The scanty evidence from histories, inscriptions on Buddhist statues, and tomb excavations shows that Goguryeo Buddhism had only a short history from ca. 400 CE until the collapse of the kingdom. This Buddhism was largely that of prayers for benefits and was probably centered on the royal court and supported by Han Chinese and Xianbei settlers. Buddhism was introduced into Goguryeo from Xianbei dominated regimes that controlled the north China plain, and a key site related to this introduction seems to have been Shentong Monastery in Shandong Province. It is likely that Seungnang, championed as the only known Buddhist scholar from Goguryeo, was not from Goguryeo. That Buddhism had only shallow roots in Goguryeo is demonstrated by the lack of Buddhist cave complexes, cliff engravings or large statues, and by the ease with which the last Goguryeo rulers shifted support towards Daoism.
This paper investigates the construction of biographies of Ming migrant descent groups during the Late Joseon as a product of the interaction of diverse social and political forces. With a focus especially on the biographies of one migrant-those of Ma Shunshang or Pengzhi, the founder of the Sanggok Ma descent group-this paper argues that the biographies were created by the interaction of the Joseon court and the Ming migrant descent groups themselves. Ming refugees to Joseon had been of little interest to the Joseon court at the actual time of their migration. However, during the mid-eighteenth century, ideological changes within the Joseon court resulted in the descendants of Ming migrants being reclassified as exemplars of Ming loyalism. This in turn resulted in the creation of hagiographic biographies of the original migrants. For the Joseon court, the presence in Joseon of the descendants of Ming loyalists with appropriate backgrounds was vital for official Ming loyalist ideology, while for the descendants of Ming migrants the claim to be remnant subjects of the Ming was a strategy for raising their social status. All of these elements leave traces within the text of the biographies themselves.
Studying and teaching Korean history abroad is not easy, since awareness about Korea is still generally low, especially in Europe, compared to countries located closer to the Korean Peninsula that are more influenced by South Korean mass culture, like China, Japan, or Vietnam. This article seeks to identify what sort of special contribution Korea historians based in Europe or North America may offer to the field of Korean history worldwide. The principal conclusion is that one distinctive advantage that foreign-based historians of Korea possess is their ability to distance themselves from the present, and in many cases, from the nationalist or dominant classe-imposed agendas of mainstream historiography of both states on the Korean peninsula. Europe-based historians may be expected to show their strength in deconstructing the nationalist narratives of Korean history produced in both Koreas.
This study analyzes the current state of the Korean ancient wooden slips that have been discovered by 2011 and conducts a summary of the overarching research trends. All in all, some 120 Lelang wooden slips, 150 Baekje wooden slips and shavings, and 330 Silla wooden slips have to date been uncovered. Up until the Three Kingdoms period, wooden slips were widely used, not only for labeling and listing purposes but also as a means of documentation. The widespread use of paper documents during Unified Silla coincided with a significant decline in the use of wooden slips for documentation purposes, with such resources increasingly being used mainly as labels attached to goods. Research on wooden slips has contributed to furthering scholars’ understanding of the ancient document administration system, the ruling structure in the central and local areas, the tax and socio-economic systems, and the everyday lifestyle of ancient people. In this regard, the continued excavation of wooden slips and advent of new interpretations of existing wooden slips is expected to further invigorate the practice of Korean ancient history based on such wooden slips.