Comparitive Essay Korea and China

Submitted By Benjamin-Liang
Words: 992
Pages: 4

Comparative Essay: Korea and Vietnam AP World History

As China started to take hold as a super power in Asia, even possibly in the world, from 500-1500 C.E. their influence started to grow on the Southeast Asian neighbors, specifically Vietnam and Korea. Interactions with China from 500-1500 C.E. has cause Vietnam and Korea to have striking similarities and difference. In both Vietnam and Korea after they became more independent from China, elites were the last to let go of Chinese’s culture. However unlike Korea, women status in Vietnam was better for women because they didn’t adopt the Confucian patriarchal values like in Korea. And after Vietnam and Korea started to get more independence from China, Vietnam created a government that was more similar to China than the Korean government that was just more Korean itself than Chinese. Elites in both Vietnam and Korea were they last to let go of Chinese culture and values when their societies started to grow off from China politically and culturally. In Korea after 688 the country’s political independence safe to say was intact and with this political stability Korea was able to develop its own cultural identity. In the 1400s Korea move toward a greater cultural independence by developing a phonetic alphabet called, hangul. Although hangul did take hold in the lower classes that were able to write and women who were able to write, the elite were hesitant to adopt it as they were long accustomed to and preferred the more prestigious Chinese character to write Korean. Similarly in Vietnam the elites were deeply rooted in Chinese culture, viewing their country as a southern extension of China. They didn’t take part in the practice such as cockfighting, chewing betel nuts, and worshipping female deities because these weren’t Chinese but rather Vietnamese things. The reason why the elites are so resistant to leaving Chinese culture is because they have more to lose if they leave their values compared to a commoner. These elites have spent a lot of money, time, and effort to send their children to schools to learn Chinese writing, Confucianism, and other Chinese values, while a commoner has most likely done none of that. So it is understand able why it’s easier for a commoner to leave Chinese value because the elite may have felt cheated or have wasted their money on education if they were to leave Chinese culture behind for a new contemporary one. Women status in Vietnam was better than it is in Korea. In Korea women right has shifted from the better to worse. Before the 1300s women were able to have free choice marriages where they can raise children in their parents’ home and sing and dance with other women in the late night. After the 1300s Chinese observers strongly disapproved of this and with the help of the Korean courts Chinese models of family life and female behavior were implemented. These models were based on Orthodox Confucian values where now wives belong to the husband family. After the 1300s practices such as husbands being buried in the sacred plot of the with the wife’s family, the remarrying of widows, and female inheritance of property have been eroded by these Orthodox Confucian values. However even though Vietnam adopted Confucianism there is still a greater role for women socially and economically, and as mentioned in the previous paragraph the Vietnamese believed in female nature deities and even a female Buddha. The reason why women status in Korea may have been more than Vietnam’s is because these Vietnamese were seen as more as barbarians and as typically seen barbarians in northern Chinese had a more relaxed society where the was no social distinction between men and women. Whereas the Koreans were more developed as they were able to fend off against the mighty Chinese and at the time the more developed the nation the patriarchal it was. That’s why