This paper was published in <Sungkyun Journal of East Asian Studies>, Vol. 2, No. 1, 2002, pp. 210-233


  The first stages of Lee Tongin’s career (1878-1880) – the forerunner of  “dependent    development”?    


                                                                                      Vladimir Tikhonov (Oslo University, Norway)


 With the gradual weakening of Neo-Confucian orthodoxy and the growth of Sirhak (“Practical learning”) movement, long-absent interest in Buddhism started to develop among the minority of more open-minded Confucian scholars, famous calligrapher and writer Kim Chŏnghŭi (1786-1856; known as “the Vimalakirti of the Eastern State”) typifying the new generation of the literati more open to Buddhist ideas[1]. The gradual decline of yangban -centered class system and consequent increase in the social position of traditional urban “middle-class” groups (chungin, etc.) who remained in closer contacts with Buddhist circles, enabled some non-yangban lay Buddhists (Yu Daech’i, an Oriental medical doctor of chungin background; O Kyŏngsŏk, a chungin interpreter, and others) and even Buddhist monks to play prominent role in the early radical “Enlightenment” movement (1870th-1884)[2]. Younger yangban-progressives (especially Kim Okkyun), who were guided by chungin Yu Daech’i (? -1884) and Buddhist monk Lee Tongin (? -1881) into new and unknown world of modernity, seem to have even conceived of Buddhism as a substitute for outdated Neo-Confucian ideas, an ideological tool for making society more equal[3]. So, Buddhism, after a long break, again became, at least partially, what it was before the start of Neo-Confucian persecutions under Early Chosŏn kings – an important actor not only on economical but also on ideological stage. In the atmosphere of the renewed interest to Buddhism and its proponents on the part of fledgling progressive circles, it was only natural that some socially engaged monks would have made certain efforts towards the contacts with supposedly more “advanced” foreigners, the object of the “progressives”’ interest – first and foremost, with Japanese (due to the relative absence of serious linguistic and religious barriers – common knowledge of classic Chinese and Buddhist background of Japanese facilitated the communication). Such efforts would naturally have been expected by the monks’ progressive yangban allies who inherited from their Sirhak predecessors much more open and interested attitude to Japan than that typical for contemporary Chosŏn society as a whole. As the analysis of their reports shows to us, the younger yangban members (mostly moderate progressives) of 1881 Courtiers’ Observation Mission to Japan perceived Meiji Japan rather as a possible (although very controversial) models of partly successful “self-strengthening” and a victim of the West’s high-handed “gunboat diplomacy” than as a threat to Chosŏn’s sovereignty[4].

At the same time, the socio-politic and economic character of those first modern encounters between the representatives of two long separated branches of East Asian Buddhist tradition was necessarily shaped by the new position of Japan versus Korea as the newest (and the only in East Asia) member of the “European club” of supposedly “civilized” capitalist nations striving, in anticipation of Western competition, to carve out its own colonial/semi-colonial “sphere of influence” while simultaneously ruining the traditional “tributary” international order of the region. Korea – along with Taiwan, the first candidate for adding to Imperial Japan’s “modern” political and economic peripheral dependency zone, for obvious geographical and political reasons – was, after signing of unequal Kanghwa Treaty (1876), exposed both to the economical penetration of Japanese manufactured goods (in fact, mostly European goods shipped by Japanese traders) and the religious/cultural/ideological penetration of the “ideological apparatus” of Meiji state. By latter, I mean both the dominant ideological paradigm of the Meiji state (the idea of the superiority of “modernized” Japan to its still “barbaric” and “feudal” neighbors, and the believe in the necessity of Japanese “guidance” over them for the sake of their “de-barbarization”), and the concrete ideological institutions (Buddhist missions, “Enlightenment” new-type schools, etc.) whose aim was, with full use of Japanese newly-acquired comparative economical advantage, to make the Korean counterparts to internalize this paradigm, willingly acknowledging the inferior position of Korean periphery to the Japanese “core”. In the process of imposing Japan-centered and Japan-designed schemas of “modernized East Asian community” on the Korean progressives, the ambiguity of the latter’s own blueprints for Korean “Enlightenment” (result of long political and cultural isolation of Korea from the developing world capitalist system), as well as Japan’s deeper, older, and wider mastery of the Europe-related knowledge and skills, were taken fullest advantage of. As a result, from the beginning of the 1880th, the positive, but vague interest towards Japan likely inherited from later Sirhak thinkers was, in the cases of key early radical “Enlightenment” leaders (first and foremost, Kim Okkyun, Pak Yŏnghyo, and Yu Daech’i), gradually replaced with almost unquestioned acceptance of general Meiji ideological paradigm, together with firm and complicated economical and political ties of highly unequal nature. In a sense, early radical “Enlightenment” leaders were “perepherized”/”marginalized” by the Japanese “core” even before the same fate befell the rest of the country in the process of pre-annexation (1910) Japanese penetration into all walks of Korean life. And, due to a fateful combination of the early radical “Enlightenment” leaders’ keen interest in Buddhism (stemming largely from Sirhak roots), increased social and economic activity of the elements of Korean Buddhist community, and Japanese strategy of using Buddhist missionaries for the sakes of East Asian expansion (closely paralleling Western use of Christian missionaries in colonial undertakings)[5], the role of “bridge” in subordinating early Korean “Enlightenment” leaders to Japanese ideas and interests was played by several “progressive” Korean monks, co-opted into the Japanese “sphere of influence” (both in economic and ideological sense) already in 1879-1880. Among those “progressive” monks, Lee Tongin is the best known, largely due to his exceptional closeness to Kojong in January-March of 1881 (unthinkable for a “base” Buddhist monk in the Neo-Confucian polity) and the diversity of his diplomatic assignments. This presentation, however, focuses mainly on the first steps of Lee Tongin’s exceptional career (1878-1880). The main aim of the present inquiry is to better understand the character (ideological and socio-economic) of Lee Tongin’s relationship to his Japanese Buddhist sponsors, as well as Lee Tongin’s real position in contemporary Korean Buddhist context. Such understanding is indispensable for grasping the nature of the later relationship between the Japanese and the early radical “Enlightenment” leaders of Korea, and, in perspective, should provide a basis for discussing the dialectics of desired “self-strengthening” and practical acceptance of peripheral status in the Korean “Enlightenment” movement as a whole. At the same time, materials on Lee Tongin’s contacts with the British diplomats in Japan (Satow’s papers) can lead to the assumption that Lee Tongin was also exploring the possibilities of tying Korean not to semi-peripheral (from the viewpoint of contemporary world-system as a whole)[6] Japan, but directly to the foremost imperialist power of the day, the Great Britain.  

