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2018 Personal essay

2018 GGHS Team 4

About Me


I got to know Koica, an international rescue organization, after reading the book, “Build their Dreams in an Unfamiliar Land.” As a result, I felt regretful about the lives of poor people and wanted to contribute to their lives by reading various books related to rescue. The year 2018 marks the 1100th anniversary of the founding of the Goryeo Dynasty, and many events are being held to celebrate. Goryeo was well equipped with systems and policies related to social welfare as representative of King Taejo's Policies for stabilizing the people's livelihoods. Prior to applying for this camp, I had already gained general knowledge because I wrote papers and participated in various events related to the social welfare policies of Goryeo.

Nevertheless, I joined the camp because it was a 'global' camp. Although there was an aim to improve my English skills through communication with foreigners, I was amazed that foreigners knew about the history of Korea. And it is hard to think of creative perspectives and directions on this issue as the nation's students learn history as an obligatory test subject. However, because foreigners learn our history incidentally, I wondered and wanted to discuss our historical events together. The reason I picked this subject was because it was related to the welfare, however, I want to talk about social welfare in our history through this camp because foreigners learn our country history only general course of events and it is hard to know interesting contents hidden in history. My role in the group was to study data about the period of military regime, one of the most impoverished lives of the people of Goryeo.

The investigation focused on the lives and welfare policies of the people during this period, referring to the history of Goryeo and 高麗史節要(고려사절요). We also prepared video clips as well as ppt to effectively deliver the presentation. Through this camp, I was able to discuss various ideas and perspectives of different groups on a topic just as people thought differently about something, although I did not satisfy all my purposes of participation. I had dreamed of becoming a social worker since I was in the first grade in high school and worked in a volunteer club to get closer to that dream. During the past year, I visited various organizations and organizations to help the underprivileged and thought that I achieved results. However, it was regrettable to see their fundamental problems not solved, though they were rewarding as they continued temporary.

At the same time, it is important to get temporary help, but I thought it would be helpful to solve the fundamental problems. As the saying goes, "The greatest tragedy for mankind lies in not learning any lessons from past history". I thought that a policy reform based on the lives of the people who have been ravaged by the exploitation of the ruling class of the past is necessary. Also responsible for most of the reasons for the poor in many underdeveloped countries around the world is corruption in the ruling class. Because of their self-righteous behavior, someone is starving at this moment and someone may work hard in the strong sunlight when I study in the air conditioner at school.

Students are the future leaders of the nation, but it is sad that children from underdeveloped countries do not even have time to think about their dreams due to poverty. It is not an easy problem to save the poor, but I think the problem of hunger can be solved if the world focuses on it and reduces corruption among the ruling class. Just as humans can not imagine what we have not experienced, premature behavior can be harmful in situations where information is scarce. The two years that the Korea International Cooperation Agency sent to underdeveloped countries, I will experience the reality more deeply and will be more practical for those who suffer from poverty. My motto: The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.

My Contribution (together with 김해인)

Goryeo Military Rule. The Life of the People

An uprising of the farmers and the slaves during the period of Muhsin

During the military rule, local authorities paid too much tax, but the central government, which was in a power struggle, was unable to control it. Also, as Yi Ui-min (1183-1196) , a former slave, came to power, expectations grew among the people for a higher status. Farmers and slaves rose to resist excessive exploitation and to rise in status.In the representative peasant uprising, there is the rebellion of Kim Sa-mi, and in the the lowest class of people uprising, there is the rebellion of Manjeok. During the military rule, the uprising took place frequently throughout the whole time. The most intense of its size and aspect were riots in the Sam Nam provinces that took place over 30 years. Kim Sa-mi's rebellion was one of the most representative of these riots.[1]

Classical Chinese Translation: Kim Sa-mi's Rebellion

Original text
時南賊蜂起, 其劇者金沙彌據雲門, 孝心據草田, 嘯聚亡命摽掠州縣. 王聞而患之. 丙子, 遣大將軍全存傑, 率將軍李至純⋅李公靖⋅金陟候⋅金慶夫⋅盧植等, 討之.[2]

