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Acta Koreana is published semi-annually on June 15 and December 15 by Academia Koreana, Keimyung University.
 
 
Title WAR AND “WAR EFFECTS”: THE SEVENTEENTH-CENTURY CHOSŎN ECONOMY AFTER THE IMJIN WAR OF 1592
 
Author
KIM SUNG WOO
Volume Vol. 18 No. 2
Pages pp. 483~520 (all 37 pages)
Publication Date DECEMBER, 2015
Keyword Imjin War of 1592, Yŏmin hyusik (Rest with the people) policy, belt-tightening policies, fiscal austerity, tax-cut policy, war effect, resurgence.
Abstract The Imjin War (1592–1598), which was one of the largest scale wars in East Asia engaged in by all three major East Asian Countries (Korea, China, and Japan), plunged the Chosŏn dynasty into its worst crisis. Unlike China and Japan, which saw extremely radical changes such as dynastic transition and shifts in political power in the wake of the war, Chosŏn remained unscathed by the political turmoil. It is a historical irony that Chosŏn could remain free from the impact of the war, in spite of the fact that it sustained the heaviest damage from the war. To understand this irony, it is necessary to note that those in the royal court, the ruling class and King Sŏnjo sincerely repented of their pre-war misdeeds, demonstrated their strong will to reform the government and sustained reform measures for a sufficient length of time.
The post-war restoration effort the dynasty carried out was the so-called Yŏmin hyusik (Rest with the people) policy and was modeled after the Yumin xiuxi 與民休息 policy that Emperors Wendi 文帝 and Jingdi 景帝 implemented in the early years of the Western Han Dynasty of China. As in the Chinese case, the Yŏmin hyusik policy increased agricultural productivity and the population as well as stabilizing Chosŏn society. Thanks to the reform measures, which were maintained for sixty years, the dynasty could recover without undergoing the political upheavals that took place in China and Japan. It was due to this politico-economic background that the dynasty could survive for 300 more years after the war.
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