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Yi I (Korean : 이이; Hanja : 李珥, December 26, 1536 – February 27, 1584) was a Korean philosopher and writer. He was one of the two most prominent Korean Confucian scholars of the Joseon Dynasty, the other being his older contemporary, Yi Hwang (Toegye). Yi I is often referred to by his pen name Yulgok ("Chestnut valley"). He is not only known as a scholar but also as a revered politician and reformer. He was academical successor of Jo Gwang-jo.
The Korean language is an East Asian language spoken by about 77 million people. It is a member of the Koreanic language family and is the official and national language of both Koreas: North Korea and South Korea, with different standardized official forms used in each country. It is also one of the two official languages in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture and Changbai Korean Autonomous County of Jilin province, China. It is also spoken in parts of Sakhalin, Ukraine, and Central Asia.
Hanja is the Korean name for Chinese characters. More specifically, it refers to the Chinese characters borrowed from Chinese and incorporated into the Korean language with Korean pronunciation. Hanja-mal or Hanja-eo refers to words that can be written with Hanja, and hanmun refers to Classical Chinese writing, although "Hanja" is sometimes used loosely to encompass these other concepts. Because Hanja never underwent major reform, they are almost entirely identical to traditional Chinese and kyūjitai characters, though the stroke orders for some characters are slightly different. For example, the characters 教 and 研 are written as 敎 and 硏. Only a small number of Hanja characters are modified or unique to Korean. By contrast, many of the Chinese characters currently in use in Japan and Mainland China have been simplified, and contain fewer strokes than the corresponding Hanja characters.
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.
Master Yi I was born in Gangneung, Gangwon Province in 1537. His father was a Fourth State Councillor (jwachanseong 좌찬성) and his mother, Shin Saimdang, the accomplished artist and calligraphist. He was the grand nephew of Yi Gi, prime minister 1549 to 1551.[ citation needed ] In his early years he was a student of Baik In-geol, the successor of Jo Gwang-jo. It is said that by the age of seven he had finished his lessons in the Confucian classics, and passed the Civil Service literary examination at the age of 13. Yi I secluded himself in Kumgang-san following his mother's death when he was 16 and stayed for 3 years, studying Buddhism. He left the mountains at 20 and devoted himself to the study of Confucianism.
Gangneung is a city in the province of Gangwon-do, on the east coast of South Korea. It has a population of 213,658. Gangneung is the economic centre of the Yeongdong region of Gangwon-do. Gangneung has many tourist attractions, such as Jeongdongjin, a very popular area for watching the sun rise, and Gyeongpo Beach. There is an ROK airbase south of downtown Gangneung that formerly doubled as a civil airport.
Calligraphy is a visual art related to writing. It is the design and execution of lettering with a broad tip instrument, brush, or other writing instruments. A contemporary calligraphic practice can be defined as "the art of giving form to signs in an expressive, harmonious, and skillful manner".
Yi Gi was a Korean during the Joseon Dynasty. He was Prime minister or Chief State Councillor from 1549 to 1551. He was the nephew of Seong Dam su (성담수), one of the members of Saengyuksin (생육신), and grand uncle of Yi I (Yulgok).
He married at 22 and a half, and went to visit Yi Hwang at Dosan the following year. He passed special exams with top honors with a winning thesis titled Cheondochaek (hangul:천도책, hanja: 天道策, "Book on the Way of Heaven"), which was widely regarded as a literary masterpiece, displaying his knowledge of history and the Confucian philosophy of politics, and also reflecting his profound knowledge of Taoism.He continuously received top honors on civil exams for a consecutive 9 times. His father died when he was 26. He served in various positions in government from the age of 29, and visited the Ming Dynasty as seojanggwan (hangul: 서장관, hanja: 書狀官, document officer) in 1568. He also participated in the writing of the Myeongjong Annals and at 34, authored Dongho Mundap, an eleven-article political memorial devoted to clarifying his conviction that a righteous government could be achieved.
