Traditional Legal Thoughts in Korea

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Choi, Chongko
Issue Date
BK 21 law
Journal of Korean Law, Vol.3 No.1, pp. 75-108
In spite of the scarcity of research related to traditional Korean law, this article attempts to offer a general overview of traditional Korean legal concepts for Western readers. It surveys the legal history of

Korea, from ancient times to the reception of Western law in the 19th Century. Due to Korea's geographic location--between China and Japan--Korean law holds many similarities to that of "East Asian Common Law." However, Korea has continuously endeavoured to indigenize imported foreign laws. The Tangun mythology offers the archetype of the Korean concept of law and justice. On the subject of medieval legal concepts influenced by Buddhism, Wonhyo, Choe Chiwon and Chong Mongju are mainly analysed. In regard to early modern legal concepts, the Neo-Confucianists Chong Tojon, Yi Hwang (Toegye) are discussed. When discussing the legal concepts of the late modern period, the Sirhak School, namely Yi I (Yulgok), Yi Ik (Songho), Chong Yakyong (Tasan) are analysed. Kang Hang, Yi Chinyoung and Yi Maegye are included due to their contribution towards "East Asian Common Law".

Each period had dominant morals and values that were enforced by the law. Whilst analysing the dominant legal values during the different periods, the article tries to offer a philosophical foundation of

traditional Korean law and East Asian jurisprudence.
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College of Law/Law School (법과대학/대학원)The Law Research Institute (법학연구소) Journal of Korean Law (JKL)Journal of Korean Law Volume 03 Number 1/2 (2003)
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