Many modern South Korean Buddhist historians treat the contacts of Korean Buddhists – first and foremost, that of Lee Tongin, - with early Japanese resident Buddhist missionaries in Chosŏn as a “prelude” to the “Japanization” of Korean Buddhism, a “first link” in the chain of fateful event which eventually led to the “pro-Japanese degradation” of, and “racial treason” by the Korean monks[7]. While basically agreeing that Lee Tongin did play the role of an “agent of influence” of sorts on the early stage (1876-1882) of modern Japanese penetration into the Peninsula, I doubt whether Lee Tongin’s activity as a whole, with its mainly entrepreneurial and diplomatic character, can be treated as a part of Buddhist history of Korea at all. As I will show below, Lee Tongin’s presumed first place of Buddhist residence, Samsŏngam near Seoul, was a newly built hermitage sustained and patronized mostly by lay believers, and without firm connections to any established Buddhist lineage. In addition, we have no definite information on when, how, where, and by whom Lee Tongin was ordained into monkhood, and have ample reasons to hypothesize that he was not properly ordained at all. Lee Tongin did not leave any materials enabling us to judge his Buddhist doctrinal views. At any case, he did not wear monk clothes after entering Seoul and establishing his residence in Min Yŏngik’s house in September 1880 (monks were still prohibited from entering the capital). Buddhism served to Lee Tongin as a stepping stone for forging important relationship with Yu Daech’i, pro-Buddhist yangban “Enlightenment” leaders, and, of course, Japanese Buddhist missionaries”, but hardly motivated Lee Tongin’s activity as such. Lee Tongin’s case, in effect, shows well how flexible was the status of a Buddhist monk in Late Chosŏn Korea, how easy was to enter a monastery for certain time and then to leave it. The wholesale “Japanization” of Korean Buddhist community seems to have begun in earnest only after the time-honored prohibition on monk’s travels to, and residence in the capital was lifted in 1895 with Japanese missionary help, and early contacts with adventurous individuals of Lee Tongin’s kind did not seem to play any serious role in that process. Although stubbornly perceived as a Buddhist personage both by South Korean critics (who view him as “number 1 Buddhist pro-Japanese collaborator”) and admirers (clinging to the more established image of “Buddhist Enlightenment figure”), Lee Tongin hardly was, in reality, a part of contemporary Buddhist milieu, and hardly should be treated as a part of Korean Buddhist history.        


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Serious enhancement of Buddhism and Buddhists’ political, social, and cultural role seems to have drawn attention of Meiji Government and influenced its decision to actively utilize the services of Japanese Buddhist missionaries with a view to win over the sympathies of Korean Buddhists circles and use the latter as a tool of imperialist penetration on the Peninsula. In mid-1870th, when Japan started its intrusion into the Peninsula with conclusion of Kanghwa Treaty and subsequent opening of Pusan to the Japanese, most Japanese Buddhist sects, and especially Higashi Honganji branch of the Amidaist Shin sect, greatly pleased with the end of the persecutions of early Meiji period, were more than ready to support the governmental policies through missionary work and international propagation of Japanese Buddhism, both to the Christians of the West and Buddhists of China and Korea. In case of Higashi Honganji branch, it shown rare enthusiasm in the participation of Meiji government efforts to colonize Hokkaido even in the darkest days of the persecution of 1868-1872, striving to prove its adherence to the largely traditional idea of the “Non-duality of the defense of the state with the protection of Buddha-Dharma”[8]. So, it came as no surprise that Honganji administrative head, Kennyo, instructed by then Home Minister Okubo and Foreign Minister Terajima, quickly dispatched priest Okumura Enshin to open a missionary center (literally, “branch temple” – betsuin) in Pusan in October, 1877, almost immediately after Pusan was opened to Japanese. Officially stated aim of the opening of the center was to propagate Buddhism among the Japanese residents of Pusan, but real intention of Okumura and his superiors was to forge the relations with the Korean “progressives” inclined to Buddhism, and, ultimately, to utilize the progressives’ interest to Meiji reforms in the course of penetration into Korea.  

One of Okumura’s first victories came in 1878, when a young and energetic Korean, Lee Tongin, came to his center. And here we encounter first mystery accompanying Lee Tongin’s life story. According to the official compilation on the missionary work in Korea by Higashi Honganji branch, <Chōsen kaikyō gojūnen shi> (<The Records of 50 Years [after] Commencing Mission to Korea>; 1927), Lee Tongin was first introduced to Okumura on December 1, 1878, in “the morning of bitingly   cold day” (p. 137). Still, Okumura’s original diary contains intriguing record: “1878, June, 2nd. Monk of Samsŏngam Hermitage in Kyŏnggi Province came and discussed the principle of the Shin Sect the whole day. Then paid homage to Buddha and withdrew (later note: that was Tongin)”. The record for the next day (June 3rd) tells us that Okumura “again conversed by the brush with Samsŏngam monk” and then lent him  <Shishi Yaolan> (Jap.: <Shakushi Yoran>; written in 1019, printed in 1026)  - famous brief Buddhist encyclopedic work in 3 volumes by Song monk Daocheng, popular both in Korea and Japan (Taishō – 2127). The reason for omitting the record of this first visit from the official historical compilation of the sect was, most likely, the fact that Lee Tongin did not introduce himself under his real name on that first meeting. He seemed although to have disguised the real motives for the visit as well, preferring to choose Shin sect principles – and not political issues in which he had real interest – for the first conversation. We may surmise that the first visit to the Japanese mission was a kind of “reconnaissance” on the part of Lee Tongin who most likely wanted to collect on-the-spot information on the intentions of the Japanese Buddhist missionaries.

Next appearance of Lee Tongin is recorded in the diary not under the 1st, but under the 9th of December 1878. Now Lee Tongin is introduced not as Samsŏngam, but as T’ongdosa monk. He stays in the mission for three consecutive days, and continuously “converses by brush” with Okumura, asking the latter how “to protect the state and restore Buddhist sect” (very similar questions – about Chosŏn’s preposterous isolation and Chosŏn Buddhism’s pitiful position - were customarily asked to Okumura by many other Korean monks in that period, as Okumura’s diary shows). We have the reasons to surmise that “state protection” (i.e. political matters) was much more important topic for those talks than Buddhist sectarian matters, for, as the above-cited official compilation on the missionary work in Korea says, “[Lee Tongin] always spoke on the political matters and, while explaining international relationship, never mentioned Buddhism”. In this context, it does not seem too strange that he also “earnestly requested” to be allowed to see Japanese military vessel (this wish was realized on December, 11th). After this, Lee Tongin took his leave from the mission. He seemed to have been remembered by Okumura with considerable respect and interest: in the above-cited official missionary history, he is characterized as the man who “always was concerned with the love of his country and protecting the [Buddhist] law”. This standardized phrase could only mean that Okumura and his superiors approved Lee Tongin’s political views and wished to use the Korean monk in the framework of their religious structure, in full accordance with the sect’s doctrine of the “inseparable nature of the protection of the [Buddhist] law and protection of the country”. The opportunity to do so presented itself very soon: in the intercalary lunar month (between march and April), 1879, Lee Tongin comes to Okumura’s mission again, and, by Okumura’s recommendation, holds important talks with newly appointed Japanese Minister to Korea, Hanabusa, who was on his way to Seoul. Lee Tongin goes back to Seoul in early summer, but soon, in mid-June, returns to Okumura’s mission, and starts decisive talks on the undertaking legally prohibited and practically very risky in that time: illegal trip to Japan. 

