Thursday, October 14, 2010

Noron and Soron

We are hearing this in SKKS a lot, and the tension between Jaeshin and Seonjun is based on this division. Well, Jaeshin added lately another reason to hate the stone Seonjun, heh.
During the reign of King Injo, two political factions were at power: seoin (western faction) and nam-in (southern faction) The political power of dong-in (eastern faction) was shrinkened. In 1659, a big feud started among the nobles, and the reason was the length of the mourning after the second son of the King. Nam-in faction was victorious in it (2 year-long mourning) and the power of seoin waned for the time being. In 1680 nam-in were cut from the power after being accused of the conspiracy. The triumphant faction seoin split into two: noron (the old reasoning) and soron (the new reasoning). The former demanded the severe punishment for the conspirators, the latter were more lenient. In 1696, noron were accused of non-existent conspiracy and temporary shifted from the power, and some of them lost their lives as well. Soron faction's victory didn't last long, King Yeongjo (1724-1776) put noron back to the power. The law was strict: anyone who accused noron was sentenced. Soron revolted in 1728. They paid a high price for this mutiny, but in overall, Yeongjo's reign was peaceful (tangpyeonchaek).
During the events with Prince Sado, noron split into two smaller groups: pyeokpa (strict) and sipa (lenient), the former was tied to the Queen, King Yeongjo's wife (who hated the unfortunate Prince), the latter was tied to Princess Hong, the wife of Sado (she later becomes Queen Gyeonghui), who was the mother of future King Jeongjo.
Jeongjo died abruptly in 1800 and until today the reason for it hasn't been proposed. There are many theories, including poisoning. His lifelong wishes were never realized by his son, King Sunjo.
*Noron faction (노론;老論) : Old Doctrine, emblematic color at Korean court : white
*Soron faction (소론 ;少論) : Young Doctrine, emblematic color at Korean court : blue

So, as we see, Jaeshin, accusing noron faction of his brother's death, doesn't know the right history. Because soron party did revolt, and according to any law, the conspirators have to pay the price for it. But the personal grudge is another thing. He hates the fact that his father, soron, works for a powerful noron (who is by the way, the Devil himself). But the true is that Noron was behind his brother's demise, only he forgot that it was Soron who planned to destroy Norons earlier. So it's just a turn of the tide.

For more, read:
1. Kim Chungil, The History Of Korea, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2005
2. Clark Donald N., Culture and Customs of Korea, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2000
3. Kang Jae-un, The Land of scholars: two hundred years of Korean Confucianism, Homa & Sekey Books, 2006
4. The article, available for download: here^^, but the transcription is older, not the new one proposed last year as the revised romanisation. Interesting article though.

Hwaseong Fortress, built by King Jeongjo