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A Study on “Sachae” Jongwoon Byeon’s Sino-centric World-Viewand Perception of his Own Country

  • Journal of Korean Literature
  • 2015, (32), pp.173-194
  • Publisher : The Society Of Korean Literature
  • Research Area : Humanities > Korean Language and Literature
  • Published : November 30, 2015

JIN HONGMEI 1

1대진대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Jongwoon Byun, a well-known translater at the late Chosun Dynasty, was renowned early as a good writer. He left many essays, which was rarely achievable as a translater at that time. We can see, through his works, how he perceived cultures of China and Chosun as well as the foreign relations. His understanding of many countries in the East Asia was basically based on the typical framework of Sino-centrism. He thought that even though the Ching Dynasty took the territory of the late Ming Dynasty, the cultural hegemony of Sino-centrism was taken over to Chosun Dynasty. He thought that Chosun is the country where the sun sheds light first and where there is a full energy of cultural movement. He thought that Chosun was a Little China because Chosun had fully realized the key cultures of China. Taking one step further, he argued that people of Chosun Dynasty were now the same as those of China. Also he argued that Mongjoo Chung, 72 sages, and other faithful retainers of the late Koryo Dynasty should be considered as highly as, or higher than, Boyi and Shuqi of the Chou Dynasty. He, however, was not positive about the Feng Sui of Chosun. He said that the Feng Sui of Chosun was a ‘broken range of mountains and disconnected foots of hills’. So there was no place proper for a capital city of an emperor or a burial site for an emperor. Jongwoon Byun took an attitude of disbelief and precaution against non-civilization. It seems that his negative attitudes against non-civilization are originated from the unpleasant memories of history such as Japanese Invasion of Korea in 1592 and the Manchu war of 1636, etc. He argued that China had been generous to the non-civilized, but the non-civilized had not to China, and so Chosun should always be careful against the surrounding foreign forces and need to build her military strengths.

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