Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Story of Chosun, Part Six

In world history it is now the entry into the "Dark" or "Middle" ages. Romanist priests throughout Europe and Buddhist priests in the far-eastern nation which will one day be Korea,

But there is political trouble in the East also. A tribe called the Khitans in the northern part of the Korean peninsula continues to aggravate the area and seek dominance. They attack their southern neighbors (Koryo, eg) in 1010 with an army of 400,000, and are even successful until they reach the capital Pyongyang (still capital of North Korea). They are resisted and beaten back.

But every year they try again, and every year Koryo, heir of the old "Korguryo", ancestor of modern Korea, appeals to China, and is denied by same. Many thousands continue to die. China today seems to be ignorant of Korean woes also, as it sends NK refugees back to certain tragedies in their own land. China then and China now is for China.

In 1019, Koryo wins a major and decisive battle, gaining kudos from surrounding regions. All of this with no help from big Sister. By 1020 there is a formal peace with the Khitans. So much for negotiation being better than might.

Enter a new, but really continuing, struggle, between Confucius & Buddha. It is frustrating to see Korea trying to choose between two equally damning philosophies. One might appreciate the high moral standards of one like Confucius, the problem being that the wise one did not die for his people, and unless someone can be counted on to be the sin-bearer, all the wisdom and morality under heaven will be to no avail.

In 1032, Khitan threatens again. A certain bridge is left standing by the people of Koryo and the Khitan kingdom is insulted. An attack is considered. And while they consider, Koryo builds a wall from the Yalu River (present northwestern boundary of North Korea,) across the peninsula to the Japan (East) Sea! Appeasement is not their style.

Ironically, after China has denied Koryo any assistance for so many years, she has the boldness in 1077 to ask Koryo to aid against Kitans, who now threaten a weakened Empire.

One more note of interest in the 11th century. In 1093 a 2nd capital now appears in Koryo: Han-yang . Today we call this city Seoul. It is the capital of South Korea.

Century twelve sees the continued rise of Koryo, but with continued conflict with challenging neighbors. A splinter group of the Khitans, the Yujin tribe, receives a welcome visit from a monk of Koryo. He marries there. A couple of generations down, one related to him, Agolta, actually becomes the chief of that tribe. In 1114 the Yujin tribe breaks away altogether from the Khitans, eventually even conquering them.

So Koryo has a dangerous neighbor to the north again. Much later in the century, Cho-Wijong of Pyongyang rises up, gathers a following, fails in a bid to threaten Koryo. In fact, the king of Koryo lays siege to Pyongyang, starving its residents. A famine even leads to cannibalism, as we have seen in the modern version of this land today.

Eventually the rebels are defeated and scattered, the whole country is in a state of anarchy. And the king, like Nero of Rome, parties through the entire debacle. Once again we are reminded of modern times and the present reign of a dictator who lives like the richest of the world's monarchs while his people suffer and die.

The history of Korea is a sad story, century after century. Next time: enter the Mongols. Things don't get better.

Only Christ can save a Korean heart. Please pray for more and more of Jesus to be sent to more and more Koreans.

Category: NK: History

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 , ovber 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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