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  • Writer's pictureGuy Shababo


This started during the work on my Ph.D. Dissertation. At some point I have noted that I list quite a few scholars and their teachers. Common wisdom think about these as binary trees of some sort. However, if we feed this information into any software that allow you to visualize networks (Cytoscape in this case) you find that this is not even remotely true. There is something organic about this network. It clusters and thrives at some points, and dwindles down on others.

In this case you see 191 scholars. From An Hyang (안향, 安珦; 1243 ~ 1306) to Yi Chinsang (이진상, 李震相; 1818~1886). Nodes denote scholars and edges are teacher-disciple links. Node color is generational. This is by far not an exhaustive list. The DB of Korean Classics, for example, contains 1,259 names, and not a fraction of all exam passers.

We can, however, learn some interesting facts from this. For example, the "bottle neck" in the 16th century. Both the yulgok and T'oegye school split from Kim Jongjik (김종직. 金宗直; 1431~ 1492), in this way:

Kim Jongjik 🠖 Kim Kŏngpil 🠖 Kim Anguk 🠖 Pak Ingŏl 🠖 Yi Yi

Kim Jongjik 🠖 Jŏng Yŏchang 🠖 Yi Ŏnjŏk 🠖 Yi Hwang

In other words, if we want to see this origins of the kiho/yŏngnam split, we need to investigate the early 16th century, around the reign of Yŏnsan'gun.

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