Wednesday, February 06, 2008

King Jeongjo and Suwon Hwaseong Fortress

One of the distinctive trends shown in Korean TV dramas -a hot culture item not only in ROK, but also all of Asia - are undoubtedly historical themes. Among them, what made me feel interested, are the ones depicting the story of Korean monarchs. As I see it, this might have been well reflected on both currently emerging Korean nationalism and the expression of yearning for leaders of integrity.
Even though, I have not checked out a single episode of the drama, a recently aired drama, 'Yi-san'(이산), which is also the birth name of King Jeongjo, covering the tragedy of Prince Sado and his son, has been promoting the attention toward King Jeongjo.

What is so special about him, then?

King Jeongjo is considered one of the most visionary monachs of Chosun and who led the Renaissance of Korea. He tried to reform the nation throughout his reign. First of all, he tried to break the existing system to get rid of all the hurdles for national development. Establishing Kyujanggak, an imperial library, in order to improve the cultural and political stance of Chosun and to recruit talented officers to run the nation. Simultaneously, it was an effort to weaken the power of various wealthy aristocrats and relatives of the queen.

Jeongjo employed as many Silhak scholars as possible, who pursued pragmatism within confucianism. Jeong Yak-yong must be a representative figure. Besides, he is known as a king who enhanced the level of popular culture by encouraging art and writing.

One of the conspicuous feats I would like to point out is the relocation of the court to the city of Suwon to be closer to his father's grave. He built Hwaseong Fortress to guard the tomb. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

These three websites that I discovered enlighten us about King Jeongjo and Hwaseong.


(1). King Jeongjo and Hwaseng Fortress.

(2). The Renaissance of Chosun, King Jeongjo

(3). The official website of Hwaseong Fortress in Suwon


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If one googles "Yi San" you got a lot of returns on the drama itself - I think the point is missed that such great and caring leaders should be promoted or re-introduced into modern politics and have our world leaders learning from him and his grandpa to truly put the interest of the people in the first place ! The recent fraudulent practices/news of British MPs are good reasons to do this.