  Still, before moving to this, most significant page in Lee Tongin’s meteoric career, we should try to make clear an important point in Lee Tongin’s biography: of what monastery the adventure-loving monk was a resident? One intriguing feature of Okumura’s diary is that in the first record on Lee Tongin (1878, June 2nd) the Korean monk is said to be a resident of Samsŏngam in Kyŏnggi province, but then, the next record (1878, December 9th) tells us that the adventurous monk’s abode was famous T’ongdosa – in close vicinity of Okumura’s mission. Other Japanese records also point to T’ongdosa as Lee’s native temple, but Korean documents mostly describe him as a resident of either Pŏmŏsa in Pusan (even close to Okumura’s place than T’ongdosa) or Pongwŏnsa on the northern outskirt of 19th C. Seoul (Lee Nŭnghwa, <Chosŏn Pulgyo T’ongsa>, Vol. 2, p. 898-899; <Sŏ Chaep’il paksa chasŏjŏn>). Interestingly, Korean journal publications of the colonial time usually referred to Lee Tongin as “Hŭngguksa monk”, Hŭngguksa being a temple on the slopes of Mt. Suraksan in the vicinity of the capital, traditionally patronized by the royal house[9]. As we can note, there was no unity on Lee Tongin’s exact place of residence even among his contemporaries, but they were seemingly unanimous in describing him as either Seoul area or Pusan resident. Later, E.Satow remembered that Lee Tongin had introduced himself as “Seoul native” (see below). Still, given the fact that monks had no legal right to reside inside the walls of the capital city at that time, it seems more plausible that Lee Tongin was originally a Pusan monk (actually, Sŏ Chaep’il remembers him as introducing himself as a Pusan native and ascribing his Japanese language proficiency to this fact) who went to reside in Kyŏnggi monasteries after already having made certain connections with the Japanese residents of Pusan area. As we can know from many contemporary sources (frequently cited <Tongsa yŏlchŏn> by Pŏmhae Kagan, 1820-1896), vagrancy from one temple to another was more or less an accepted and possible style of living for Late Chosŏn monks.

    The fact that in the vicinities of Seoul Lee Tongin chose Samsŏngam for his residence seems to be extremely important. Samsŏngam (today’s address: Seoul, Sŏngbuk-ku, Suyu-dong; affiliated to Hwagyesa: <Han’guk minjok munhwa taebaekkwa sajŏn>, 1991, Vol. 11, p. 340) was built by a group of devout lay Buddhists (kŏsa) – including Pak Sŏnmuk and Ko Sangjin, who afterwards became monks, among its leaders – in 1872 and first called Soranam, officially changing its name into Samsŏngam only in 1882. From the first beginning, the temple - as well as other temples in Pukhan Mountain area, notably Kamnoam, - was a center of predominantly lay cult of Bodhisattva Kwanseŭm, being a place were Kwanseŭm-related devotional texts were preached by the members of laity Buddhist organizations (notably, the famous Myoryŏnsa)[10]. Other important object of the cult, particularly for Samsŏngam, was Naban-chonja, the ”solitary saint” – Late Chosŏn popular variation of arhan Pindola-bharadvaja, to whom the ability to save the devotees in the era of the “end of the Law” was commonly attributed. Actually, the name of Samsŏngam most probably pointed to the “three saints” (Samsŏng) of popular “shamanized” Buddhist pantheon: the Spirit of Mountain, the Seven Stars of the Great Dipper, and the ”solitary saint”.  As is well-known, laity organizations and their devotional cults (mostly centered on Kwanseŭm and Amit’a, but on Naban-chonja as well) were one of the most important features of late 19th C. Chosŏn Buddhism, with its acute sense of imminent social crisis and emphasis on the popularized soteriology. Pak Sŏnmuk – on whose initiative Samsŏngam was established – is known also for the translation into vernacular of some devotional texts (“Ryukcha taemyŏngwang t’arani-gyŏng”; 1908) and editing and publishing of others (“Yaksa yurigwang yŏrae ponwŏn kongdŏk kyŏng”/ ”Bhagavan-bhaisajyaguru-vaidurya-prabhasyapurva-pranidhana-visesa-vistara” – “Original Vows of the Seven Medicine-Master Buddhas of Lapis Light “; Taishō – 503; republished in Seoul in 1938). In 1920th, he was the abbot of other Seoul temple, Ibamsa, and an attempt made on his temple by a bandit’s gang was once reported in the newspapers (“Chosŏn Ilbo”, 1923.04.06). His activity in connection with Samsŏngam is known mostly from the later manuscript on that temple history, <Hwagyesa Samsŏngam Chunggŏn’gi> (1943), by Kim T’aehŭp (1899-1989). The mention of Lee Tongin’s connection with Pak Sŏnmuk’s temple enables us to surmise that Lee Tongin also was somehow related to the popular laity devotional movement of that period[11]. Other important point related to the issue of Lee Tongin’s Samsŏngam connection is whether the temple built just 6 years before Lee’s first visit to Okumura by lay devotees of Kwanseŭm could have any professional and high-qualified monks among the residents. We will return to this issue later.

    The fact that Lee Tongin was widely believed to be a resident of Pŏmŏsa is also highly significant. Along with other suggested abode of the enigmatic adventurous monk, T’ongdosa, that Pusan temple was among the largest and richest in the southern provinces. In 1871, the temple possessed about 1300 majigi (turak) of the fields, plus approximately 2000 majigi owned by various affiliated hermitages. The wealth was chiefly amassed by the donations of the fields for conducting posthumous sacrificial services (chejŏn), as well as by the donations by temple-affiliated popular devotional guilds (Mit’agye, Ch’ilsŏnggye, etc.) and commercial services for the peasantry (rice-milling, etc.)[12]. The rich temple was keenly interested in the enhancement of the social status of Buddhist community, which could save it from the depredations of the local officialdom, and the tales of newly acquired semi-official status of Meiji Buddhism as “state-protecting native religion” were obviously fascinating for them. It comes as little surprise that revered Pŏmŏsa monks figured largely among the first visitors to the territorially close Okumura mission. For example, famous Pŏmŏsa preceptor, monk Honhae (Buddhist name – Ch’anyun; ?-1912; teacher of Kim Kuha and Pak Poryun), made his first visit to Okumura on February 9th , 1878 (almost immediately after the opening of the mission), and then made repeated visits in June and December, 1878, exchanging expensive gifts with the Japanese. Given the fact, that Honhae’s visit to Okumura’s mission predates that by Lee Tongin, we can plausibly surmise that the idea of forging the relationship with the Japanese could be suggested to Lee by either Honhae or other Pŏmŏsa colleagues; at any case, Lee Tongin’s visit to Japanese mission should be understood as a part of general interest in, and tendency to enter into closer contacts with the Japanese Buddhism prevalent among the Pŏmŏsa milieu around 1878. It does not seem entirely implausible that Lee Tongin, a Pusan native (if Sŏ Chaep’il’s version is to be believed) spending his time in Samsŏngam near Seoul in close contacts (or as a part of) lay (kŏsa)[13] Buddhist movement, could return to Pusan following the rumors of the opportunities for closer contacts with the Japanese monks there, and then could use Pŏmŏsa monks (Honhae, etc.) as intermediaries in approaching Japanese Buddhist missionaries. But why was Lee Tongin so anxious to enter into contacts with Okumura and use it as an opportunity to make a trip to Japan? 

