894, Korean Conservatives, nationalists and Neo-Confucians rebelled at what they viewed as the loss of Korean Society and Culture to alien influences by the abandonment of the Chinese classics and Confucian rites. [5]

The Donghak Rebellion—also called the 1894 Peasant War (Nongmin Jeonjaeng)—expanded on the actions of the small groups of the Donghak (lit. Eastern Learning) movement begun in 1892. Uniting into a single peasant guerrilla army (Donghak Peasant Army) the rebels armed themselves, raided government offices and killed rich landlords, traders and foreigners. The defeat of the Dong Hak rebels drove ardent Neo-Confucians out of the cities and into the rural and isolated areas of the country. However, the rebellion had pulled China into the conflict and in direct contention with Japan (First Sino-Japanese War). With the subsequent defeat of Qing China, Korea was wrested from Chinese influence concerning its administration and development. In 1904, the Japanese defeated Russia (Russo-Japanese War) ending Russian influence in Korea as well. As a result, Japan annexed Korea as a protectorate in 1910, ending the Joseon kingdom and producing a thirty-year occupation (Korea under Japanese rule) which sought to substitute Japanese culture for that of Korea. During this period, a Japanese administration imposed Japanese language, Japanese education, Japanese practices and even Japanese surnames on the Korean population predominantly in the large cities and surrounding suburban areas. [6] However, in the isolated areas of Korea, and well into Manchuria, Korean nationals continued to wage a guerrilla war against the Japanese and found sympathy for Neo-Confucian goals of reform and economic parity among the growing Communist movement. With the end of the Japanese occupation, Confucian and Neo-Confucian thought continued to experience neglect if not willful repression during the Korean War as well as the repressive dictatorships which followed. [7]

Contemporary society and Confucianism

With the fall of the Joseon Dynasty in 1910, Neo-Confucianism lost a lot of its influence. [4] [8] In contemporary South Korea, very few people identify themselves as being Confucian when asked for their religious affiliation. [9] [10] The statistical studies done on this subject can be misleading, however. Confucianism there is not an organized religion, making it hard to easily define a person as Confucian or not. [10] [11] Though its prominence as the dominant ideology has faded, there are a lot of Confucian ideas and practices that still saturate South Korean culture and daily life. [12] [13] [14]

The traditional Confucian respect for education remains a vital part of South Korean culture. [15] The civil service examinations were the gateway to prestige and power for a follower of Confucianism in the Joseon Dynasty. Today, exams continue to be an important aspect of South Korean life. The content of what is studied has changed over the years. Confucian teachings were replaced by other topics, such as foreign languages, modern history, economics, science, and mathematics. Like Confucianism from the past, a lot of emphasis is placed on the ability to study and memorize. [16] Since exams are so important for gaining admission to better schools and jobs, a typical student’s entire life is oriented toward preparing to pass the necessary exams. [17]

Perhaps some of the strongest evidences of continuing Confucian influence can be found in South Korean family life. It is seen not just in South Korea’s emphasis on family and group-oriented ways of living, but also in the Confucian rituals that are still commonly performed today, the ancestor memorial services. It is a way of showing respect for deceased parents, grandparents, and ancestors, and is a way of showing Confucian filial piety. [4] [18] In some cases, the memorial services have been changed to fit with religious views. This is an example of how Confucianism has melded with religion in South Korea, rather than competing against it. [5]

In 1980, the “Guideline for Family Rituals” was made law. It declared that ancestral ceremonies can only be held for one’s parents and grandparents, simplified the funeral ceremonies, and reduced the allowed mourning period. The law is not strictly enforced, and no one has been charged for violating it. [18]

In more recent years, there has been a move away from the traditional Confucian idea of complete respect for and submission to parental authority. It can be seen in how marriage has become less of a family decision, and more of an individual’s choice. [19]

The Confucian emphasis on the importance of the family and the group over the individual has been extended to South Korean business, as well. Employees are expected to regard the workplace as a family, with the head of the company as the patriarch who enjoys exclusive privileges while the workers are expected to work harder. The businesses tend to operate on Confucian ethics, such as the importance of harmonious relations among the employees and loyalty to the company. Importance is placed on attributes such as differences in age, kinship status, sex, and sociopolitical status. [20] [21]

Confucian ethical rhetoric is still used in contemporary South Korea. Other religions will incorporate it into discussions on proper human behavior. It can be found in the government and in the business world being used to encourage people to put the needs of the group above their own individual needs. [4] [21] [22]

Neo-Confucian philosophy going back to the 15th Century had relegated Korean women to little more than extensions of male dominance and producers of requisite progeny.[ citation needed ] This traditional view of the social role of women is fading away. [15] There is an increasing number of women students holding good positions in universities and the work force, as well as in politics. [23] The former president of South Korea, Park Geun-hye, is female.

