State symbols, group identity, and communal memory in jeong gyeong-un's godae illok, 1592-1598

Thomas Quartermain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper explores aspects of state symbols, group identity, and communal memory that existed in Joseon Korea during the Imjin War (East Asian War) of 1592-1598. Although there have been many studies on the Imjin War by Korean and international scholars on the topics of diplomatic exchanges and military engagements during the conflict, they are comparatively few studies in English language scholarship concerning the war's impact on social integrity and group consciousness. The Godae illok written by a yangban Righteous Army member, Jeong Gyeong-un, documents his personal activities throughout the war, his interactions with members of the Ming Chinese forces, and views on a Joseon society besieged by the Japanese. Some scholars are quick to claim that this invasion became the new foundation of social and group consciousness in Joseon. However, a reading and analysis of passages in Jeong's diary would indicate that social consciousness based on the pre-Imjin War period was the foundation of group thought during the war, as many men went into battle with the aspiration of attaining lucrative positions in a government founded on ideals and philosophies predating the invasion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-86
Number of pages22
JournalReview of Korean Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Dec

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 by the Academy of Korean Studies.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences(all)


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