[KS] Civil service exams vs. actual posting ratio

Hildi and S.W. Kang kangswh at comcast.net
Thu Mar 15 14:07:41 EDT 2007

i have a book going to press next month about Lineage Records, and in it my 
father-in-law makes this statement, below . There is discussion of the 
discrimination, but no statistics. It is a "well-known fact" among folks 
from the far north. SunJoo may have statistics. (Sorry i can't get rid of 
this bold font!!)

"Discrimination against Northerners

I should take a moment here to tell you how the age-old discrimination down 
in Seoul against us there in the north actually worked to our advantage. For 
centuries, the officials at the royal court ignored the learned men from the 
north. Many passed the kwago (civil service exam) but very few ever received 
official appointments. "

Hildi Kang
Center for Korean Studies, Berkeley

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Mark Peterson" <markpeterson at byu.edu>
To: "Korean Studies Discussion List" <koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws>
Sent: Thursday, March 15, 2007 8:05 AM
Subject: Re: [KS] Civil service exams vs. actual posting ratio

I'm not sure that there is much published on this, but from seminars
with Prof. Wagner, and from studies of the Kyusa (the list of
petitions from søja asking to be given positions), the numbers of
those who passed exams and did not get positions was close to zero.

Milan, Gene Park, Kyungmoon -- might have better information.  But
the only ones who did not get positions were søja.  Oh, maybe some
northerners did not get appointed -- Sunjoo can help on this point.

But basically, a percentage nearing 100% of munkwa passers were
immediately employed.  The more difficult question was what
percentage of sama (saengwon and chinsa) passers were employed.  At
the beginning of the dynasty that percentage was high.  Toward the
end of the dynasty, I think it was lower.  But these are just
impressions.  I'm not sure that anyone has studied this or published
on it.


On Mar 15, 2007, at 7:41 AM, Jeffrey Stark wrote:

> A student asked today about what percentage of those who  successfully 
> passed the civil service exams at various times in the  ChosOn period 
> actually gained government postings.
> If someone is aware of literature on that topic available online in 
> journals, or literature in Korean, and can point me to a specific  source, 
> I would be grateful. (I'm in Korea at the moment, and  suffering from 
> extreme non-Korean monograph envy.)
> Thanks,
> Jeff.

More information about the Koreanstudies mailing list