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

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utility of knowledge, particularly in contrast to the development ofliterary skill
and style to no tangible purpose, exerted an influence on Yu's thought.

Ch 'eng I: The Special Status of Students

While Yu's serious consideration of Wang An-shih's emphasis on practicality
and utility illustrated Yu's relative openness to a variety of alternatives to the
examinations, his heart was really with the Chu Hsi and the moralist wing of
Chinese statecraft. He admired Ch'eng I of the eleventh century, who felt that
what was needed was a return to the ancient method of personal evaluation by
direct observation of the behavior and accomplishments of students, a task best
left to the school headmasters and their assistants. [[ 2
Ch'eng I also believed that enrollment in school was the only proper means
for distinguishing the class of scholars (shih) from the common peasantry. He
extolled the practice of the ancients who sent their sons at the age of eight sui
to grammar school (hsiao-hsiieh) and at the age of fifteen sui to the adult schools
(ta-hsiieh). Those who failed their studies were sent back to work in the fields
as peasants, and the students worked exclusively on their studies until the age
of forty with the support of the state, maintaining the strict division between
scholars and farmers in society.
"If someone were in school, the [the school or the state] provided for his upkeep,
and if he were the son of a shih-ta-fu [official, sadaebu in Korean], then he had
no fear that he would be without support. Even in the case of a son of a com-
moner, once he entered school, he also had to be supported." II)
State support among the ancients was designed to guarantee economic inde-
pendence for students so that they might establish the proper moral goals, but
in the later age, students, encouraged to "pursue profit," often abandoned them-
selves to dissolute behavior. The attempt of the authorities to curtail those habits
by using laws and punishments failed miserably. I 14
Echoing the complaints of the critics of the Tang, Ch'eng I also objected to
the concentration of examination candidates in the capital, who "abandoned the
care of their parents and forgot the love of their flesh and blood." It was far prefer-
able to keep them in their home villages where they could fulfill their filial duties
by reducing the quotas of students at the National Academy and increasing the
quotas in the prefectural and district schools. He also proposed granting outward
signs of privilege and respect for outstanding scholars by establishing Halls for
Respecting the Worthy and guest quarters for visiting scholars in schools. I IS

Ch 'eng Hao's Plan for Schools and Recommendation

The views of Ch'eng 1's brother, Ch'eng Hao, however, exerted even greater influ-
ence overYu. Yu noted Ch'eng Hao's concern about the absence of humility and
a sense of shame on the part of village scholars, the poor condition ofthe schools,
the absence of respect for teachers, the paucity of men of talent in the state bureau-

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