Donghak In The 1860's: A Korean Religion

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Donghak was a religion that emerged in the 1860’s as one of the first new religions in modern Korean history. It combined various aspects from many different Korean religious traditions such as Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism, Catholicism, and Shamanism. Its founder Choe Je-U founded Donghak out of resentment of foreign influence and oppression in Korea, the yangban class and opposition to Christianity, among many other things. In addition to being a religion, Donghak was also a political ideology that was concerned with the improvement of conditions for the laborers and reformation of the corrupt Korean government. In 1894, laborers started to rise up against the rich and corrupt landlords in addition to the ruling elite. The laborers…show more content…
Qing China responded by sending the requested soldiers to Korea. Japan, angered that Qing China had violated the Convention of Tientsin, also sent troops to Korea. The Convention of Tientsin was an agreement between Qing China and Meiji Japan. One of the stipulations of the convention was that neither country could send troops into Korea without notifying the other country. Qing China violated this stipulation when the sent troops into Korea without notifying Japan. The violation of the Tientsin Convention ultimately led to the First Sino-Japanese War. Once the Japanese and Chinese forces started entering the country, the Donghak rebels gathered in battle against the Joseon, Japanese, and Chinese troops, to drive the foreigners (being the Chinese and Japanese troops) out of the country. In the beginning of the battle, the rebels actually had the advantage. They were successfully defeating the Joseon army until the Japanese appeared. The Japanese had far superior weaponry, with their guns and cannons, compared to the rebel’s bamboo spears and wooden branches. The Donghak rebellion truly ended after the Battle of Taein, when many of the rebel commanders were either captured, killed, or hung for treason. At the same time, the First Sino-Japanese War had commenced. After six months of conflict, the First…show more content…
The rebellion contributed to the effort of Korean modernization by introducing the idea of democracy, the removal of foreign authority, and an end to feudalism. It can be argued that Korea did not become a modern society until after the First Sino-Japanese War in 1897, when Joseon Korea became the Korean Empire. The Korean Empire was formed when China lost the First Sino-Japanese War and Korea left the Chinese tributary system. It was dissolved in 1910 when Korea was annexed by the Japanese empire. The Donghak rebellion was eventually defeated by the joint efforts of the pro-Japan Joseon government and Japanese forces. Many of the demands of the Donghak rebels were not fulfilled until the Japanese orchestrated the Kabo reforms from 1894 to

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