The arts still maintain major traditions: Korean Pottery, the Korean Tea Ceremony, Korean Gardens, and Korean flower arrangement follow Confucian principles and a Confucian aesthetic. Scholarly calligraphy and poetry also continue, in much fewer numbers, this heritage. In films, school stories of manners and comic situations within educational frames fit well into the satires on Confucianism from earlier writings. Loyalty to school and devotion to teachers is still an important genre in popular comedies.

With Neo-Confucianism taken out of the school curricula and removed from its prominence in the daily life of Koreans, the sense that something essential to Korean history is missing led to a rebirth of Confucianism in South Korea in the late 1990s. [8] [13]

It is difficult to find accurate information regarding Confucianism in North Korean religion or practices. [7] However, the Juche ideology does encourage the Confucian virtues of loyalty, reverence, and obedience. [24]

Contemporary Confucianism and Women's Rights

Traditionally women in Korea were given the role of housewife due to Confucian gender roles. Meaning women were not allowed to work outside the house. This started to change and by 2001 the women's participation in the workforce was at 49.7 percent compared to only 34.4 percent in the 1960s [25] . In 1987 equal opportunity legislation was introduced and been improved by reforms since then to improve the rights of working women [25] . As Korean feminist organizations gained more influence the government listened, and in 2000 established the Department of Gender Equality to allow women to participate in making policy [25] . Even though women are gaining working right, it has not fully changed the roles when at the house, working women are still expected to still primary domestic worker in the family [25] . However, these changes have given women in south Korea more of an option between being a housewife or working outside of the house.

The women who have chosen to work due to the changes in government and legislation had and still have major challenges to face in the workforce. Major companies in South Korea began to change their hiring practices such as Samsung which was one of the first major companies to do so. In 1997 Samsung removed gender discrimination in recruitment and by 2012 had hired 56,000 women employees [26] . However, before 1997 some women did manage to work at Samsung, and there was discrimination in the patriarchally-ran company. Most of the jobs of the woman who worked at Samsung were low-level workers. When the company tried to offer higher positions to women, many of the top male executives took advantage of the women and gave them menial chores [26] , not unlike how some husbands may expect of their wives at home. However, this all changed began to change in 1994 when an open personnel reform from Samsung’s chairman, forced top executives to treat and pay men and women equally [26] . Samsung’s newest goal is increasing the percentage of female top executives from 2 percent to 10 percent by 2020 [26] . Still today however in South Korea, women are being discriminated against especially in work environments. According to the world economic forum, South Korea ranks 115 out of 149 in gender inequality [27] .

Korean Confucian art

Korean Confucian art and philosophy had great and deep effects on the Korean culture.