이때에 남적이 봉기했는데 그 중 심한 것이 운문에 웅거한 김사미와 초전에 자리 잡은 효심으로, 이들은 망명한 무리를 불러 모아 주현을 노략질하였다. 왕이 이 소식을 듣고 걱정하였다. 병자일에 대장군 전존걸에게 장군 이지순⋅이공정⋅김척후⋅김경부⋅노식 등을 이끌고 가서 남적을 토벌토록 하였다.[3]

(no English yet)

Manjeok's Rebellion

Manjeok's uprising was caused by Manjeok, a slave, in 1198 during the Yejong of Goryeo Dynasty. Manjeok was a slave of Choi Choong-hun, an Muhsin. During this time, frequent exploitation by officials caused conflicts between upper and lower classes, leading to rebellion by farmers and slaves. The biggest and most purposeful of all was the Manjeok rebellion.[4][5]

Mongol Invasion Process

The Mongols moved away from tribal units and formed a unified nation and established diplomatic relations with Goryeo. However, they invaded Goryeo on the pretext of killing an envoy on his way home. After the second Mongol invasion, the Choe administration moved to Ganghwa Island, which has geographical and military advantages to fight against the invaders. And the people fought against the Mongols by officers who fleeing to Ganghwa Island leaving them as islands and mountains.[6]

A comparison of the lives of the people and the rulers during the time of transfer to Ganghwa island

After the second Mongol invasion, Choe and a small number of ruling groups decided to transfer the capital to Ganghwa Island in 1232, when Mongolia tried to return to invade. In addition, although it was the rainy season and there were many other problems, Choe eventually led to the transfer of the capital to Ganghwa Island with only 300,000 people. Meanwhile, the people who were originally living in Ganghwa had a harder life overnight when their hometown became the capital. They had to move to suburban areas and lost their habitat and had to be mobilized in various odd jobs such as land reclamation project. In addition, except for the 300,000 people who were left on the mainland, were forced to stand on their own against the invasion of Mongolia because of their lack of military support and live a more difficult life. Meanwhile, Choe U and the ruling elite, who moved to Ganghwa Island, wasted their taxes to held parties frequently and enjoyed themselves.[7]

Classical Chinese Translation:Example 1

Original Text
乙酉, 王發開京, 次于昇天府, 丙戌, 入御江華客館. 時霖雨彌旬, 泥濘沒脛,人馬僵. 達官及良家婦女, 至有跣足負戴者. 鰥寡孤獨, 失所號哭者, 不可勝計.[8]

을유일에 왕이 개경을 출발하여 승천부(昇天府)에서 머무르고 병술일에 강화도의 객관에 들어갔다. 이때 장맛비가 열흘이나 계속 내려 진흙이 발목까지 빠져 사람과 말들이 쓰러지곤 하였다. 지체 높은 집안이나 양가의 부녀들 중에는 맨발로 업고 이고 하는 자까지 있었다. 홀아비와 과부, 고아와 자식 없는 노인으로서 갈 곳을 잃고 소리 내어 우는 자가 이루 헤아릴 수 없이 많았다.[9]

(no English yet)

Classical Chinese Translation:Example 2

Original Text
五月, 崔怡宴宗室司空已上及宰樞於其第. 置彩帛山張羅幃, 中結鞦韆, 飾以文繡綵花, 以八面銀釦貝鈿四大盆, 各盛氷峯, 又四大樽滿揷紅紫芍藥十餘品, 氷花交映, 表裏燦爛. 陳伎樂百戲, 八坊廂工人, 一千三百五十餘人, 皆盛飾, 入庭奏樂, 絃歌館鼓, 轟震天地. 八坊廂各給白銀三斤, 伶官兩部伎女才人, 皆給金帛, 其費鉅萬.[10]

