What is the meaning of Okinawa within the larger frame of East Asian politics, and why has it proved such a thorn in Tokyo’s and Washington’s sides? The island is the largest of the Ryukyu chain, a broken necklace of coral reefs and rugged, volcanic islets that curves for some 700 miles across the East China Sea, from just below the tip of Kyushu in the north to Yonaguni in the far south, from which on a clear day one can see Taiwan. The Ryukyus were settled by the same mix of seafaring peoples that populated the southern islands of Japan, and the languages have a common parent-stock. Okinawa itself is about 70 miles long, and rarely more than seven miles wide; it lies in the typhoon path, some 400 miles from the coast of China’s Fujian Province, 800 miles south of Tokyo, roughly on the latitude of the Florida Keys. Granite slopes, green with sub-tropical vegetation, rise from clear seas; there are spectacular natural anchorages. The soil is poor, and what little cultivable land there is yields a hard living. Yet for centuries the island thrived as a way-station for maritime trade along the eastern Pacific. Intrepid Okinawan mariners ventured down to Indo-China and up to the Yellow Sea.
Envoys from the Ming Emperor had first reached Okinawa in 1372, and actively encouraged the island’s trade. Ryukyuan leaders thenceforth participated in the rituals of the Chinese tribute system: travelling every two years to the Imperial court to make their kowtows, and be royally fêted in return, while taking advantage of the many opportunities for informal trading along the way. Tributary gifts were supposed to be native produce, but an exception was made for the Ryukyu Kingdom, which had so few resources of its own—sulphur, copper, shells—yet could offer such dazzling luxury imports. The warehouses in the harbour town of Naha stored rare timber, spices, incense, ivory and sugar from the Indies and beyond; swords, textiles, ceramics, Buddhist texts and bronzes from Korea or Japan to be shipped to China; brocades, medicinal herbs and minted coins going the other way.
The sailors brought stringed instruments and dances from Malacca and the Indies which the islanders adapted to their own legends. Ryukyuan masonry became a high art, the heavy local stone carved into sturdy yet graceful ramparts and bridges. Above the harbour, the palace complex of Shuri Castle commanded a panoramic view over the ocean and the distant islands. Its steep stone walls and ceremonial gateways enclosed lacquered reception halls, gardens, shrines and the private apartments of the king, his wives, courtiers and concubines. The leading English-language historian of the island, George Kerr, has described the sophisticated society created by a population of perhaps 100,000:
It was a toy state, with its dignified kings, its sententious and learned prime ministers, its councils and its numerous bureaus, its organization of temples and shrines and its classical school, its grades in court rank and its codes of law, all developed in an effort to emulate great China. 
The Ryukyu Kingdom’s trade with Japan—the only power in the region to defy Imperial China—was supervised on the Shogun’s behalf by the Daimyo of Satsuma in southern Kyushu. This involved a second set of tributary relations. In the 1590s, the King of Ryukyu politely declined to support Hideyoshi’s planned assault on Korea and China. As a reprimand, the Daimyo launched a hundred-strong armada of war junks against the island in 1609. His forces looted Shuri Castle and took King Sho Nei prisoner. The terms of his ransom were an annual tribute, amounting to nearly a quarter of the tiny kingdom’s revenue, to be paid in perpetuity to the daimyo of Satsuma. In addition he would henceforth control all the Ryukyu Kingdom’s overseas trade—and, after 1634, exploit it freely to circumvent the Tokugawa Shogunate’s seclusion edicts, which closed off trade to the rest of Japan. The Ryukyuans turned to Peking for help, but the enfeebled and embattled late Ming court felt neither obliged nor able to inconvenience itself for a subordinate state.  Ryukyuan merchant shipping declined, weakened not only by Japanese rake-offs and the disruptive effects of the Manchu take-over in China, but by European penetration of the East China Sea, bringing with it missionaries, guns and demands for trade.
