Marginality and Subversion in Korea
The Hong Kyongnae Rebellion of 1812
Publication Year: 2007
Published by: University of Washington Press
Other Works in the Series, Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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It is often remarked that writing a book is a joint intellectual venture, and nothing could be truer of the present volume. I owe a great deal to many wonderful people who encouraged me, guided me, and assisted me in various ways. My advisor and mentor, James B. Palais, professor emeritus of the University of Washington, read at least three different drafts of the manuscript over the years. Each time, he wrote dozens of pages of comments. How then could I possibly claim that this book is the result solely of my own intellect and sweat?...
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The Korean terms and names in the text are rendered in McCune-Reischauer romanization, the Chinese terms and names in pinyin, and the Japanese in the Hepburn system. Korean names in the text are given in Korean order (surname first, without comma). Korean and Japanese names in the bibliography are also listed in that order, except for those authors who have published in English...
Weights and Measures
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In the Confucian tradition, a rebellion could be a sign of misrule and of a lapsed Mandate of Heaven. The right to rule was given by Heaven; therefore, when a king ruled unwisely, Heaven would be displeased and would transfer the mandate to someone else. Heaven’s will would be expressed in various extraordinary natural phenomena and popular protests. Mencius (Chinese Confucian philosopher, ca. 371–288 b.c.e.) even maintained that the people...
Part I. State, Region, Regional Elite, and Culture
1. Historical Development of the Ch’ŏngbuk Region and the Regional Elite
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In many ways, the Hong KyQngnae Rebellion of 1812 was caused by regional particularities. Social and political discrimination against the official advancement of residents of P’yQngan Province resulted in growing discontent among expectant officials as well as among ordinary people.1 The rebels fiercely resented discrimination against people from P’yQngan Province, as clearly expressed...
2. Regional Discrimination and the Hong Kyŏngnae Rebellion
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Local politics partly explains divided allegiances between the rebel sympathizers and the militia organizers at the time of the Hong KyQngnae Rebellion. Both groups, however, resented the exclusionary political culture of the center and resultant social and political discrimination against them. The issue of regional discrimination was the most critical tool for the rebels in provoking regional sentiment and promoting a degree of regional solidarity, although...
3. The Economic Context of the Hong Kyŏngnae Rebellion
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As noted in the last chapter, P’yQngan residents performed dramatically better in the civil service examination in the late ChosQn compared to the early ChosQn period. Success in the examination required a long-term commitment, which was impossible without substantial material support from the candidate’s family. Thus the sudden increase of munkwa passers from P’yQngan Province in the late ChosQn bespeaks relative material wealth...
4. Prophecy and Popular Rebellion
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Geomancy and prophecy were important political tools in mobilizing mass support and legitimizing the rebellion. Not only were key leaders such as Hong KyQngnae and U Kunch’ik geomancers, but geomantic practices and prophetic beliefs in dynastic changes played a key role in recruiting sympathizers. The rebel manifesto clearly states that their political movement to thwart the existing dynasty has been ordained by the Mandate of Heaven...
Part II. The Hong Kyŏngnae Rebellion of 1812
5. Leadership and Preparation
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Conventional accounts say that the 1812 rebellion had been in preparation for over ten years, and primary sources indicate that Hong KyQngnae and U Kunch’ik, the two best-known ringleaders, met for the first time in 1800.1 Over the next decade or so, plots for a rebellion matured and networks among like-minded people formed. This chapter follows such tracks to identify.....
6. Rebels and Counterrebels
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Just before the rebellion broke out in January 1812, the people in the Ch’Qngbuk region were greatly agitated over rumors about an impending armed rebellion. It was not unusual for such rumors to fly through the countryside among people who were economically distressed by bad crops. As mentioned earlier, the rebels had deliberately disseminated a folk song about the decline and fall of the royal Yi family and its replacement by the Chong family. A more puzzling and provocative folk song also became popular around this time...
7. Rebels on the Defense
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The government troops led by Yi Haes]ng, army inspector of Anju military headquarters, finally arrived at the foot of Chongju on February 15, 1812, followed by seven army companies from P’yongyang under Yi Chonghoe, deputy commander of Circuit Army Headquarters (Sunong), on the same day. They set up the main military camp near the east gate of the walled town of Chongju (see fig. 4). The pacification army dispatched by the central government joined the camp eight days later, and Pak...
8. Nation, Class, and Region in the Study of the Hong Kyŏngnae Rebellion
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Divergent perspectives on the 1812 rebellion, and its leader Hong Kyongnae, have surfaced ever since the rebellion was put down, showing the immense impact that this event has had on Korean history and culture. Whether in the popular imagination or in scholarly analysis, the rebellion has been remembered and presented in ways that reveal historical and cultural conditions in Korea since 1812. The colonization, division, and...
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Page Count: 304
Publication Year: 2007