Huddling under the Imperial Umbrella: A Korean Approach to Ming China in the Early 1500s
- Journal of Korean Studies
- Center for Korea Studies, University of Washington
- Volume 15, Number 1, Fall 2010
- pp. 41-66
- Additional Information
By examining the frequency and purpose of voluntary missions of congratulations to Beijing in the early 1500s, this article explores the changing Chosŏn attitude towards Ming China and interprets the close and mutually beneficial relationship between King Chungjong (r. 1506-45) and the Jiajing Emperor (r. 1521-66). Installed as a nominal king by coup leaders under the situation in which the Korean elites' view of "serving Ming China" was in transition from conditional and practical to unconditional and ideological, and threatened by both the merit subjects' arbitrariness and Confucian moralists' fundamentalism, Chungjong was very eager to link himself more intimately with the Ming emperor, the higher authority, from which he received investiture. To the Jiajing Emperor, who frequently provoked his officials with a variety of ritual controversies, the congratulatory missions from Chosŏn, the Eastern Land of Propriety, were welcome guests. The emperor and the king became intimate with each other in this way for the sake of their own political purposes, and their relationship inevitably influenced the relations between the two countries.