By the early 1800s, Western interests—American, Russian, British, French—were converging on Japan, hoping to prise open its ports by diplomacy or force. The Ryukyu Kingdom was an obvious—and defenceless—launch pad for such an attack. In 1853 Commodore Perry dropped anchor in Naha, hoping to establish a military base. The White House thought it would be ‘inconvenient and expensive’ to maintain such an outpost, however, and the Commodore sailed on to Edo and a larger prize, having granted the little state recognition with the 1854 Ryukyu Kingom–United States Friendship Treaty. From Japan’s vantage point, too, securing Okinawa was the rational first step in a modernizing imperialist expansion that would soon encompass Formosa and Korea. Within five years of the Meiji Restoration, Tokyo had asserted its sovereignty over the Ryukyus and—through a show of arms on Formosa—extorted recognition of this from China. When Shuri demurred, a garrison force was dispatched to the island and a powerful Home Ministry bureau opened there. In 1879 the now-powerless Ryukyuan throne was abolished and an Okinawan Prefecture established, under the command of a Tokyo-appointed Governor. The deposed king was held under restraint in Tokyo until his death in 1902. 
Imperial rule brought a levelling down for Okinawans as the local aristocracy was displaced by arrogant officials from the north. Land reform in the early 1900s abolished the communal village-allocation system in favour of private ownership, creating tens of thousands of landless labourers. Sugar-cane plantations, run by a monopoly corporation whose principal shareholders were the Imperial Household and the Mitsui and Mitsubishi Companies, came to dominate the local economy. Japanese modes of dress and speech were made compulsory; state Shinto and the Emperor cult were imposed; portraits of the Emperor and Empress hung in every public building. Eventually, in 1920, Ryukyuan representation in the Diet was put on the same footing as that of the rest of the country. Okinawans suffered severely during the inter-war period and Great Depression, which has passed into memory as the time of sotetsu jigoku or cycad hell, when people were reduced to eating the fruit or bark of the cycad, a palm-like but toxic tree. They played little role, however, in the militarization drive of the 1930s or invasion of China in 1937. The minimum height and weight requirements for the Imperial forces were above the average for Ryukyuan males, and during the Second World War they were largely confined to the labour corps. 
Facing defeat, Hirohito ‘sacrificed’ Okinawa in a bid to preserve the Emperor System and the home islands, while treating for surrender terms. The Allied land assault was launched in April 1945: the ancient walls of Shuri Castle were subjected to continuous bombardment from air and sea for sixty days, while half a million US troops poured onto the island, five times the size of the defending force. To the Imperial Japanese Army, distraught Okinawans were either a nuisance—competing for scarce resources, hindering troop movements—or a threat, suspected of spying because of the incomprehensible dialect they spoke. In the most extreme cases, grenades were distributed and the people were called upon to sacrifice themselves in ‘collective suicides’. At the same time, many trying to hide in the island’s caves were incinerated by American flame-throwers. More than 200,000 people, half of them civilians, died in the rain of fire and steel. After the cynical nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki had secured an already prostrate Japan’s unconditional surrender, Okinawa became ‘an immense, neglected military dump’:
Towns and villages were rubble heaps; tens of thousands lived in caves, tombs, lean-to shacks, or relief camps … Farmers became air-base labourers; fishermen became truck-drivers; the old aristocracy disappeared. Cast-off GI clothing, American soft drinks, cigarettes and canned goods supplied a new luxury trade for a totally impoverished people. 
The memory of 1945 is seared into Okinawan identity and has shaped responses to the security agenda foisted upon the island ever since. Their outrage is especially stirred by attempts to sanitize history, as happened under Koizumi, by deleting from school textbooks their memories of the compulsory mass suicides under the bayonets of the Imperial Army, and the final orders from Tokyo to abandon all thought of survival. They learned, and refuse to forget, that neither the Japanese nor the American armed forces were there for their defence.
Gavan McCormack, ‘Obama vs Okinawa’. New Left Review 64, July-August 2010
Butchered in it’s day, Mike Hodges’s FLASH GORDON can now be seen for what it is: A hugely entertaining fantasy with amazing visuals and ideas. The cast are all game (including veteran Von Sydow). It’s some of the most unabashed and luxurious production designing you’re likely to see.
The Forbidden City in Beijing was the imperial palace of the emperors of the Ming & Qing dynasties. It is the largest ancient palace in the world. It was built between 1406 and 1420, and has over 980 buildings. The Palace was home to 24 Emperors, 14 from the Ming Dynasty, and 10 from the Qing Dynasty. The on site Palace Museum features a large collection of imperial objects from both of these Dynasties. The roof tiles of most buildings are glazed yellow, which was the colour exclusively used by the Emperor.
In 1912, the city ceased to be the seat of political power, when the last Emperor of China abdicated his seat, which led to the creation of the Republic of China.