See also

References and further reading

  1. 1 2 3 Baker, Donald (June 2008). Dimensions of Asian Spirituality: Korean Spirituality. University of Hawaii Press.
  2. Joe, Wanne J. (June 1972). Traditional Korea a Cultural History. Seoul, Korea: Chung'ang University Press. pp. 46–86.
  3. Joe, Wanne J. (June 1972). Traditional Korea A Cultural History. Seoul, Korea: Chung'ang University Press. pp. 112–127.
  4. 1 2 3 4 Baker, Don. Korean Spirituality (University of Hawai’i Press, 2008). p 53
  5. 1 2 Baker, Don. Korean Spirituality (University of Hawai’i Press, 2008). p 138
  6. Joe, Wanne J. (June 1972). Traditional Korea a Cultural History. Seoul, Korea: Chung'ang University Press. pp. 356–378.
  7. 1 2 Baker, Don. Korean Spirituality (University of Hawai’i Press, 2008). p 145
  8. 1 2 Koh, Byong-ik. “Confucianism in Contemporary Korea,” In Confucian Traditions in East Asian Modernity, edited by Tu Wei-ming, (Harvard University Press, 1996) p 193
  9. Baker, Donald. “The Transformation of Confucianism in 20th-century Korea: How it has lost most of its metaphysical underpinnings and survives today primarily as ethical rhetoric and heritage rituals” Unpublished paper. p 1
  10. 1 2 Koh, Byong-ik. “Confucianism in Contemporary Korea,” In Confucian Traditions in East Asian Modernity, edited by Tu Wei-ming, (Harvard University Press, 1996) p 192
  11. Kim, Kwang-ok. “The Reproduction of Confucian Culture in Contemporary Korea: An Anthropological Study,” In Confucian Traditions in East Asian Modernity, edited by Tu Wei-ming, (Harvard University Press, 1996) p 226
  12. Kim, Kwang-ok. “The Reproduction of Confucian Culture in Contemporary Korea: An Anthropological Study,” In Confucian Traditions in East Asian Modernity, edited by Tu Wei-ming, (Harvard University Press, 1996) p 204
  13. 1 2 Kim, Kwang-ok. “The Reproduction of Confucian Culture in Contemporary Korea: An Anthropological Study,” In Confucian Traditions in East Asian Modernity, edited by Tu Wei-ming, (Harvard University Press, 1996) p 225
  14. Koh, Byong-ik. “Confucianism in Contemporary Korea,” In Confucian Traditions in East Asian Modernity, edited by Tu Wei-ming, (Harvard University Press, 1996) p 199
  15. 1 2 Baker, Donald. “The Transformation of Confucianism in 20th-century Korea: How it has lost most of its metaphysical underpinnings and survives today primarily as ethical rhetoric and heritage rituals” Unpublished paper. p 4
  16. Vogel, Ezra. The Four Little Dragons (Harvard University Press, 1991) p 96
  17. Vogel, Ezra. The Four Little Dragons (Harvard University Press, 1991) p 97
  18. 1 2 Koh, Byong-ik. “Confucianism in Contemporary Korea,” In Confucian Traditions in East Asian Modernity, edited by Tu Wei-ming, (Harvard University Press, 1996) p 195
  19. Baker, Donald. “The Transformation of Confucianism in 20th-century Korea: How it has lost most of its metaphysical underpinnings and survives today primarily as ethical rhetoric and heritage rituals” Unpublished paper. p 5
  20. Kim, Kwang-ok. “The Reproduction of Confucian Culture in Contemporary Korea: An Anthropological Study,” In Confucian Traditions in East Asian Modernity, edited by Tu Wei-ming, (Harvard University Press, 1996) p 220
  21. 1 2 Kim, Andrew Eungi & Gil-sung Park. “Nationalism, Confucianism, work ethic and industrialization in South Korea,” Journal of Contemporary Asia 33:1 (2003) p 44. Available at http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00472330380000041#.UqhOpPRDvh4
  22. Baker, Donald. “The Transformation of Confucianism in 20th-century Korea: How it has lost most of its metaphysical underpinnings and survives today primarily as ethical rhetoric and heritage rituals” Unpublished paper. p 7
  23. Baker, Donald. “The Transformation of Confucianism in 20th-century Korea: How it has lost most of its metaphysical underpinnings and survives today primarily as ethical rhetoric and heritage rituals” Unpublished paper. p 6
  24. Baker, Don. Korean Spirituality (University of Hawai’i Press, 2008). p 150
  25. 1 2 3 4 Sung, Sirin (2003). "Women Reconciling Paid and Unpaid Work in a Confucian Welfare State: The Case of South Korea". Social Policy & Administration. 37 (4): 342–360. doi:10.1111/1467-9515.00344. ISSN   1467-9515.
  26. 1 2 3 4 Lee, B. J., & Ki-jun, L. (2012). Shattering South Korea’s Ceiling. Newsweek (Atlantic Edition), 160(6), 10. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.umuc.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=heh&AN=78238861&site=eds-live&scope=site
  27. "Data Explorer". Global Gender Gap Report 2018. Retrieved 2019-07-22.

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Neo-Confucianism is a moral, ethical, and metaphysical Chinese philosophy influenced by Confucianism, and originated with Han Yu and Li Ao (772–841) in the Tang Dynasty, and became prominent during the Song and Ming dynasties.

New Confucianism 20th-21st century Confucianist revival movement

New Confucianism is an intellectual movement of Confucianism that began in the early 20th century in Republican China, and further developed in post-Mao era contemporary China. It is deeply influenced by, but not identical with, the neo-Confucianism of the Song and Ming dynasties. It is a neo-conservative movement of various Chinese traditions and has been regarded as containing religious overtones; it advocates for certain Confucianist elements of society – such social, ecological, and political harmony – to be applied in a contemporary context in synthesis with Western philosophies such as rationalism and humanism. Its philosophies have emerged as a focal point of discussion between Confucian scholars in mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the United States.

Tu Weiming is a Chinese-born American ethicist and philosopher. He is Chair Professor of Humanities and Founding Director of the Institute for Advanced Humanistic Studies at Peking University. He is also Professor Emeritus and Senior Fellow of Asia Center at Harvard University.

Wang Yangming Chinese philosopher and general

Wang Shouren, courtesy name Bo'an, was a Chinese idealist Neo-Confucian philosopher, official, educationist, calligraphist and general during the Ming dynasty. After Zhu Xi, he is commonly regarded as the most important Neo-Confucian thinker, with interpretations of Confucianism that denied the rationalist dualism of the orthodox philosophy of Zhu Xi. Wang was known as Yangming Xiansheng and/or Yangming Zi in literary circles: both mean "Master Yangming".