    According to Okumura’s diary (June 1879, first decade), Lee Tongin was trusted and “promoted to the responsibility” by the “revolutionary party members”, Kim Okkyun and Pak Yŏnghyo, because the monk’s “patriotic” and “Dharma-protecting” intentions, as well as his views on the “decay of the fortunes” of Chosŏn state, were in full harmony with the ideas of the Enlightenment leaders. The trust of the “revolutionary leaders” seemed to have been deep indeed, for Lee Tongin could shock the Japanese monk, showing to him four approximately 6-santimetres long rods of pure gold and telling that Kim and Pak had given the precious metal for travel expenses. At this point, we encounter an important question: was Lee Tongin acquainted with the would-be Enlightenment leaders before the beginning of his contacts with the Japanese, or did he contact the yangban leaders of incipient Enlightenment movement after already securing Japanese connections, in the position of possible “bridge-builder” between the reformist nobles and the Japanese? In the former case, we can speak about the Enlightenment neophyte from the very beginning trying to make the inroads into the outer world for the benefit of his group. But in the latter case, we have the grounds to characterize the adventure of “bridge-building” between the Seoul yangbans and Japanese missionaries as possibly just a self-seeking “middlemanship” of an entrepreneurial treaty-port resident, the more so as the trip to Japan sponsored by the Seoul circle of the would-be “revolutionaries” was, as we will see later, also a very profitable commercial enterprise.

      For several reasons, I am inclined to agree with Lee Kwangnin in assuming that ideological connections – and the bonds of personal loyalty – between the Pusan monk and his Seoul sponsors were extremely deep[14]. First, according to the papers of Ernest. M. Satow (1843-1929)[15], the Second Secretary at the British Legation in Tokio (1880, May 12), Lee Tongin, at the first meeting, explained to him his Japanese name, Asano (朝野), as ”Korean savage” (朝鮮 野蠻人). Such cultural self-effacing shows Lee Tongin as a person with very un-orthodox thinking, if the standarts of intense cultural pride (bordering on self-aggrandizement) typical for the educated mainstream milieu of the 1870th are taken into the consideration. Self-denigration of the above type was only possible in the heterodox Sirhak milieu (similar self-critical expressions can be found in the books by Pak Chiwŏn and Pak Chega, in the context of the comparisons with Ch’ing culture unfavorable for Chosŏn), which also undeniably influenced Kim Okkyun’s circle. In the refutation of traditional “culturalist” superiority ideas, Lee Tongin seems to have been incomparably more radical than even the famous mentor of Kim Okkyun’s circle, Pak Kyusu (1807-1876), who considered Korea’s erstwhile honorary name, “The Land of Rituals and Righteousness”, to be shamefully Sino-centric and “hardly suitable for pronouncing proudly in the world” (<Pak Kyusu chŏnjip>, Vol. 2, Chapter 8, pp. 558-559). Second, the idea of the development and commercial exploitation of Chosŏn’s mineral and botanical recourses (gold, coal, ginseng) through the improvement of communications and trade Lee Tongin stressed at the second meeting with Satow (1880, May 15) – and expressed in his speech to the Japanese “Rise Asia Society” (Kōakai) even earlier (1880, April; see below) - was first generated by the late 18th – early 19th Sirhak milieu (especially influential was Pak Chega) and afterwards enjoyed popularity inside the Enlightenment circle. Third, if Lee Nŭnghwa’s information that Lee Tongin’s friend and fellow traveler, Paektamsa monk T’ak Chŏngsik (Mubul), was first met by Kim Okkyun in Hwagyesa temple to which Lee Tongin’s Samsŏngam was very close (officially affiliated from 1884) is to be believed (<Chosŏn Pulgyo T’ongsa>, Vol. 2, p. 899), the Buddhist connection between Kim Okkyun – an avid and sincere lay Buddhist believer – and Lee Tongin (and possibly the whole circle of Samsongam lay devotees) is also worth considering[16].

      In a nutshell, Lee Tongin’s connection to Kim Okkyun and Pak Yŏnghyo seems to have been based on the ideological affinity (and possibly also personal loyalty and religious sympathy), and the trip was undertaken not only for commercial gains (although, as we will see, this aspect was also quite important), but, as Lee Tongin said to Okumura, basically for “inspecting Japan’s situation and contributing to Chosŏn’s changes”, as a “reconnaissance mission” of sorts prompted and sponsored by Kim Okkyun-Pak Yŏnghyo’s circle. At the same time, the connection between Lee Tongin and reformist yangban circle hardly predates 1879 (as Lee Kwangnin argues, using several important documental evidences), and the choice of the “reconnaissance agent” by the Kim-Pak group was crucially influenced by the fact that Lee – unlike other members of the circle – already had the experience of contacting the Japanese (in June 1878), as well as by ideological and possible religious affinities.  The version of newly-founded (1882, March 1) Japanese newspaper, ”Jiji sinpo” (1882, September, 11), – according to which Kim Okkyun met Lee Tongin accidentally, but found the monk’s convictions very close to his own, spent 10 days with the new friend, obtained a solemn oath of allegiance from him, and then went into serious pains in order to supply the new ally with travel expenses – seems to be trustworthy, although slightly romanticized and dramatized. Given the fact that the newspaper was published by the famous reformer; Fukuzawa Yūkichi, who knew Lee Tongin personally (see below) and was keenly interested in his fate, the article seems to be reliable, at least, partly. Basically, Lee Tongin, with his already formed Japanese connections and monk’s status, could undertake – and indeed undertook – the trip Kim Okkyun intensely wished to make himself, but could not, due to the limitations of his official position[17].                                       


  After having secretly sailed to Japan in June 1879, Lee Tongin – whose first place of residence  (from June 1879 until April 1880 – approximately for 9-10 month) was Honganji temple in Kyoto - immersed into Japanese language study and was busy inspecting various aspects of Japanese society. He did find time, in the meanwhile, to send a letter of gratitude (with elegant classical Chinese poem on Buddhist topics) to Okumura on November 13, 1879, and to purchase newly printed books on modern subjects for Kim Okkyun and Pak Yŏnghyo (books were sent through Okumura himself in May 1880, when Okumura went back to Chosŏn). After Okumura himself arrived to Honganji on March 19, 1880, Lee Tongin was quickly re-ordained as a Shin sect novice (April 5, 1880), taken to Tokyo (April 6, 1880), and introduced there to Foreign Ministry dignitaries (April 9-11, 1880), as well as to Fukuzawa Yūkichi and other important personalities interested in “Korean reforms”, - or, in more realistic terms, making Korea to follow Japanese model of reforms in close subservience to the Japanese Government. As it is well known, while living in Asakusa branch temple of the sect in Tokyo, he succeeded on August 11, 1880 in winning the confidence of Kim Hongjip (1842-1896), an important member of “moderate reformist” group who came then on a mission to Meiji government and, in accordance with time-honored precedent, stayed in the same Asakusa branch temple. The circumstances of their meeting gave later ample grounds for suspicions about Lee Tongin’s political background and the character of his Japanese connections. According to Okumura’s diary (record for September 28, 1880), in the course of the negotiations with the Korean envoy in Tokyo, the Japanese representative, Hanabusa, was in despair, because the Korean counterpart did his best to avoid the talks on the opening of Inch’ŏn Port firmly declaring the issue to be “above his competence”.  As the last measure, Hanabusa asked the abbot of the Asakusa branch temple (Suzuki) to secure Lee Tongin’s help in the matter of persuading the stubborn Korean envoy, and Lee Tongin readily agreed to do this service, citing his indebtedness to the Higashi Honganji sect as the main reason for his brave resolve  (technically, he was a criminal who left the country in violation of all existing laws, and had all grounds to expect, at best, very cold treatment from an official Korean envoy). Lee Tongin – who seemingly had distinguished social abilities – presented himself to the envoy in best possible way: wearing Japanese monastic clothes, he first greatly surprised Kim Hongjip by speaking in details on Korean situation in impeccable Korean, and then kneeled to the envoy and, in tears, explained that he committed the crime of illegal emigration only “for the sake of inducing our country to civilization” and that Hanabusa’s intentions are sincere and to be trusted. Then, tells the diary, Kim Hongjip, greatly moved, praised Lee Tongin’s ”patriotic” intentions, included him into the ambassadorial retinue, and started to show more flexibility in dealings with Hanabusa; the latter, in his turn, began to value greatly Shin sect’s missionary efforts and abilities.

