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Sunday, 22 June 2014

Confucian Confusions in Korea, Part XXII: Dongnae Hyanggyo, Busan Dongnae-gu

Dongnae Hyanggyo (Hanja: 東萊鄕校) in 103 Dongnae Avenue/Dongnaero, Myeongnyun 1-dong 235-beonji, Busan Dongnae-gu is a public Confucian academy endowed by the government during Joseon dynasty Korea. It may have originally been rebuilt in 1605 after the Japanese Imjin Invasion, but was moved several times since. The hyanggyo was moved to its present location in 1815. 

No records tell the exact time of the foundation of Dongnae Hyanggyo, but it is presumed that this was among those erected in the early Joseon period after the Court decided in 1392 (the first year of the reign of King Taejo Yi Seong-gye, the founding monarch of the dynasty) to build and operate Hyanggyo in each of major town across the country. At first a shrine school was built on the outside of the eastern gate in the Dongnae Eupseong (the site of Dongnae High school). 

It was burnt down during the Japanese Imjin Invasion (1592-1598). In 1605, it was rebuilt by Hong Jun, the Dongnae-bu Magistrate and was relocated several times thereafter. The present Hyanggyo is the one erected by the Dongnae-bu Magistrate, Hong Su-man, in 1813, in the 13th year of the reign of King Sunjo. The name of this place, Myeongnyun-dong, originated from Hyanggyo. Its function was a social enlightenment, with a memorial service for the saints and the teaching of Confucianism.

Hyanggyo usually consisted of a Daeseongjeon shrine dedicated to Confucian saints and sages, a Myeongr yundang hall where lectures were given, and Dongjae and Seojae dormitories for students. There were also other auxiliary structures such as warehouses. The two-storied gate of the Dongnae hyanggyo is called Banhwaru, a name denoting the importance of the cultivation of one's virtues, following the sages, and faithful service to the king. 

According to the Gyeonggukdaejeon (a historical book), there were one teacher per seventy students but In the Sokdaejeon, many officers came into being instead of a teacher. Also Hakjeon 7-gyeol (a kind of money) was paid to maintain and manage the Hyanggyo.

After the Gabo Reformation in 1894, its educational function ended as a new educational system went into effect. Now in the Dongnae hyanggyo, the Hyangsa (a festival held twice a year to honor Confucius) is held in February and August of the lunar calendar.