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The discussions about reinstatement and posthumous honoring of King Danjong's royal subjects and the change of King Sejo's perception of Sayuksin

  • The Review of Korean History
  • 2010, (98), pp.1-40
  • Publisher : The Historical Society Of Korea
  • Research Area : Humanities > History

Kim YoungDoo 1

1국사편찬위원회

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this paper is to examine how the discussions of King Sejo's perception of Sayuksin had changed while reinstatement and posthumous honoring of them were directed during the latter part of the Chosun Dynasty. This study also intends to investigate the influence of the changes on the process of reinstatement and posthumous honoring of Sayuksin. It has been argued that before the official efforts for the reinstatement and posthumous honoring were made, King Sejo had inwardly regarded Sayuksin and the supporters of Danjong as royal subjects. There are three indications supporting this argumentation; Regarding Sayuksin, first, King Sejo mentioned, "they were traitorous subjects at their time but royal subjects for the later generation." Next, when King Sejo visited Donghak-Sa, a buddhist temple, he gave an order to pay homage to Danjong, Sayuksin, and others. In the admonitory letter King Sejo wrote to the crown prince, third, he wrote, "I had many difficulties but you would have peaceful time." By writing this, King Sejo implied that his son did not need to follow the decision which had killed Sayuksin and others branded as traitors. The discussion was designed to resolve the contradiction between legitimacy of King Sejo's government and Confucian elites's popular beliefs of Sayuksin as royal subjects. That is, mitigating the conflict was needed as the concept, 'Sayuksin as royal subjects', became approved publicly during the latter part of the Chosun Dynasty. Therefore, those argumentations were based on neither reliable documents nor historical grounds. Rather, they were the results of logical inferences based on the already existing memories of Sayuksin. For this, fragmentary records and stories were interpreted broadly. For those in the era, it was meaningless to question whether the story was true or debate how much trustful the ground of the argument was. Resultantly, confucian elites's memories of Sayuksin were changed and King Sejo's perception of Sayuksin was then added to their discussion. In this way, the memory of Sayuksin as royal subjects became an official and authoritative one of the country and both King and confucian elites were satisfied with the memory.

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