If Okumura diary’s account is to be taken at face value, Lee Tongin certainly can be considered a Japanese “agent of influence” of sorts faithfully performing the missions forced onto him by his patrons to whom we was so indebted. In the light of this record in Okumura’s diary, even the version of Song Kŭnsu (1818-1902)’s <Yongho hallok> (chapter 23), according to which Lee Tongin was just a Japanese spy – and very probably Korean-speaking Japanese himself – seems to have been based on some well-founded suspicions[18], although the monk’s Korean origins are doubtless. But it is also quite easy to note that Okumura – more precisely, the abbot of Asakusa branch temple who related to the missionary the story – was certainly seriously exaggerating the importance of Lee Tongin’s intervention into Kim-Hanabusa talks, in apparent attempt to emphasize the sect’s – and its missionaries’ – contribution to the successes of Japanese foreign policy. In fact, as it is long proven in the literature on the subject, really decisive influence on formulating Kim Hongjip’s position in the process of talks was exerted by Chinese diplomats in Japan, Ho Ju-chang and Huang Tsun-hsien, who did not consider Japan (unlike Russia) a serious threat for Chinese position in Korea and approved of closer relationship between the two countries; a humble monk, Lee Tongin was hardly in any position to seriously change Kim Hongjip’s basic stance on key foreign policy principles. As to the question of opening of Inch’ŏn, Lee Tongin’s pro-Japanese maneuvering in Asakusa also did not seem to play any decisive role: the Japanese demands on the issue were rejected by the court conference on October 11, 1880, and accepted, with certain provisos, only after new round of negotiations between Kim Hongjip and Hanabusa in Seoul in December, 1880[19]. Moreover, the main motive behind Lee Tongin’s brave decision to approach Kim Hongjip seems to be the monk’s ambitious wish to play certain political role at Korean court, rather than simple “gratitude” to his Japanese hosts. Still, it is undeniable that at least on the surface Lee Tongin accepted the role of the “agent of influence” his Japanese sponsors wanted him to play. What motives, and what designs for Korean-Japanese relationship could be behind this acceptance?

The circle of the Japanese contacts of Lee Tongin was fairly wide, and it hardly surprises: the figure of the first Korean studying in Meiji Japan could be a legitimate object of interest for the groups of very diverse orientations. It is well known, that, for example, Lee Tongin was the first Korean ever to meet with Fukuzava Yūkichi (1835-1901), and that was he who first introduced the famed Japanese theoretician and educator to Kim Okkyun and Pak Yŏnghyo[20]. But the group that left the extant written traces of its contacts with Lee Tongin was Kōakai  – “Rise Asia Society”, known as first collective proponent of the ideology of Pan-Asianism in Japan. The Society – organized several month after Lee Tongin’s coming to Japan, in 1880, - consisted largely of the followers of popular politician Ōkuma Shigenobu (1838-1922) who wrapped their ambitious expansionist designs (basically grounded in the idee fixe of obtaining the equality with – and possibly even superiority to – the Western powers through carving Japan’s own “sphere of influence” in the adjacent region in the same imperialistic fashion) into the florid phraseology of “defending the Three States of East Asia from the Western encroachments” and “promoting the solidarity between the peoples of the same culture”. Those ideas – later (1885) summarized, in somewhere more radicalized form, by Tarui Tōkichi in his ill-famed “Daito goho-ron” envisioning the future Japanese colonization of Korea and expansion into China - drew largely on the racialized Social Darwinist prospective of the “inevitable racial rivalry as ultimate manifestation of the struggle for survival”, and were solidly grounded in the superiority complex of the “modernized” Meiji Japan towards its supposedly “less advanced” neighbors, considered now “natural objects” of Japan’s own “civilizing mission”. For the period, the “asianist” discourse was by no means limited to the selected individuals – crucially important politicians of the caliber of Iwakura Tomomi (1825-1883), the de-facto head of the government in the late 1870th  (whom Lee Tongin visited on November 17, 1880, according to Satow’s papers) also subscribed to the idea of the desirability of Asia expansion, to ensure the treaty revision and offset the advancements by the Western powers, should the opportune moment present itself. Active participation of the Chinese diplomats – especially the Minister, Ho Ju-chang (he addressed the first session and helped to set up the Chinese language school of the society) – that gave the “Rise Asia Society” its international credentials can be explained by the fact that, although the Japanese annexation of Liu-Ch’iu (Ryūkyū) heightened Li Hung-chang’s vigilance against possible Japanese encroachments on what China traditionally had considered its own “tributary” area, Japanese threat was still considered by both Li and Ho relatively unimportant in comparison with Russia’s “ominous designs”, and the idea of “balancing” Russian “threat” by the use of nascent Japanese power persisted in Ch’ing diplomatic circles. The recognition of the seriousness of Japanese challenge to Chinese “suzerainty” over Korea came much later, after the direct confrontation between Chinese and Japanese troops in the course of failed pro-Japanese coup in Seoul in October 17-19, 1884.

