S-Space Kyujanggak Institute for Korean Studies (규장각한국학연구원) Korean Culture (한국문화) Korean Culture (한국문화) vol.61/64(2013)
조선 태종의 왕위와 왕통의 정당화
Joseon Taejong"s Justification of His Kingship and Legitimacy of Royal Line
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 규장각한국학연구원
- 한국문화, Vol.63, pp. 247-276
- 명분; 擇賢; 誥命; 王統의 정당화; 太祖의 인정; 畏天勤民; 惠政; 孝忠仁; moral cause; ”choosing the wise”[擇賢]; ”the official letter of approval”[誥命]; justification of Royal lineage; approval of Taejo(太祖); ”admiring the heaven and serving the people diligently”[畏天勤民]; the benevolent rule[惠政]
- Taejong’s inauguration had no technical issue because he had been installed as Crown Prince and ascended the throne in accordance with the “choosing the wise” rule by King Jeongjong who succeeded to King Taejo by primogeniture. But Taejong was conscious of the moral issues related with his inauguration because he had made Jeongjong King of Joseon by his coup d’état and forced him to abdicate against his will. And Taejong’s enthronement was not approved by his father King, Taejo. So he tried to justify his ascension to the throne in several ways.
The first action was to emphasize his installation as Crown Prince by the “choosing the wise” rule and the legitimacy of his Royal line by stressing his enthronement as a result of Jeongjong’s abdication. He declared that he will rule his people with Respect (敬) and Perfect Virtue (仁). He also tried to show his love of learning and acceptance of remonstrance, maintaining his royal causes.
Taejong also justified his kingship by reporting the official approval of his enthronement by the Ming government to Jongmyo(宗廟; the Royal Ancestral Shrine). The official written notification of approval by the emperor of Ming Dynasty was received in June 1401, which consolidated Taejong’s kingship and legitimacy of his Royal lineage. After this, he restructured the governmental system. Receiving the court robe (given to the Imperial Kings) from the Ming government, he installed his eldest son as Crown Prince to consolidate his kingship. Like a heaven – willed king, he promptly responded to and coped with natural disasters. In July, 1402, he even sobbed about the severe drought, attributing it to his weakness in moral virtues and mentioning his spontaneous abdication.
Next, he needed his father king Taejo’s approval because Taejo was alive then. The latter refused to admit Taejong as legitimate king of Joseon. With repeated efforts such as treating him as an abdicated King and respecting his will, Taejong finally succeeded in getting his constrained approval after the suppression of “Jo Saeui’s Revolt” in November, 1402.
With the second official letter of approval from the Emperor of Ming Dynasty in April 1403, Taejong restructured the governmental systems as he had done after receiving the first official letter. This means his new start as a legitimate and authoritative king with rightful kingship and Royal lineage.
Finally succeeding his moral issues concerned with his enthronement, Tajong formed a kind of authority to rule as a benevolent king based on his loyalty to the Emperor of Ming Dynasty, fulfilling his filial duty to Taejo, his father King. The next task for Taejong is to prove his cause for “choosing the wise”.