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Blast from the Past 13 Jeolla and the Nosa School Combatting Western Influence We often think of Korea’s neo-Confucianism of Joseon Dynasty times as a singular concept, but in actuality, it was more of an umbrella term for the differing schools of thought that existed simultaneously as well as those that developed sequentially during Joseon times. One of these schools of neo-Confucian thought was that of the Nosa School, developed in the Jeolla area by Ki Jeong-jin. Its tenets proved to have a profound influence on late Joseon Dynasty government policy. Resurrected here from the archives of the Gwangju News is a two-part contribution by Hea Ran Won, “The Nosa School and Western Influence” (January 2016) and “The Nosa School and the Opposition Against Western Influences” (February 2016). We hope you enjoy this article on the Nosa School, a part of history that blast from the past arguably hasn’t received the degree of attention that it deserves. — Ed. EARLY WESTERN INFLUENCE ON KOREA Unlike China and Japan, Korea was long hidden from the eyes of the West due to its geographical seclusion. It was only from the middle of the 19th century that the West actually started to take an interest in Korea. However, the relationship between Korea and European countries was not a friendly one. In fact, their relationship was like that of water and oil. The European countries were filled with imperial aspirations, while Korea’s Joseon government was heavily prohibitive of Western culture. In the mid-19th century, European countries started to send more ships to the Korean coast. Officially, these ships claimed to be exploring the marine ecology, but in reality, they were measuring and investigating the shorelines and coastal regions of Korea in preparation for intrusions of various sorts. In the case of Jeolla Province, the English battleship Samarang unlawfully entered Jeolla waters and monitored several islands near Goheung and Jangheung on the south coast, and a Russian battleship twice invaded Geomun-do (an island near Yeosu). The locals feared these ships because they would often force trade and even F plunder villages. In addition, Koreans became ebruar more anxious after hearing the news of attacks on Beijing by British and French forces. It was shocking to hear that these Western forces easily seized the capital of a big and powerful country y 20 like China. ▲ Portrait of Nosa, Ki Jeong-jin, founder of the Nosa School. (Open 2 Sunchang) 2 202202.indd 13202202.indd 13 2022-01-24  1:25:152022-01-24  1:25:15

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