The Dual Phenomenon of Confucian Culture in Korea and China - The Death and Resurrection of Confucius

Park, YoungHwan

  • Received : 2019.03.07
  • Accepted : 2019.03.15
  • Published : 2019.03.31


Perhaps nothing more vividly illustrates the many different ways in which traditions can be interpreted than a study of the life of Confucius in modern times. In China and Korea, Confucian values and culture are dismissed and scorned during some periods and held up as facilitators of cultural prosperity in others. This changing perception of and attitude toward the Confucian tradition in modern society embodies the long life of the Confucian tradition and its continually evolving trajectory, as well as its versatility within shifting sociopolitical milieux spanning distance and time. In this paper, I investigate the (re)emergence of Confucius in modern Korea and China with a comparative and critical gaze. I demonstrate how different modern interpretations of Confucius, both negative and positive, in these two countries bring new life to the Confucian tradition within their own complex social realities. By focusing on the recent revival of Confucius in China-Anti-tradition of Korean dramas, the Restoration of Confucian Culture in China and Korean Wave, the modernity of China in Confucius are examined, and finally, in terms of the means of realization of the Chinese dream-I illuminate how the image of Confucius serves the (re-)invention of contemporary China, with her pervasive desire to romanticize and materialize China's past as well as her future.


Death of confucius;Resurrection of confucius;Korean wave;China;Korea