Still, activity of Lee Tongin in the “Rise Asia Society” – as judged by the text of his presentation to a session of that Society printed in “Kōakai hokoku”, Vol. 4 (1880, May 14)[21] – betrays the ambitions going much further then Li Hung-chang and Ho Ju-chang’s idea of playing the less dangerous Japanese “barbarians” against the most sinister Western (particularly Russian) ones. Bluntly criticizing the Queen Min’s circle for the total monopolization of state power and extremely inefficient decision-making and policy implementation, Lee Tongin suggested that, for achieving the Meiji ideals of “fukoku kyōhei”, Korea should repair roads, thus securing the unimpeded access of the Japanese merchandise from the treaty ports to the hinterland, and also obtain a loan from Japanese government for developing mining and reclaiming new land. Lee Tongin’s suggestions, albeit welcome for his Japanese hosts from the Society, ran totally contrary to Kojong’s stated policy goals of 1880 (the aim of Kim Hongjip’s visit to Japan in August, 1880 was to agree on imposing tariff on Japanese merchandise, but not to facilitate its way onto Korean inland markets), as well as to the popular Korean moderate reformist opinion of the time (former chusa Yu Wansu was suggesting in his memorial in September, 1882, to build a steamer and raise capital by lending it to Korean merchants rather than by foreign lending: <Sŭngjŏngwŏn ilgi>, 19/9/6). Later, after being promoted (February 5, 1881) to adviser (ch’ammogwan) of the newly-founded Office for the Management of State Affairs (T’ongni Kimu Amun, established in 1881, January 20), Lee tried to put his project into practice, spearheading – without much eventual success - the efforts to raise the loan from the Japanese for purchasing Japanese gunboat (the talks with Hanabusa were held on February 20-28, 1881: <Nihon gaikō bunsho>, Vol. 14, pp. 290-303). After the Imo military mutiny (June, 1882), Lee Tongin’s ideas on obtaining the loans from Japan became one of the important items of the policy of radical Enlightenment circle members, Kim Okkyun and Pak Yŏnghyo, in power. Other idea Lee Tongin mentioned in his presentation to the Society and later strived to implement practically (partly successfully – later “Courtiers’ Observation Mission” to Japan was largely prepared by his efforts) was to send several dozens of Korean students to Japan to study diverse subject ranging from accounting to diplomacy, for Japan was “to be taken as example, model, and the guiding spirit for Korean reforms”. The conclusion of this presentation was the statement that only “brotherly” Japan was able to “defend” Korea from “Western humiliations”, and that it was much more moral to share the profits of development with Japanese “brethren”, not Western “aliens”. Future Diet member and devout Pan-Asianist, Suehiro Shigeyasu (1848-1896), could have all reasons to state in  “Chōya sinbun” (1881, May 6) that Lee Tongin – who presented his paper wearing Japanese haori, and in very good Japanese, -  ”did say nothing different from the thoughts of the members of our Society”. Lee Tongin’s blueprint for “Korean-Japanese cooperation” really had all features of the detailed plan of Japan’s penetration into Korea, financial, economical and educational, under the pretext of “Western threat to Asia” much favored by the Kōakai activists. What, besides quite natural feeling of being overwhelmed by the Meiji achievements and practical dependency on Okumura’s sponsorship and cooperation, could lead Lee Tongin to the wholesale adaptation of Kōakai expansionist ideals?

The pioneering trip to Japan and subsequent relationship with the Japanese (primarily, Okumura) enriched Lee Tongin and his Korean associates – first of all, rich and entrepreneurial chungin physician, Yu Daech’i, - not only intellectually, but also in quite literal economical sense of the word. During his first tour to Japan, Lee Tongin used his time for buying lots of “Enlightenment” goods – including glasses, matches (unknown before in Chosŏn Korea), spyglasses, lamps, watches, calicos, and photographs of stately European buildings (partly received as gift from Satow) – which partly were for selling in Seoul, and partly for presents to the leaders of Enlightenment circle (who, expectably, commissioned more from the entrepreneurial monk and pre-paid the order: <Sŏ Chaep’il paksa chasŏjŏn>, pp. 60-64). Satow’s papers also give the grounds to think that the English diplomat who assiduously studied Korean at that time (with Lee Tongin’s help) commissioned Korean monk to bring more Korean vernacular books to him in Japan, and gave some money for that purpose (letter, 1880, July, 19). But really large-scale trade between the Enlightenment circle and its Japanese sponsors started after Yu Daech’i was introduced to Okumura by Lee Tongin’s letter (October 4, 1880). From Yu Daech’i’s letters to Okumura dated by October 6 and November 1, 1880 (lunar calendar), we know that Korean physician loaned the necessary starting capital for launching trade with the Japanese from Okumura, and had to pay monthly interests on the loan through his trade associate, hyangho Lee Taedong from Wŏnsan. Yu Daech’i shipped to Japan (through Okumura) cow’s bones (used for making fertilizers and special ointment), and received shipments of Western calicos from the Japanese, for sale to the Korean retailers (the letters are currently in Kim Ŭihwan’s private collection)[22]. The trade continued well into 1881, largely conducted, on Korean side, by Yu’s son-in-law, Kim Ch’anghŭi. Yu’s exports – sold in Nagasaki through Okumura’s friends – were chiefly Korean honey, silks, and beans, while imported were mostly European (chiefly British) manufactured goods; Lee Tongin, during his visits to Japan, greatly helped to conduct the trade. The value of goods traded in this fashion – of course, without paying taxes to Korean government, in violation of the contemporary rules on taxing Korean merchants in treaty ports, - in one year amounted approximately to 5,000 nyang – enormous sum for that time. [23]  Given the fact that, expectably, Yu Daech’i – seemingly in attempt to collect money for the planned political actions by his yangban associates in the Enlightenment circle – imported European manufactured goods through Japanese middlemen and exported chiefly Korean natural products, his trade activity can be, with certain reservations, defined as a form of early “comprador capitalism”, typical for the areas affected by the rapid expansion of Europe-centered capitalist world system in late 19th C. Lee Tongin’s contacts with William Keswick (1834-1912) the Yokohama representative of the famous British firm, Jardine, Matheson & Co ( Satow’s papers, 1880, May 20), as well as his attempts to arise Satow’s personal interest in Korean ginseng trade (Satow’s papers, 1880, May 15), obviously were aimed in making this kind of “comprador” trade more profitable for the Korean side by circumventing the Japanese intermediaries and buying the European manufacture directly from European wholesalers – the idea Lee Tongin formulated in his conversation with Satow himself (Satow’s papers, 1880, May 15). Still, absence of treaties with the European powers and general low level of European commercial interest left Yu Daech’i and Lee Tongin with the Japanese as the only accessible partners for the “comprador” trade in Korean resources. In this respect, Lee Tongin’s exceptional readiness to serve as Hanabusa’s “agent of influence” in contacts with Kim Hogjip, as well as his propensity to “out-Japanize the Japanese” in the talks on “Korean enlightenment” at Kōakai, are largely explainable by this peculiarity of his socio-economic standing: his – and his friend Yu Daech’i’s - planned illegal “comprador” trade with the Japanese completely depended on Japanese loans and Okumura’s cooperation as intermediary. With perhaps an element of excessive speculation, Lee Tongin’s views on Korean “reforms” – centered around the development of exportable recourses, Japanese trade, loans and education – can be understood as very crude “draft” of the political program of incipient Korean pro-Japanese “comprador” capital, indeed as first plan of “dependent development” in Korean modern history.                       

