S-Space Kyujanggak Institute for Korean Studies (규장각한국학연구원) Korean Culture (한국문화) Korean Culture (한국문화) vol.81-84(2018)
명종~선조대 압록강 방면 여진족 집단들과 조선
Joseon Dynasty and the Jurchens of the Yalu River Valley in late 16th Century
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 규장각한국학연구원
- 한국문화, Vol.83, pp. 265-307
- 대외정책; 변경정책; Four Abolished Counties; 廢四郡; Manpojin Hojisanggeo Burakdaso yeo Rojeongchogi; 滿浦鎭胡地相距部落多少與擄情抄記; Onhawi; 溫河衛; Jianzhou Jurchen; 建州女眞; Foreign Policy; Frontier Policy
- This article focused on the situation of the Jurchens on the Yalu river valley and their relationship with the Joseon dynasty from the reign of King Myeongjong (r. 1545-1567) to the eve of Nurhacis unification of the Jianzhou Jurchens in 1589. Though the late 16th century was a very important period for consolidation of Jurchen society on the north of the Yalu River, previous studies could not properly deal with this period from Joseons perspective, primarily due to the lack of relevant sources in Joseon Wangjo Sillok. This study tried a new approach with a newly explored source, Manpojin Hojisanggeo Burakdaso yeo Rojeongchogi (滿浦鎭胡地相距部落多少與擄情抄記, c1588).
In the late 16th century, Joseon dynasty continuously sought to expel the Jurchen people residing in the Four Abolished Counties (廢四郡) on the middle part of the Yalu River Valley. Although Joseon court refrained from taking specific measures on the Jurchen affairs during the reign of King Myeongjong, local officials kept trying to solve the problem by inducing the Jurchens to leave and intimidating them with reconnaissance missions. After King Seonjo (r. 1567-1608) took the throne, the central government enthusiastically tackled the matter, with help of capable commanders on the local ground. Though Joseon dynasty failed to drive all the Jurchens out from the south of the Yalu River, it successfully expelled a troublesome Jurchen group from Seohaepyeong (西海坪) area with constant military measures such as taking crops away before harvest.
On the other hand, according to Manpojin Hojisanggeo Burakdaso yeo Rojeongchogi, there resided more than 550 Jurchen households in 16 villages along the middle and upper Yalu River in the 1580s. While some groups in the Four Abolished Counties had military conflicts with Joseon from time to time, most villages in and out of the river maintained ordinary contact with Joseon military bases such as Manpo garrison (滿浦鎭) when they were not at war with Joseon. Also, several groups of the Jianzhou Jurchen north of the river visited Manpo quite regularly. Many Jurchens annually visited Manpo to receive welcoming banquets and buy necessary goods such as salt. Frequent contacts between Manpo garrison and the Jurchen villages suggest that Joseons relationship with the Jurchen groups in the Yalu River regions was not cut off in the 16th century and that Joseon local officials continued to collect information on them from their everyday contact with Jurchen visitors.
In a broader perspective, Joseons approach to the Jurchen problem basically didnt change from the 15th century: Stick and carrot strategy and ideological legitimation of its superiority. On the one hand, Joseon tried to drive them out from the Four Abolished Counties with use of military force. On the other hand, however, Joseon appeased the Jurchen groups along the Yalu River with banquets and markets on its frontier strongholds such as Manpo. Furthermore, Joseon regarded visits of Jurchens as their submission (歸順) to strengthen its ideological superiority over the Jurchen tribes.
However, there was a great transformation in Joseons approach to the Jurchen tribes in the Yalu River region. In the 16th century, the purpose of Joseons Jurchen policy changed from enhancing its influence across its border to maintaining the status quo on its northwestern frontier. With the Jianzhou Jurchen divided, Joseon dynasty had no need to actively interfere in Jurchen society. Naturally, local officials held more sway in Jurchen policy as the central government reduced its engagement in everyday events on the border. Planning and executing military operations, as well as receiving Jurchens who visited border bases, became primarily the duty of local officials. In this regard, there was a shift in Joseons relations to the Jurchens from a foreign policy to a frontier policy.