A cruel emperor of the Ming Dynasty.Without hesitation, she gets rid of anyone getting into her way, even her family members. Unlike aristocrats shaking from fear of her, subjects’ lives of the Ming dynasty are getting better and better.
Chinese Swords Collection Ⅱ, Ming dao(明刀), Chinese swords in authentic Ming dynasty style. The first five pictures belong to a very famous sword, 慈沆 (Ci’hang), literally means mercy and dew. Mercy is its spirit; dew describes how its blade is like. The appearance and forging technology of Ci’hang are gorgeous. Picture 6 is the straight blade type sword. Other pictures are 雁翎刀( Yanling dao), meaning the blade is slightly curved like a feather of wild-goose. Yanling dao was very popular in Ming dynasty. One of its types was 绣春刀( Xiuchun dao), literally embroidery spring swords. Xiuchun dao was the sword exclusive to 锦衣卫Jinyi Wei, aka brocade-clad guards who were secret police been given orders directly from Ming emperors. So Xiuchun dao kind of symbolized the extreme power of Ming emperors. See collection Ⅰ, Tang dao, part Ⅰ and part Ⅱ; collection Ⅲ, Qing dao.
the fierce battles between Goryeo commoners and Mongol armies continued
in the mainland, the nobility was enjoying their parties in the safe
island. (ep. 16, Bang-Won’s comment)
Yi Seong-Gye’s ancestor, Yi An-Sa, gave up fighting and surrendered to Mongols. He was appointed as a Darugachi, the high officer for the Mongol empire.
King Gojong of Goryeo voluntarily sent his crown prince to Mongol's Kublai Khan to negotiate a peace treaty. A truce between Goryeo and Mongols was concluded in 30 years.
Kublai welcomed Goryeo’s crown prince because he was fighting with his younger brother over
who should be the next Mongol emperor. The peace treaty with Goryeo
helped him beat his brother and rise to the throne.
In December, Yi Seong-Gye and his father Yi Ja-Choon met King Gongmin in Gaegyung (the capital city of Goryeo) and swore their loyalty to the king.
In May, King Gongmin killed Empress Ki’s brothers and tried to remove the Mongolian influences from the Goryeo court.
July, the king ordered Goryeo armies to recapture the northeast
fortress occupied by Pro-Mongol forces. Yi Seong-Gye and his father
secretly opened the fortress’ gate and helped Goryeo armies. (ep. 1)
The supreme commander of the fortress, Jo So-Saeng, fled away to the north. (In the drama, he was killed by his sworn brother Yi Seong-Gye, but it is a fiction. ep. 1)
About 5 days after King Gongmin’s escape from Gaegyung, the Red Turbans
occupied the capital city and set fire to the streets. Thousands of citizens
were killed. (ep. 12, Bang-Won’s comment)
In January, Goryeo armies led by 3 generals under supreme commander Jung Se-Woon defeated the Red Turbans and recaptured the capital.
But 3 days after the victory, the four war heroes got to be killed by the fake royal command forged by traitor Kim Yong. (ep. 10 and 27, Jung Do-Jeon’s flashbacks)
In January, King Gongmin returned to the capital. He stayed in Heungwangsa temple which was used as a temporary palace in the capital.
In March, the rebellion of Heungwangsa temple broke out. Traitor Kim Yong
sent about 50 assassins to kill the king, but Eunuch An Do-Chi,
Princess Noguk, and General Choi Young stopped the assassination
Kim Yong tried to hide the truth that he was the
mastermind of the assassins, but his plot was brought to light. He ended up being executed 20 days after
the incidents. (ep. 10, Jung Do-Jeon’s comment)
In May, Yuan China (the Mongol empire ruled by Empress Ki) declared Prince Deokheung as the new Goryeo king.
In December, Yuan troops were sent to Goyeo to depose King Gongmin.
Meanwhile, Jung Do-Jeon passed the state exam and became a government official.
In January, General Choi Youngand Yi Seong-Gye defeated the Yuan troops sent by Empress Ki.
During the battle against Yuan troops, Jurchen army attacked Hamju which was Yi Seong-Gye’s base camp. In February, Yi Seong-Gye returned to Hamju and defeated the Jurchens.
In September, Yuan China officially gave up deposing King Gongmin.
Jung Do-Jeon got promoted to the king’s secretary.
Jung Do-Jeon made his comeback to politics as a professor of Sungkyunkwan.
