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Thursday, 21 November 2013

Confucian Confusions in Korea, Part VIII: Yerim Seowon, Miryang, Southern Gyeongsang


Yerim Seowon or Ryerim Seowon in North Korean Dialect (Hangul/Hanja: 예림서원 or 례림서원/禮林書院) is a former seowon in Miryang City, Southern Gyeongsang Province. It is located in the commune of Bubuk-myeon on the slopes of Mount Jongnam, in the valley of the Miryang River (Specific Location: 128 Yerim Seowon Road/YerimSeowonno, Husapo-ri 179-beonji, Bubuk-myeon, Miryang City, Southern Gyeongsang Province).

The Yerim Seowon was built in 1567 by Yi Do-woo to enshrine Jeompiljae Kim Jong-jik, a Confucian scholar and politician who was native to Miryang. At that time it bore the name "Deokseong Seowon." Jeompiljae Kim Jong-jik who sided with Sarim Faction was victimized by Hungu Faction and was subjected to death penalty by beheading during Moo-oh Literati Purge (1498) after he died due to lament for the righteous emperor which he innuendo King Sejo's usurpation party rivalry.

It is destroyed during Hideyoshi's Imjin Invasion of Korea in the 1590s, it was rebuilt in 1606. In 1669, it received a royal warrant. The seowon, like most of those across Korea, was closed by order of the regent Heungseon Daewon-gun in 1871. However, beginning in 1874 local scholars once again began to gather there, although it no longer served as a school. It continues in use as a shrine today, and was designated as the 79th provincial tangible cultural treasure of Southern Gyeongsang in February 16th 1974.

As religious masters of Sarim Yongnam Faction, he turned out many excellent pupils such as Kim Gwang-pil, Jeong Yo-chang and Kim Il-son who dominated the period and the descendants of them are paying tribute of his learning and virtue even today.