Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Story of Chosun, Part 8

The story of Korea. Oppression and violence. Tears and struggles. Much like their life is this very day in North Korea, it has been in great measure for many centuries.

We were talking about invasions. Resistance to the constant raids of the Japanese became so low that the Japanese could easily work their will in the ports and coastal areas.

In 1236 the other invaders, the Mongols, withdraw, and summon the king of Koryo to Peking. The scattered people slowly return, as the king feasts and parties on his little island of Sangwha. This is another oddity of the Korean saga. So many of her leaders have been less than exemplary on the throne.

Following the death of the Mongolian Emperor, his queen presides over five years of peace,1242-46. But soon there is a new male who comes to power, bringing with him new hostilities against Koryo. Three years later, another death, another period of grace.

Then in 1251 the Emperor demands that the Korean magistrate leave Sangwha. He refuses. War is declared. Eight years later, King Ko-jang dies, the crown prince is sent to Peking, and his son, named "Sun", becomes the regent. Koryo and the Mongol Empire are still one.

In 1260 a personage familiar to westerners, Kublai Khan, sends the crown prince to Koryo to strengthen the vassal status of the much smaller Korean nation. All soldiers are recalled from the peninsula, and peace continues between the two.

In fact, the ties are so strong by 1267 that a decision is made by them to have a joint invasion against Japan, which continues its raids on Korean territory. This does not happen for another six years. And it fails. Japanese dominance of many near-Koryo islands is so great that the Mongolians fear at times that the Japanese and Koryo are in partnership.

In fact, throughout this period, many independent traitors and outright liars try to stir up problems between the Mongols & Koryo. The amalgamation of these two is just too much for some. Mongolia is too dominant for the traditional Korean mindset. Mongolia dress and hair styles prevail. Mongolian men take Korean wives.

In 1279, Mongolian influence is at its greatest. The Korean king cares not for his people, and lives in debauchery. Famine then comes to the kingdom again. The Mongols have to help Koryo with rice. The tragedy wears on and wears out...

In 1282, desperate, there is a second joint invasion of Japan. It is a horrible failure.

Hulbert, the author of the history we are following in this series, says: "When the Mongol troops went back home, their general told the emperor that the war had destroyed the crops of Koryo and that 100,000 bags of rice must be sent. The emperor consented, but when the rice arrived the officials and men of influence divided the rice among themselves, while the people went without."

Now, that has a familiar ring to it! In fact the whole history does, as I have suggested often. North Korea is only the latest tragedy of this tiny area of the world. I ask you to join prayer warriors all over the world to fight the real battle of this nation .

Look for Bob Faulkner's home page on There you will find a combination of love for the Scriptures and a desire for North Korean believers to have their needs met. There are nearly 300 blogs, over 200 Bible teaching MP3's, lists of resources, NK picture albums, and ways to respond to the overwhelming need in North Korea. Let's love Chosun together! Contact me any time at

And who am I? A man found of God over 50 years ago, called to the ministry, serving the Lord as needed in my world. Married, member of a local church in the Chicago area, with full time work in public education. Would love to fellowship with believers who respond.

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