In July, Shin Don was executed for treason by false charges.
Jung Do-Jeon got promoted to a central government official.
In October, King Gongmin established his royal bodyguards called Jajewi (자제위, 子弟衛) comprised of young and beautiful aristocrat warriors. (Hong Ryun in ep. 2, The plum blossom warrior in ep. 5)
the Northen Yuan sent their envoy to Goryeo, King Gongmin threatened to
kill them, but Goryeo officials barely stopped the king.
Six Flying Dragons (2015~2016, SBS)
In September, King Gongmin was assassinated.
losing his beloved wife Princess Noguk, the king’s madness had been
aggravated. He forced his other consorts to sleep with his
royal guards (Jajewi).
When he learned from Eunuch Choi Man-Saeng that Lady Han (one of his 4 consorts) was pregnant with Hong Ryun,
he decided to kill Hong Ryun as well as those who knew the truth. He
wanted to make the baby his own child, so he talked about his plan to
seal their lips under the influence of alcohol and fell asleep.
Choi Man-Saeng was afraid of being killed, so he let the royal guards
know about it. As a result, Hong Ryun and Choi Man-Saeng killed the king
sleeping in the bedroom, and gave false testimony that an assassin from
outside killed the king.
(the historical figure that Yi In-Gyeom is based on) investigated the
assassination case and found out the real culprits. Hong Ryun and Eunuch
Choi Man-Saeng were executed. (ep. 2, Yi In-Gyeom’s flashback)
In October, Yi In-Im enthroned the late king’s 11-year-old son Monino (King U)
despite of the queen dowager’s objection. Three years ago, the little boy had been
declared by King Gongmin as his son from palace maid Lady Han, not
from Shin Don’s slave girl Ban-Ya. In fact, it is one of the biggest
mystery of Korean history whether he was a real son of King Gongmin or
By crowning the boy as a puppet king, Dodang trio including Yi In-Im took over the reigns of the court.
In November, a Ming Chinese envoy was killed in Goryeo. The conflict between Ming China and Goryeo was turning ugly.
As a result, the Dodang trio wanted to reestablish the ties with Northern Yuan (Mongols). They appointed Jung Do-Jeon as a greeter for the Mongol envoy.
rejected their order, claiming “It is against the late king’s will. If
you appoint me as a greeter, I will either kill the Mongol envoy or sent
him away to Ming China!” Therefore, Jung Do-Jeon was
arrested by the raged nobles. (ep. 2, Jung Do-Jeon’s
Jangpyeong Gate Uprising)
He spent 4 years in exile in Naju, Jeolla
province, where he learned a lot about the impoverished conditions of
Goryeo commoners and designed the concrete revolution plan.
In March, Ban-Ya claimed in front of the Queen dowager’s palace that she was the current king’s real mother.
Yi In-Im ordered to kill her by throwing her away to the Imjin river.
In December, Dodang decided to kill the baby girl born from Lady Han with Hong Ryun, the cause of King Gongmin’s assasination.
In April, Japanese pirates attacked the capital. General Choi Young and Yi Seong-Gye defeated them.
In August, The naval battle of Jinpo against Japanese pirates. It was Goryeo’s first military use of gunpowder which was created by General Choi Mu-Seon. (ep 16, Yi Bang-Woo’s comment)
In September, in the battle of Hwangsan, General Yi Seong-Gye’s armies defeated Japanese pirates in Woonbong, Jeolla province. At that time, Jung Mong-Joo accompanied General Yi’s army as a civil offier. (ep. 8, Jung Do-Jeon’s flashback of fake Japanese pirates)
Yi Bang-Won entered Sungkyunkwan.
Professor Min Je of Sungkyunkwan decided to make him his son-in-law.
Yi Bang-Won married Min Je’s second daughter. She was 2 years older than him. (ep. 15)
Hobaldo, the poweful Jurchen chief in alliance with Ming China, invaded the northeast region of Goryeo. (ep. 11)
Jung Do-Jeon went to Hamju and met General Yi Seong-Gye for the first time. They became close friends. (ep. 7~8)
In April, Yi Bang-Won passed the civil service exam and became a government official.
In August, Yi Seong-Gye defeated Hobaldo and submitted the border stabilization plan to Dodang. (ep. 9~12)
In September, Yi Seong-Gye returned to Gaegyung and entered into politics. (ep. 12)
Jung Do-Jeon made his comeback to politics by the help of Yi Seong-Gye. (ep. 17)
In July, Jung Mong-Joo and Jung Do-Jeon were sent to Ming China as envoys.
