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Historical Perception of the Founding of Joseon in the Early Joseon Period

  • The Review of Korean History
  • 2021, (142), pp.5-42
  • Publisher : The Historical Society Of Korea
  • Research Area : Humanities > History
  • Received : May 25, 2021
  • Accepted : June 2, 2021
  • Published : June 30, 2021

Yunjoo Kim 1

1서울시립대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This article reviews how the historical perspectives about the Founding of Joseon in the early joseon era were reflected into diplomatic documents, memorial inscription, Akchang(Solemn Court Ritual Songs), and Sillok(the Veritable Records of Kings). Firstly, because of unstable relationship with the Ming in the early years just after the founding of the dynasty, the contents of the diplomatic documents focused on the emphasis on the justification of founding of the nation. In particular, in order to dispel the Ming’s suspect on the invasion to Yodong(Liadong region), the historical meaning of March Back from Wihwa Island was reviewed, and in order to correct the wrong fact that King Taejo Yi Seong-gye was known as the descendant of Yi In-im, the efforts to specify the previous genealogy of the royal house were made. The works for arguing the justification of the founding of the nation were made in the memorial inscription, and they focused on the higher praises of the achievements of the current King in the process of founding of the nation with greater admirations on the deads because of the epitaphs’ characteristics. Therefore, the memorial inscription of Jeongneung(Royal Tomb of King Hwanjo) and Jereung(Royal Tomb of Queen Sinui) contain lots of contents of the contributions of Yi Seong-gye and Yi Bang-won, respectively. Jeong Do-joen, Ha Ryun, and Byeon Gye-ryang wrote several Akchang of their own in order to declare the just causes of the new regime, and to swear their loyalties for the new monarchs. The narrative of founding the new nation in the genre of eulogy affected the historical records, later, and were reflected to the rituals such as Jongjae, raising the status of the royal house. These several records also affected on the contents of history books considerably. However, Taejo sillok(the Veritable Records of King Taejo), which was published suddenly and secretly, included the ‘secrets between Ha Ryun and Byeon Gye-ryang’ and its systematic supplements were made in the era of King Sejong. King Sejong took precaution on the omission of specific contents in writing history. Accordingly, in order to write directly include the entire achievements the times between Kings Taejo and Taejong, the discussions about the writing and publishing the records were made public, and even the methodology of oral history was adopted. Therefore, the diplomatic documents, memorial inscription, Akchang, and historical records were accumulated with the mentions, discussions, and paragraphs about the founding of the nation, having the discourse of the justification of replacing the dynasty. Even though there were some changes in the writing methods or the contents of the historical records, the justification of the founding of the nation which had been formed for about sixty years was accepted as the historical truth to the people, securing the reasonableness of its sovereignty.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.