Wednesday, March 16, 2011

How South Korea Saved Confucianism

I knew that "an important memorial ceremony was held each year to mark [Confucius'] birth," and that "the Communist Party abolished this ceremony when it founded the People's Republic of China, and didn't revive it in Confucius's hometown of Shandong province until 1984," but I did not know this was only "after China sent a delegation to South Korea to re-learn the related rites," as Ting-I Su explains here — Confucius and the China brand.

I visited the Sage's hometown, Ch'üfu (or Qufu, if your prefer the totalitarian Pinyin romanization), in 1998, simply because it was halfway between Peking and Shanghai. Without quite knowing why at the time, I was moved to pay homage before Confucius' Tomb.

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Blogger Mark in Spokane said...

An interesting example of how a religious tradition can survive best outside of the nation that gave it life. Something similar, I think, can be seen with some of the magnificent language found in the Book of Common Prayer, particularly the collects -- many of which translate the Latin collects of the old Sarum liturgy from prior to the Reformation.

11:39 PM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

Indeed. Good example with the BCP, which Chesterton rightly said was not the first Protestant book but rather the last Catholic book.

One of the first people I met here in Korea was a Chinese exchange student who said he had learned traditional Chinese culture here.

10:10 PM  

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Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.