In August, Yi In-Im (“Yi In-Gyeom” in SFD) resigned from politics because of his old age. (ep. 13)
In January, Jo Ban’s rebellion broke out. It was fabricated by Yeom Heung-Bang (”Hong In-Bang” in SFD). (ep 15~16)
General Choi Young joined forces with Yi Seong-Gye and drove out the corrupt Dodang trio.
Yeom Heung-Bang (Hong In-Bang) and Yim Gyeon-Mi (Gil Tae-Mi) were arrested and executed. Thousands of their relatives were killed, too.
Yi In-Im (Yi In-Gyeom) was not killed. He was exiled to his hometown because he was good friends with Choi Young. (ep. 19)
As a result, Choi Young and Yi Seong-Gye became the top 2 leaders of the Goryeo court.
In March, King U married Choi Young’s daughter to maintain his power. (ep. 19)
Around the same time, Ming China
demanded the return of Goryeo‘s Northern territory. It was the land
that the former king (King Gongmin) had ordered General Choi Young to retrieve from
pro-Mongol forces in 1356. Yi Seong-Gye and his father also had helped it.
It had been a national project for Goryeo to retrieve
the lost territory of ancient Goguryeo kingdom. Therefore, Ming’s demand
made the diplomatic ties between the two countries significantly damaged. (ep 19~20)
April, King U and General Choi Young drafted soldiers in the name of a
hunt. They ordered General Yi Seong-Gye to carry out a preemptive strike
against the Ming Chinese base in the Liaodong peninsula. (ep 19)
Yi Seong-Gye suggested 4 reasons why they should not go to war, but his opinion was dismissed by Choi Young. (ep 20)
In April, Yi Seong-Gye and Jo Min-Soo
were sent to the Liaodong Conquest. Choi Young was supposed to lead the
expedition, but King U’s desperate request made his mind weaken and he decided to stay with the
king at the last moment.
In May, Yi Seong-Gye’s
army was stranded on Wihwa island, the northern border on
the Apnok river between Goryeo and Ming China, due to increased water from heavy rain.
Hundreds of soldiers dying in the process of driving a stake in the
river to put a floating bridge.
Despite of Yi Seong-Gye’s desperate messages, Choi Young constantly urged them to cross the river.
Yi Seong-Gye arrested Choi Young’s messenger Kim Wan, and finally decided to stage a military coup.
May 22, Yi Seong-Gye and Jo Min-Soo started to retreat from Wihwa island. (* Wihwa island Retreat. ep. 20)
Yi Seong-Gye’s eldest sons, Yi Bang-Woo and Yi Bang-Gwa, escaped the king’s camp and moved to his father. His 5th son Yi Bang-Won evacuated the general’s family to Hamju. (ep. 21)
In June, After the street battle in Gaegyung, the palace was taken by Yi Seong-Gye’s army. General Choi Young was arrested and sent into exile. (ep. 22)
Yi Seong-Gye and Jo Min-Soo became top 2 supreme power of the court.
King U led 80 armed eunuchs to kill the generals but his plan ended in failure. The king was deposed and confined in Ganghwa island.
Jo Min-Soo betrayed Yi Seong-Gye and joined forces with Yi Saek to enthrone King U’s 8-year-old son, King Chang. (ep. 22)
Jo Min-Soo tried to reinstate Yi In-Im to prime minister, but found out Yi In-Im was already dead while in exile. (ep. 23)
In July, Jo Joon submitted a petition for land reforms, and it became a big issue in the court. Jo Min-Soo objected to it. (ep. 23~24)
Jo Min-Soo was impeached by Jo Joon’s accusation of land plundering and corruption. (ep. 25~26 The bloody banquet)
In August, Jo Min-Soo was released from the exile on a special amnesty given on King Chang’s birthday.
In December, General Choi Young was executed.
In November, Kim Jeo’s rebellion
After meeting King U in exile, Kim Jeo and Jung Deuk-Hoo conspired to kill Yi Seong-Gye on the Palgwanhoe (팔관회) festival day for the restoration of King U. But their accomplice Gwak Chung-Bo informed Yi Seong-Gye of their assassination plot in advance. (ep. 28)
Jung Deuk-Hoo killed himself. Kim Jeo was arrested and confessed that Yi Saek’s party conspired together. Even though it was unclear whether it was true or not, all of those involved in the plot were ousted and exiled.
