Confucian Statecraft and Korean Institutions. Yu Hyongwon and the Late Choson Dynasty - James B. Palais

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also demonstrated that national defense was not a question of military strategy
and tactics alone.
King Kwanghaegun came to the throne in r609 with the support of the Great
Northern faction (Taebuk, a splinter group of the Easterner or Tong'in faction)
that represented the least bellicose, if not the least courageous, response to
Hideyoshi's challenge. He was opposed by the Westerner faction (Soin) that con-
tained within its ranks some of the leading hawks during the Imjin War.
Although some held office, they were in a politically vulnerable position. I
At the time, the main threat to Korean security shifted from Japan to the north
as a result of the rise of the Manchus under Nurhaci, who had begun to take
over territory from surrounding tribes in Manchuria in 1589, who ceased pay-
ing tribute to the Ming court in r 605, and who established the Later Chin dynasty,
proclaimed himself emperor in 1616, and launched his first raid across the Ming
frontier in r618.^2 As the Manchus became more of a threat, the Ming court
demanded aid and military reinforcements from Korea, and many Koreans, espe-
cially the Westerners, felt they had a moral as well as a strategic obligation to
honor Ming requests since Ming intervention had saved Korea from destruction
by Hideyoshi. On the other hand, active support for the Ming dynasty threat-
ened to lead to a Manchu invasion of the Korean peninsula.
King K wanghaegun sought to walk a tightrope between the Ming and Later
Chin (first dynastic title of the Manchus, later changed to Ch'ing in 1636). Dur-
ing a famous campaign in 16 r 9, for example, in response to a Ming request for
reinforcements, he sent 13,000 Korean troops into Manchuria but instructed the
two Korean commanders, Kang Hongnip and Kim OngsQ, to surrender as soon
as the tide of battle appeared to shift in favor of the Manchus and then seek
Manchu understanding of Korea's difficult position to forestall future military
reprisals. They did so, successfully staying Manchu aggression against Korea
without overly antagonizing the Ming court.^3 Nevertheless, in 162 r a Ming gen-
eral, Mao Wen-lung, set up camp on an island near the Yalu estuary, and kept
up pressure on Korea to join in the struggle against Nurhaci.^4
In 1623 a few Westerner commanders of a small force of only 7,200 troops
and some civil officials seized power in a coup d'etat, deposed Kwanghaegun,
and replaced him with Prince Nungyang, known to posterity as King Injo. The
coup itself is known to history as the Injo Restoration (lnjo panjong), a term
that represents a transparent attempt to legitimize an act of treason. The West-
erners who led the coup then engineered the abandonment of Kwanghaegun's
cautious policy toward the Manchus.^5

The New Divisions of the Western Political Generals

Yi Kwi, one of the Westerner leaders of the coup and a disciple ofYulgok, con-
vinced King Injo in 1623 to convert the Military Training Agency into a per-
manent garrison force, support its troops with regular rations from capital

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