Saturday, December 8, 2012

Story of Gongmin & Choi Young as a Set Up in Faith


author: guadi

First, Goryeo under the Mongol influence.By the time the real Gongmin came into power, Goryeo was already on a path of decline. As you already know, Yuan Empire had a firm grip on the peninsula. Yuan also had to deal with internal conflicts within its boundary -- Yuan ruling class was comprised of the Mongols while the majority of the population was Han Chinese. That presented a problem and we later knew that the Ming would soon replace Yuan Dynasty. I can go on and on about the Mongol Empire, Genghis Khan and his descendants, but it's not really related to Faith at all, so I'll stop here. 

Needing resources to fight rebellions inside China, Yuan decided to imposed heavy tax collections among other things on the people of Goryeo. The story of a little girl to be sent to Yuan in Faith is historically accurate. Ki Chul's sister was sent there via this practice as well, except she got lucky, placed at a royal palace and her beauty won the heart of the Yuan Emperor of that time.

Second, Goryeo's ruling class. They comprised of the Military class, scholars, and landholding elites of different clans. In theory, the land of the nation belonged to the King. In practice, these elites held possession of these lands. They rented the property to the citizens and collected taxes off of that. In history, land possession was a major political/social/economic issue in pretty much every nation. 

Combined one and two together, you'll see the socio-economic problem that plagued the country. The people lost trust in the King. Wealth and possession earned were not enough to survive and on top of that they (people) had to send a portion of their hard earned living to the government and Yuan empire. Overtime, the people started losing faith in their leader. So Gongmin began his reign under very difficult circumstances as depicted in the story. 

Choi Young's background was also interesting. The military class of the time was also losing its influence. They were not revered by the people. Goryeo at the time was dominated by the practice of Buddhism, so there were certain aspects of the religion influencing the king's way of governing. Later under the Joseon Dynasty, Confucius served as a guide to nation's philosophical psyche. In theory, there are a lot of overlaps between Buddhism and Confucianism (I'm not an expert on these two ideologies, so I can't really explain clearly). The point is military class was starting to lose its influence in the government. We didn't see a king leading his men too battle all too often anymore like in ancient time.

So that's it. Some historical background on Faith. Just to make it clear, Faith is fictional. Not everything has to adhere to historical events and timelines, but the context/set-up/environment is true to the time period. I think with a historical knowledge, we can view Faith a little bit differently.

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