King Chang was also deposed under the accusation of communicating secretly with his father, King U.
Yi Seong-Gye enthroned Prince Jeongchang, the descendent of Goryeo’s 20th ruler King Shinjong. (* King Gongyang, the last king of Goryeo Dynasty)
In December, King U and his son King Chang were executed by beheading.
Jo Min-Soo was executed.
In September, Jo Joon’s land reforms had finally been carried
out. The land registers of corrupt nobles, being piled mountain-high in
the street of Gaegyung, had been burnt for about 7 days. People
watching this scene shed tears of joy.
As a result, the
conservative privileged nobles lost their economic power and collapsed.
Meanwhile, the reformist Sadaebu scholars gained new economic
foundation. The age of Sadaebu scholars had begun.
In September, Jung Do-Jeon was impeached by Jung Mong-Joo’s party. King Gongyang didn’t kill him and exiled to Naju.
power struggle between Yi Seong-Gye’s party (revolutionists to found
Joseon) and Jung Mong-Ju’s party (reformists to maintain Goryeo) became a
March 15, Yi Seong-Gye was injured from falling off a horse.
April 1, Yi Seong-Gye’s followers such as Jo Joon, Nam Eun, Jung Do-Joeon were ousted and exiled by Jung Mong-Joo’s faction.
April 2~3, Yi Seong-Gye came back to the capital in the middle of the night by the help of his 5th son, Yi Bang-Won.
April 4, Jung Mong-Joo visited Yi Seong-Gye’s house. The last guardian of Goryeo Dynasty was killed on Seonji bridge by Yi Bang-Won‘s men on his way home.
April 6, Yi Seong-Gye’s faction was released from exile and came back to the government posts.
June 2, Jung Do-Jeon and Nam Eun returned from the exile.
June 8, Yi Seong-Gye’s faction took over the military forces all over the country.
July 1, King Gongyang proposed the alliance of sovereign and subject, but it was rejected by Yi Seong-Gye..
July 12, King Gongyang was deposed. (* The fall of Goryeo Dynasty)
August 20, Yi Bang-Seok (Yi Seong-Gye’s 8th son by his second wife Queen Shindeok) was installed as Crown prince at the age of 10.
On the same day, the names of Yi Bang-Won and other princes were excluded from the list of founding contributors.
October 25, Jung Do-Jeon was sent to Ming China as an envoy to announce the establishment of the new Dynasty.
March 20, Jung Do-Jeon returned from Ming China. The name of the country was officially changed intoJoseon.
May 23, Hongwu Emperor of Ming China blamed Joseon for appeasing about 500 Jurchens and naturalizing them as Joseon citizens. Many of them had been soldiers working for Ming China, but they were originally Goryeo refugees living with Jurchens. Joseon was forced to deport them to Liaodong.
July 5, Jung Do-Jeon was appointed as a military commander of Northeast region. He visited Jurchen tribes there and made connections with their chiefs for the future Liadong expedition.
In October, Jung Do-Jeon composed formal court music by himself and played the songs in front of King Taejo.
In November, Jung Do-Jeon created various battle formations. King Taejo ordered to use them for military training.
December 13, Yi Bang-Woo (Yi Seong-Gye’s eldest son) died of illness. He refused to become the Crown Prince and secluded himself in a mountain hermitage. His anger at his father made him drink too much that he got sick and died.
In April, King Gongyang of Goryeo and his 2 sons were executed.
Around the same time, not only Goryeo’s royal family but also their collateral blood relatives with a sirname of Wang were all killed or buried at the sea of Samcheok, Ganghwa island, Geoje island. (* The massacre of Wang clan)
May 30, Jung Do-Jeon wrote a book titled Joseon Gyeonguk-jeon and offered it to the King. It was the first constitutional law of Joseon.
In June, Yi Bang-Won volunteered to go to Ming China as an envoy (a.k.a. hostage) to solve the deteriorated diplomatic relationships between Joseon and Ming China.
In July, Crown Prince Yi Bang-Seok married Shim Hyo-Saeng’s daughter. Shim Hyo-Saeng was Jung Do-Jeon’s close colleague.
October 28, the capital city was moved from Gaegyung to Hanyang (Today’s Seoul, the current capital city of South Korea).
