[KS] RE: continued use of last Ming era name

B.C.A.Walraven B.C.A.Walraven at let.leidenuniv.nl
Sun Jun 12 15:20:15 EDT 2005

Just a footnote to the last remark in Don Baker's message: Korean books printed in the Chosŏn period frequently were dated using the last Ming era name.

Boudewijn Walraven

-----Original Message-----
From: Koreanstudies-bounces at koreaweb.ws [mailto:Koreanstudies-bounces at koreaweb.ws] On Behalf Of Baker Don
Sent: 11 June 2005 18:07
To: Koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws

I'll leave it to the historical linguistics people to answer the first 
question, though I would like to add a related question:  When did Koreans 
first begin writing Chinese characters on the palms of their hands  with 
their fingers when they wanted to show a listener which Chinese character 
they were talking about?

As for the days of the week, that is clearly a Japanese import. The whole 
notion of a 7 day week wasn't accepted in Seoul until the end of the 19th 
century and it took a while to get people in the countryside to start 
thinking about a week as 7 days long rather than 10.  A month was 
traditionally divided into the first 10 days, the 2nd ten days, and the 3rd 
ten days. As for the exact name for a specific day of that ten-day week, I 
don't know of any, though the literate could use the appropriate hanja pair 
from the sixty cyclical calendrical items that were used to name days and 

As for official dates on documents, as a tributary state of China, Korea 
was supposed to use Chinese reign titles for dates. In internal documents, 
Korean reign titles could be used (as long as the rulers in Beijing didn't 
find out about it). It has also been reported that, especially in the 17th 
and 18th centuries, some Koreans who refused to accept the legitimacy of 
the Manchu conquest of the Ming, continued to use Ming reign dates long 
after the Ming was dead. I vaguely recall seeing a Ming reign date on an 
18th century Korean document, but don't remember when or where I saw it. 

Don Baker
Associate Professor, 
Department of Asian Studies
Director, Centre for Korean Research
University of British Columbia
Vancouver, Canada V6T 1Z2
dbaker at interchange.ubc.ca

More information about the Koreanstudies mailing list