  It is also important to note, than, while publicly vowing “to struggle against the alien Westerners” under “brotherly Japanese” guidance, Lee Tongin also lost no time trying privately to forge the closest possible personal contacts with the “alien” British representatives (he met Satow almost every day in July, 1880, teaching Korean to the British diplomat) and to persuade them to take active stance in diplomacy and trade with Korea. Assiduously concealing (for understandable reasons) his close relationship with the British from the Japanese, Lee Tongin went as far in his pro-British activities as to accept, with the approval of Satow’s superiors, the duties of Britain’s agent in Korea (Satow’s papers, 1880, July, 19). To Satow, Lee Tongin once confessed that he would wish the British to make an “imposing demonstration” of military might to Korean Government, to force the latter to conclude the treaty with Britain (Satow’s papers, 1880, November, 15); his insistence on the priority of establishing relationship with Britain put him eventually into inimical relationship to his initial patron, Kim Hongjip (who, in consistence with prevailing Chinese and Japanese opinions, was more in favor of forging relationship first with the USA and Germany), and could have been one of the factors leading to the sudden disappearance of the adventurous monk[24]. What – except the aforementioned interest in direct trade in European goods with the major producers, the British, - could attract Lee Tongin to the dangerous role of the advocate for the relationship with Britain at the Korean court in 1880-1881? While in Japan, he could have grasped the position of Britain as foremost contemporary industrial and maritime power, the main architect of the “unequal treaty system” in the East Asia. He seemingly had the tendency even to exaggerate the British influence on East Asian diplomatic affairs: his suggestion in the second conversation with Satow (1880, May, 19) that Li Hung-chang’s letter to Lee Yuwŏn (1878, September) had been written under the influence of the British diplomacy was based on misinformation and misperception (Li’s insistence on the establishment of Korean relations with Britain was based on Li’s own ideas on the “balance of power”). While talking with Fukuzawa, Lee Tongin also could have been influenced by the latter’s perception of Britain as the “most advanced”, “quintessential” “civilized” state. At any rate, Lee Tongin assumed (basically, correctly) that Britain stood at the pinnacle of the contemporary pyramid of might and influence, and, in ideal case, wanted Korea to enter British, rather than “self-peripheral” Japanese, sphere of influence, perceiving himself as potentially key figure in this alliance. His allegiance to his Japanese benefactors was, in this respect, totally different from the “brotherly affection” he assiduously tried to feign: the adventurous Korean was searching for new “senior state” for Korea outside traditional Sino-centric paradigm, and already was informed enough to understand the difference between the European “core” and Japanese “semi-periphery” and the possible benefits of direct dependence on the “core”[25]. Still, Lee Tongin’s quest for non-Japanese, “core” patrons – which can be understood as early harbinger of later pro-American line of some of the Independence Club members – was doomed to failure at that point of time, mostly due to the lack of active interest on the British side. It shows, however, that Lee Tongin’s willingness to “develop” and “civilize” Korea in the framework of the world capitalist system was not limited to Japan’s nascent colonial/semi-colonial “sub-system” in the East Asia; on the contrary, the Korean monk was actively searching for the “vertical” ties with the “core” centers Japan itself was still largely dependent on.                  

                                                             .              .             .


 On returning to Korea (September 28, 1880), Lee Tongin, as Kim Hongjip’s protégé, was influential in conducting negotiations with Ch’ing and Japanese representatives, and actively participated in preparations for establishing diplomatic relationship with the USA. Lee played then crucial role in introducing young Korean radical reformers (and Yu Taech’i who was much older than youthful “progressists”) to Okumura (who served then as one of the main middlemen in their relations with Japanese diplomats and traders), Fukuzawa (who became their ideological mentor) and Kōakai, and in preparing large Korean inspection mission to Japan (Courtiers’ Observation Mission) in 1881. Still, Lee’s perceived failure to secure the purchase of a gunboat from Japan, and important differences in important differences in foreign policy views between him and Kim Hongjip prompted the latter’s followers to arrange Lee’s assassination (1881)[26]. In Chosôn Korea, a monk’s life did not cost much and was not firmly protected by either low or custom. Besides, Lee Tongin’s own predisposition to vanity and bragging (he was proudly presenting himself as “king’s secret emissary to Japan” to the jail warders in Tongnae who arrested him on espionage charges on December 18, 1880), as well as his love of bombastic and careless talks (at second meeting with Satow, he told the British diplomat that Korean government should be overthrown) could also contribute to his untimely death: Kim Hongjip and other key figures in Korean diplomacy had all reasons to fear possible leaking of state secrets by emotional and impulsive monk[27].  After Lee’s disappearance, contacts of Kim Okkyun-led radical reformist group with the Japanese went on along the lines first designed by Lee: securing the Japanese loans, importing Japanese technology and arms, and introducing early Meiji ideas to the country, the youthful “radicals”, knowingly or unknowingly, were laying the cornerstones of the future dependent development of Korean polity and economy inside Japan’ “sphere of influence”. Okumura’s activities in Pusan, as well as missionary work in Korea by other Japanese sects[28], continued after Lee’s death on even larger scale, and the failure of the Japanese-assisted radicals’ coup d’ėtat attempt in 1884 did not stop it.  

The life of Lee Tongin – “base” monk from a small obscure semi-shamanist hermitage turned criminal (his first trip to Japan was punishable offence), and royal advisor on foreign affairs/secret emissary in one person; first Korean to go to study in modern Japan, and first Korean to have close personal relationship with a European diplomat – symbolizes very well the ambitions and aspirations of the oppressed and struggling religion at the stage of the crisis of oppressive Neo-Confucian order. Still, it should not be forgotten that the main premise Lee Tongin build his worldview and his ideas on Korean future on was the strictly hierarchical picture of the world (doubtlessly, strongly influenced by the ideology of traditional East Asian “tributary” order, with the “senior” place taken from China and given to either Japan or Britain), in which Korea was assigned to secondary and dependent role. While accepting the logic of “technical” modernity - the necessity to develop modern means of transport or mining, - Lee Tongin was seemingly uninterested in democratic or nationalistic features of European “modernity” paradigms, and this feature was largely shared by his comrades in early radical “Enlightenment” circles. Lee Tongin and his colleagues from the “Enlightenment” circles envisioned “reforms” as enforced from above by the state power (with which they closely associated themselves), and were content to see foreign blueprints and guidelines (with foreign interests beyond) imposed on Korean “reform” process from outside, from the hierarchical center of the world-system they wanted Korea to join. The comparative lateness in the development of more self-assertive, self-centered and socially and politically inclusive visions of Korean past and future by “Enlightenment”-oriented Korean intellectual elite (Buddhist circles included) can be considered one of the important factors in the ultimate failure of the successive Independence Club and Self-strengthening movements to prevent the Japanese colonization of the Peninsula.      





[1] Han Kidu, Chosôn hugi sôn pulgyo-ûi hûrûm (The Currents in Zen Buddhism in Late Chosôn Period), - <Sôn-kwa tongbang munhwa> (<Zen and Oriental Culture>), Seoul, Korean Association for Buddhist Academic Exchanges, 1994, pp. 243-262.

[2] Yu Yôngik, <Han'guk kûnhyôndae sa ron> (<On Modern and Contemporary Korean History>), Seoul, Ilchogak, 1992, pp. 92-93.

[3] Hwang Sŏnmyŏng, <Chosŏnjo chonggyo sahwe sa yŏngu> (<The Research on Religious and Social History of Chosŏn Dynasty>), Seoul, 1992, p. 321.

[4] Hŏ Donghyŏn, 1881 nyŏn chosa sichaldan-ūi hwaldong-e kwanhan yŏngu (A study of the Activities of the Courtiers Observation Mission of 1881), - <Kuksagwan nonchong> (<The Journal of the National history [Compilation] Committee>), Vol. 66, pp. 27-41.