Yayue was originally a form of classical music and dance performed at the royal court and temples in ancient China. The basic conventions of yayue were established in the Western Zhou. Together with law and rites, it formed the formal representation of aristocratic political power.

Temple of Confucius a temple for the veneration of Confucius and the sages and philosophers of Confucianism in Chinese folk religion and other East Asian religions

A temple of Confucius or Confucian temple is a temple for the veneration of Confucius and the sages and philosophers of Confucianism in Chinese folk religion and other East Asian religions. They were formerly the site of the administration of the imperial examination in China and Vietnam and often housed schools and other studying facilities.

Taoism in Korea

Taoism or "Do" is thought to be the earliest state philosophy for the Korean people spanning several thousand years. However, its influence waned with the introduction of Buddhism during the Goryeo kingdom as the national religion and the dominance of neo-Confucianism during the Joseon dynasty. Despite its diminished influence during those periods, it permeated all strata of the Korean populace, integrating with its native animism as well as Buddhist and Confucian institutions, temples, and ceremonies. The Taoist practice in Korea developed, somewhat in contrast to China, as an esoteric meditative practice in the mountains taught by the "mountain masters" or "mountain sages".

The Four Books and Five Classics are the authoritative books of Confucianism in China written before 300 BC.

East Asian religions A subset of the Eastern religions

In the study of comparative religion, the East Asian religions or Taoic religions form a subset of the Eastern religions. This group includes Chinese religion overall, which further includes Ancestral Worship, Chinese folk religion, Confucianism, Taoism and so-called popular salvationist organisations, as well as elements drawn from Mahayana Buddhism that form the core of Chinese Buddhism and East Asian Buddhism at large. The group also includes Japanese Shintoism and Korean Sindoism, which have received influences from Chinese religions throughout the centuries. Chinese salvationist religions have influenced the rise of Korean and Japanese new religions—for instance, respectively, Jeungsanism, and Tenriism; these movements draw upon indigenous traditions but are heavily influenced by Chinese philosophy and theology.

Han Learning, or the Han school of classical philology, was an intellectual movement that reached its height in the middle of the Qing dynasty (1644–1912) in China.

Gwon Geun (1352–1409) was a Korean Neo-Confucian scholar at the dawn of the Joseon Dynasty, and a student of Yi Saek. He was one of the first Neo-Confucian scholars of the Joseon dynasty, and had a lasting influence on the rise of Neo-Confucianism in Korea.

Edo neo-Confucianism philosophy in Edo-period Japan

Edo Neo-Confucianism, known in Japanese as Shushi-Gaku, refers to the schools of Neo-Confucian philosophy that developed in Japan during the Edo period. Neo-Confucianism reached Japan during the Kamakura period. The philosophy can be characterized as humanistic and rationalistic, with the belief that the universe could be understood through human reason, and that it was up to man to create a harmonious relationship between the universe and the individual. The 17th-century Tokugawa shogunate adopted Neo-Confucianism as the principle of controlling people and Confucian philosophy took hold. Neo-Confucians such as Hayashi Razan and Arai Hakuseki were instrumental in the formulation of Japan's dominant early modern political philosophy.

The history of Sino-Korean relations dates back to prehistoric times.

New Text Confucianism is a school of thought in Confucianism that was based on Confucian classics recompiled in the early Han dynasty by Confucians who survived the burning of books and burying of scholars during the Qin dynasty. The survivors wrote the classics in the contemporary characters of their time, and these texts were later dubbed as "New Text". New Text school attained prominence in the Western Han dynasty and became the official interpretation for Confucianism, which was adopted as the official ideology by Emperor Wu of Han. Represented by Confucians such as Dong Zhongshu, this school advocated a holistic interpretation of Confucian classics and viewed Confucius as a charismatic, visionary prophet, a sage who deserved the Mandate of Heaven but did not attain kingship due to circumstances. The school competed with Old Text Confucianism in the later Han dynasty and its dominance waned as the latter became the new orthodoxy. The school fell into obscurity during the chaotic period after the fall of the Han dynasty and remained so until late Ming dynasty in the 17th century.

Confucianism in the United States

Americans’ exposure to Confucianism can be dated back to accounts of missionaries who traveled to China in the early 19th century. Since the second half of the 20th century, there has been growing scholarly interest in Confucianism in the United States. Confucianism is often studied under the umbrella of Chinese philosophy, and American scholars of Confucianism generally teach in University Philosophy or Religion Departments. There have been ongoing controversies in American academia on whether Confucianism should be categorized as a religion, philosophy or a tradition.