Yi Hwang (1501–1570) was a Korean philosopher and writer. He was one of the two most prominent Korean Confucian scholars of the Joseon Dynasty, the other being his younger contemporary Yi I (Yulgok). A key figure of the Neo-Confucian literati, he established the Yeongnam School and set up the Dosan Seowon, a private Confucian academy. Yi Hwang is often referred to by his pen name Toegye. His courtesy name was Gyeongho.
Dosan Seowon was established in 1574 in what is present day Andong, South Korea, in memory of and four years after the death of Korean Confucian scholar Yi Hwang by some of his disciples and other Korean Confucian authorities. Yi Hwang had retired to the location in 1549 and begun construction on the facility, a private Korean Confucian academy offering instruction in the classics and honouring the sages with regular memorial rites.
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental questions about existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Such questions are often posed as problems to be studied or resolved. The term was probably coined by Pythagoras. Philosophical methods include questioning, critical discussion, rational argument, and systematic presentation. Classic philosophical questions include: Is it possible to know anything and to prove it? What is most real? Philosophers also pose more practical and concrete questions such as: Is there a best way to live? Is it better to be just or unjust? Do humans have free will?
Due to his vast experience in different offices over the years, Yi I was able to garner a wide vision of politics and with the deep trust of the king, became one of the central figures of politics by the time he was 40. His many documents and theses were presented to the royal court but when political conflicts escalated in 1576, his efforts proved fruitless and he returned home. Following his return, he devoted his time to studies and education of his disciples and authored several books.
He returned to office at 45 and while holding various minister positions, produced many writings which recorded crucial political events and showed his efforts to ease the political conflicts that were rampant at that time. However, King Seonjo was noncommittal in his attitude and it became difficult for Yi I to remain in a neutral position in the conflicts. He left office in 1583 and died the following year.
Seonjo of Joseon was the fourteenth king of the Joseon Dynasty of Korea from 1567 to 1608. Known for encouraging Confucianism and renovating state affairs at the beginning of his reign, political chaos and his incompetent leadership during the Japanese invasions of Korea marred his later years.
According to legend, he had a pavilion built near the ford of the Imjin River in his lifetime and instructed his heirs to set it ablaze when the king had to flee northward from Seoul, to provide a guiding beacon. This took place during Hideyoshi's invasions of Korea at the Imjin war.
The Imjin River or Rimjin River is the 7th largest river in Korea. It flows from north to south, crossing the Demilitarized Zone and joining the Han River downstream of Seoul, near the Yellow Sea. The river is not the namesake of the Imjin Waeran Japanese invasions of Korea in the late 16th century.
Master Yi I was not only known as a philosopher but also as a social reformer. He did not completely agree with the dualistic Neo-Confucianism teachings followed by Yi Hwang. His school of Neo-Confucianism placed emphasis on the more concrete, material elements; rather than inner spiritual perception, this practical and pragmatic approach valued external experience and learning.Unlike Yi Hwang, who suffered through tumultuous times and did not enjoy being in politics, Yi I was an active official who thought it important to implement Confucian values and principles to government administration. He emphasized sage learning and self-cultivation as the base of proper administration.
Yi I is also well known for his foresight about national security. He proposed to draft and reinforce the army against a possible Japanese attack. His proposal was rejected by the central government, his worry was found to be well-founded soon after his death, during the Imjin war.
Yi I's published writings encompass 193 works in 276 publications in 6 languages and 2,236 library holdings.
Yulgongno, a street in central Seoul, is named after him,and he is depicted on the South Korean 5,000 won note. The Taekwondo pattern Yul-Gok was also named in his honor. This is the pattern required to advance from 5th Kup Green Belt with Blue Tag to 4th Kup Blue Belt. The 38 movements of this pattern refer to his birthplace on the 38th degree latitude. The "Yulgok Project", a modernization project for the South Korean military, is named after him as well.
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