5월에 최이가 종실의 사공이상과 재추들을 위해 자신의 집에서 연회를 베풀었다. 이때 산처럼 높게 채붕을 세워 비단 휘장을 두르고 가운데는 그네를 매어 문수채화로 장식하고, 8면을 은단추와 자개로 장식한 4개의 큰 동이에 각각 얼음을 산더미처럼 담고, 또 4개의 큰 물통에 붉은 작약과 자줏빛 작약 10여 종을 가득히 꽂았는데, 얼음과 꽃이 서로 비춰 겉과 속에서 찬란한 빛을 발하였다. 그리고 기악과 온갖 잡희를 베풀고, 팔방상의 공인 1350여 명이 모두 호화롭게 단장하고 뜰에 들어와 풍악을 연주하니, 거문고와 노래와 북과 피리 소리들이 천지를 진동하였다. 팔방상에게는 각각 백은 3근씩을 주고, 영관과 양부의 기녀와 광대에게도 각각 금과 비단을 주니, 그 비용이 엄청났다.[11]

(no English yet)

The collapse of Muhsin government

Since then, the power of the regime has been weakened by the Mongol invasion and by the Choe U regime. Conflict with Mongolia and the damage from the war greatly weakened the Choe regime. Furthermore, Choe Ui (1257-1258), the last ruler of the Choe regime, was foolish and weak and conflicts appeared inside the Choe family. Moreover, the failure to save the bad harvest resulted in the fall of the military regime.

King Wonjong

Wonjong broke down the military regime by implementing systematic policies such as installing a 出排都監(Chulbae togam) in Kaegyeong to prepare for returning to the capital. In 1263, Goryeo intended to stabilize the people's livelihood by asking the Japanese government to crack down on pirates invading Goryeo. And Goryeo sent Taeja to Mongolia to express sincerity in its efforts to establish diplomatic relations.

King Chung-ryul

With these fundamentals in place, however, King Chungnyeol (r.1274–1308) was not interested in the plight of the people and was given up to prostitution and hunting falcon. For this reason, I dare to say that King Chungnyeol does not have the qualities of a king, not only because the king lost his voice but also because of his lack of policy achievement. King Chungnyeol' s policy of close association with Mongolia served as a momentum for Goryeo to quickly fall to the status of its a vassal state. As a result, the powers of the lieges have become insignificant. With the disappearance of politics and the spread of Mongolian customs ( pigtail,The costume of Mongolia ) across society, Goryeo gradually lost its natural power, a policy of Chungnyeol which was great toward Mongolia.[12]

If we were king Chungnyeol...

First, the tax that was collected at that time was collected without considering the situation of the people. To solve this problem, we need to understand the situation of the people through the systematic and long-term land survey project and regulate the luxurious life of the nobles by law. And we have to create a system that will help people's lives by saving wasted taxes. Policies that take into account the situation of the people may have the effect of reducing their tax burden.

Second, in 1233, many people died because an insect got into the middle of a person's belly and sucked blood. In addition, there were many diseases and injuries besides these pests, but there were no suitable institutions to treat them. So, the 救濟都監(Gukje togam), which was a temporary institution that King Yejong had put in place during his reign, is re-installed to ensure the people's relief and health. However, at the time of installation, it was installed only in the Kaegyeong, making it difficult for the whole country local residents to use it. In order to improve this, 救濟都監(Gukje togam) was set up all over the country and the people were expected to use it seamlessly.


  • 출배도감 出排都監 (Chulbae togam):
  • 구제도감 救濟都監 (Gukje togam):


  1. [네이버 지식백과 김사미의 난 [金沙彌─亂] (한국민족문화대백과, 한국학중앙연구원)]
  2. 『고려사』권20, 「세가」20 명종 23년 7월
  3. 『고려사』권20, 「세가」20 명종 23년 7월
  4. [네이버 지식백과 만적의 난 (두산백과)]
  5. [네이버 지식백과 만적의 난 - 고려 시대에 만적과 노비들이 일으킨 신분 해방 운동 (한국사 사전 2 - 역사 사건·문화와 사상, 2015. 2. 10., 책과함께어린이)]
  6. 고등학교 한국사 교과서 (천재교육/주진오)
  7. 오마이 뉴스
  8. 『고려사절요』권16, 고종안효대왕 3 임진 19년 6월
  9. 『고려사절요』권16, 고종안효대왕 3 임진 19년 6월
  10. 『고려사절요』권16, 고종안효대왕 3 을사 32년 5월
  11. 『고려사절요』권16, 고종안효대왕 3 을사 32년 5월
  12. 나무 위키 - 충렬왕