Organized Panel Session
Among myriad repercussions of Chosŏn Korea’s wars with Japan and the Manchus was a sizable population movement across borders. During the Imjin War (1592–1598), Japanese troops who deserted, defected, surrendered, or were captured started new lives in Korea as Hangoe (“surrendering Japanese”). Then in the era of Chŏngmyo War (1627), Pyŏngja War (1637), and thereafter as Manchus proceeded to found the Qing empire and conquer the continent, many Chinese of the crumbling Ming empire found refuge in Korea. Even after the Chosŏn court’s capitulation to the Qing, the Sino-Korean border region remained a fluid space where illegal movements of people and exchanges continued. Trauma and memories of wars heightened perceived significance of the border region for military defense while the state filled military positions, central and local, with individuals from all walks of life, including the Hangoe and Ming émigrés as well as their respective descendants. This panel assesses the impact of mid-Chosŏn wars on the Chosŏn military from three perspectives: (1) military obligations of Hangoe and their descendants, especially as local military officers (kun’gwan) in Kyŏngsang Province; (2) defense command magistrates (pusa) of Kanggye in P’yŏngan Province and Hoeryŏng in Hamgyŏng Province, all of whom regulated border-crossing activities of Qing and Chosŏn populations; and (3) contrasting fortunes of two Ming émigré-descent families in officialdom as affected by royal power and military examinations. An overarching aim of this panel is to free the Chosŏn military from a teleological narrative of failure vis-à-vis the impact of imperialism in the nineteenth century.