[5] Choe Byŏnghŏn, Ilche pulgyo-ŭi chimtu-wa singminji pulgyo-ŭi sŏngkyŏk (The Penetration of Japanese Imperial Buddhism and the Character of the Colonial Buddhism), - <Chesamcha hwantaepŏngyang hangukhak kukche hweŭi. Hangukhak nonchong> (<The 3rd Pacific and Asia Conference on Korean Studies. The Collection of Korean Studies Papers>), 1996, pp. 97-98.  

[6] On the rise of Japan to the semi-peripheral position after the Meiji restoration, see: A.Y.So, S.W.K.Chiu, <East Asia and the World Economy>, Sage Publications, 1995, pp. 70-111.

[7] Im Hyebong, <Pulgyo sa paek changmyŏn>, p. 276.

[8] Brian Victoria, <Zen at War>, N.Y., Weatherhill, 1997, pp. 16-17.

   Choe Byŏnghŏn, Op. sit, p. 100.

[9] Kim Chingu, Kim Okkyun-gwa Pak Yŏnghyo (Kim Okkyun and Pak Yŏnghyo), - <Samchŏlli>, Vol. 15, 1931; Kwansangja (lit. Physiognomist; identity unknown), Kakkye kakmyŏn cheil mŏnjŏ han saram (The Pioneers in All Strata and Spheres), - <Pyŏlgŏngon>, Vol. 16-17, 1928. Kim Chingu even describes the meetings of the young reformers in Hŭngguksa after Lee Tongins return from Japan.

[10] Kwŏn Sangnos <Complete Collection of Korean Monastic Materials> (<Hanguk Sachal Chŏnsŏ>; published by Tongguk University Publishing Department, 1979) describes the site of Samsŏngam as the place where prayers never stopped and fragrant incense was continuously burned, thus confirming that it used to be one of the sacred places for the popular Buddhism. Also,  Samsŏngam is said to have been built after 3-day intensive prayer meeting, basically as a local prayer center (pp. 600-601).


[12] Chŏng Gwangho, <Hanguk pulgyo chwegŭn paennyŏnsa pyŏnnyŏn> (<Chronicle of the Last Century of Korean Buddhism>), Inha taehakkyo chulpanbu, 1999, pp. 376, 396.

[13] Kwansangja, in <Pyŏlgŏngon>, even describes Lee Tongin as a young Confucian scholar (sŏsaeng), who spent his time living in monastery. Kwansangja, Op. Sit. 

[14] Lee Kwangnin, <Kaehwadang yŏngu>, Ilchogak Publishers, 1973, pp. 14, 22-23.

[15] The excerpts from the papers of E.Satow related to Lee Tongin (mostly letters to W.G.Aston, then British Consul in Kobe) are published under the title Lee Tongin-e kwanhan Satow-ŭi munsŏ in <Sahak yŏngu> (<The Historical Studies>), vol. 31, pp. 121-135. Originals are kept in the PRO (London), ser. 30-33 (the letters to W. G. Aston: P.R.O.30/33/11/2, 3).

[16] Hwagyesa was known in late 19th C. as a temple, closely connected to the royal family. Its Myŏngbujŏn (The Underworld Pavilion: the pavilion dedicated to the 10 kings of the underworld) possesses the calligraphic hanging board by Taewŏngun (1820-1898; Kojongs father) and the mineral springs in the temple area are famous as the place favored by Taewŏngun for his rest. Taewŏngun was also known as one of the sponsors of the temples reparation in 1866, while other sponsors included Queen Dowager Cho of the mighty Pungyang Cho clan. See: <Hwagyesa: Silchŭk chosa pogosŏ> (<Hwagyesa: Survey Report>), Seoul City, 1988, pp. 47-53. Hwagyesas prominence in the court life evidently made the temple a favored destination for the elite reformers, who reportedly used to visit it, mostly for rest and recreation. One of Kim Okkyuns youthful followers, Cha Hongsik (18), later executed for his part in the abortive Kapsin Coup, was said to have been originally a Hwagyesa monk, who had met Kim when the latter came to rest in the temple for 10 days. On having become Kims personal servant and follower, Cha even followed him during his trips to Japan, serving as a cook. See: <Chuan kŭp Kugan> (<Investigation and Trial Documents>), Vol. 30, Asea Munhwasa, 1978, p. 604. Thus, it looks quite probable that the first meeting between Kim Okkyun and Lee Tonggin could have taken place in Hwagyesa during one of the formers trips there. 

[17] Ibid, p. 50.

[18] <Hanguk saryo chongsŏ> (<The General Collection of Korean Historical Materials>), Vol. 25, 1980, p. 452.

[19] Kim Kei-hyuk, <The Last Phase of the East Asian World Order>, University of California Press, 1980, pp. 291-300.

[20]  Ku Sŏnhŭi, Poktaek Yugir-ŭi taejosŏn munhwa chŏngnyak (Fukuzawas Cultural Strategy towards Korea), - <Ilche-ŭi taehan chimnyak chŏngchaeksa yŏngu> (<The Research on the Aggressive Policies of Japanese Imperialism towards Korea>), Seoul, Hyŏnŭmsa Publishers, 1996, p. 125. 

[21] Lee Kwangnin, Hanguk kaehwa sa-ŭi chemunje (The issues in Korean Enlightenment History), Ilchogak Publishers, 1986, pp. 3-14.

[22] Han Sŏkhŭi, <Ilche-ŭi chonggyo chimnyak sa> (<The History of Japanese Aggression in Religious Sphere>), Transl. from Japanese by Kim Sŭngtae, Kidokkyomunsa Publishers, 1990, p. 45. 

[23] Ibid, pp. 46-47.

[24] Lee Kwangnin, <Kaehwadang yŏngu>, p. 107.

[25] In fact, the beginners level of Japans modern development was quite obvious and visible for a traveler to Meiji Japan of late 1870s early 1880s. The modernizing state was plagued during 1878-1881 by enormous inflation, had (by 1881) only about two hundred miles of railway in operation (Tokyo Yokohama line, built with heavy British assistance), and employed very high number of foreigners as ship captains, technicians and engineers, thus visually demonstrating its technical dependency on Europe. The early Meiji landscape, although changed by telegraph lines and first modern buildings, was still mostly populated by peasants and traditional craftsmen: modern private sector employed only about 200 thousands people in the early 1880s. See: P.Duus (ed.), <The Cambridge History of Japan>, Cambridge University Press, 1986, Vol. 6, pp. 386-407.

[26] Okumura Enshin, Chōsenkoku fukyō issi (The Korean Missionary Diary), - <Shinshūshi shiryō shūsei> (<Collection of Materials on Shin Sect History>), ed. By Kashiwabara Yūsen, Dōhosha Publishers, 1975, pp. 456-477. 

[27] The journal authors of colonial period tended to consider Lees sudden disappearance an assassination by the conservative officials. See: Kwansangja, Op. sit.

[28] Im Hyebong, Pulgyo gye-ûi chinil inmaek (Pro-Japanese Networks in [Korean] Buddhist Circles), - <Yôksa pipyông> (<The Historical Review>), Vol. 22, 1993, pp. 81-83.