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

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bureaucracy until the middle of the eighteenth century when they began to affect
some active officials who cited his proposals during the debate over the equal-
service reform (kyunyokpob).
Yu's magnum opus, the Pan 'gye surok, was not well known while he was alive,
and it did not attract King Sukchong's interest when Pae Sanggyu recommended
it to him in 1678. It was presented by No Sahyo and other scholars and degree
holders to Sukchong again in 1694, but again without stirring the king's inter-
est. It was known and admired by the statecraft scholar, Yi Ik, of the early eigh-
teenth century and by Yi's disciple, An Chongbok of the late eighteenth. The
text itself was made known to the court as early as 1678, and recommended to
King YOngjo by a former royal secretary, Yang Tilkchung, in 1741. YOngjo almost
authorized its printing in 1750, but postponed the decision until 1769, although
he permitted only three copies to be made and had them stored at the Namhan
Mountain fortress and in the Historical Repository.^3 In 1770 he authorized the
governor of Kyongsang Province to begin work on a wood-block edition. One
cannot be sure from the history of its publication just how well known its con-
tents were, and it appears that until publication of the final work in twenty-six
kwon in [770, a shorter version of only thirteen kwon lacking the chapters on
Chinesc sources was more widely circulated.^4
In [770 Yongjo also authorized Hong Ponghan to supervise the compilation
of an encyclopedia of laws and institutions modeled after the Wen-hsien t'ung-
k'ao ofMa Tuan-lin. This first edition contained no references to Yu's work, but
King Chongjo, who was dissatisfied with the errors and omissions in it, autho-
rized Yi Man'un to undertake a second enlarged edition that included statements
by Yu and others known to have read his work. Although the second edition was
completed in 1782, it was not published in type until 1908, which may have
restricted the sprcad of Yu's ideas. Nevertheless, Yu's work had to have been
known to the most prestigious scholar-officials at court, if not the country as a
whole.s When the Taewongun undertook a series of reforms in the 1860s, how-
ever, Yu's ideas, and those of the statecraft writers of the eighteenth and early
nineteenth centuries, were reflected in many of the policies adopted.
Therefore, the institutional reforms of the late Choson dynasty got under way
before Yu began writing on those questions, and an even longer lapse, three quar-
ters of a century, occurred before his own statecraft views became known to the
court and the educated public. For those reasons this book will attempt to sur-
vey the developments that were taking place before, during, and afterYu's life
to compare his ideas with the reform proposals raised and solutions reached with-
out benefit of his advice and wisdom. This exercise will not consist simply of
a comparison of two unconnected bodies of thought, because Yu himself was
influenced by the ideas and actions of government officials from the late six-
teenth century to the end of his life in 1672. It will thus be possible to trace the
direction of influence and the degree of intercommunication in the transmission
of ideas, and the separation between active officials and armchair scholars on
the leading institutional issues of the day.

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