In November, Yi Bang-Won returned from Ming China.
Yi Bang-Won’s first son, Yi Je / Prince Yangnyeng, was born.
January 9, Jo Young-Gyu died of an illness.
January 25, Jung Do-Jeon and Jung Chong co-wrote 37 volumes of Goryeosa (‘The history of Goryeo’) and offered it to the King.
October 7, King Taejo ordered Jung Do-Jeon to name every buildings of the new palace, Gyeongbokgung. It was also designed by Jung Do-Jeon.
December 11, Yi Bang-Won’s 2nd son, Yi Bo / Prince Hyoryeong, was born.
June 11, Hongwu Emperor of Ming China demanded the extradition of Jung Do-Jeon who was in charge of the diplomatic letter sent to the Emperor.
August 13, Queen Shindeok (Yi Seong-Gye’s second wife) died of an illness.
Yi Saek died.
April 10, Yi Bang-Won’s 3rd son, Yi Do / Prince Chungnyeong / King Sejong the Great, was born.
April 17, Hongwu Emperor of Ming China blamed Jung Do-Jeon for the root of calamity, and threatened to go to war against Joseon unless Jung Do-Jeon stop the Liadong expedition plan.
June 14, Jung Do-Jeon and Nam Eun tried to raise the army toward the
northern border, but Jo Joon vehemently opposed their military actions..
June 24, Hongwu Emperor of Ming China died. His grandson Jianwen Emperor ascended the throne. Joseon court didn’t know about it yet.
July 11, Jung Do-Jeon’s Liadong expedition plan brought him into severe conflict with Jo Joon.
August 2, Ha Ryun was demoted to a local officer by Jung Do-Jeon. He secretly advised Yi Bang-Won to raise the army during his farewell party.
July to August, Yi Seong-Gye laid in his sickbed several times.
August 26, The first strife of Princes.
Yi Bang-Won killed Prime minister Jung Do-Jeon, his colleague Nam Eun, and Crown prince Yi Bang-Seok.
In September, King Taejo handed over the crown to his second son Yi Bang-Gwa (King Jeongjong, the 2nd king of the Joseon Dynasty), but the actual power was in Yi Bang-Won’s hand.
October 3, Hongwu Emperor’s death was delivered to the Joseon court.
In March, King Jeongjong moved the capital back to Gaegyung.
Auguts 8, the civil war between the Jianwen Emperor and his uncle Zhu Di (Prince of Yan) broke out in Ming China. It lasted for about 4 years. (* Jingnan Rebellion 1399~1402)
January 28, The second strife of Princes.
Yi Bang-Gan (King Taejo’s 4th son) rebelled against his younger brother Yi Bang-Won but his coup ended in failure.
Yi Bang-Gan was exiled. Yi Bang-Won refused to execute his elder brother, so Bang-Gan had lived comfortably until he died of an illness in 1421.
February 1, King Jeongjong accepted Ha Ryun’s petition and named Yi Bang-Won as his successor.
In November, King Jeongjong abdicated and Yi Bang-Won finally ascended the throne. (King Taejong, the 3rd king of the Joseon Dynasty).
Jo Mal-Saeng passed the civil service exam, and became a government officer.
April 9, Yi Ji-Ran died.
Jo Sa-Eu’s rebellion : King Taejo (Yi Seong-Gye) incited his queen’s relative Jo Sa-Eu to raise an army in Hamju to avenge King Taejong (Yi Bang-Won) but it ended in a huge defeat.
Zhu Di defeated his nephew and ascended the throne. (* Yongle Emperor, the 3rd Emperor of Ming China)
In October, The capital city was moved back to Hanyang (Seoul) again.
Jo Joon died.
Queen Wongyeong (Lady Min)’s two brothers (Min Moo-Gu and Min Moo-Jil) were exiled.
Yi Seong-Gye (King Taejo, the founder of Joseon dynasty) died of old age.
Min Je (Yi Bang-Won’s father-in-law) died of an illness.
In March, Queen Wongyeong (Lady Min)’s two brothers (Min Moo-Gu and Min Moo-Jil) were forced to commit suicide in their exile places.
In December, King Taejong tried to depose his lawful wife Queen Wongyeong, but withdrew his decision because of his elder brother King Jeongjong (Bang-Gwa)’s dissuasion.
King Taejong ordered Min Moo-Hwae and Min Moo-Hyul to commit suicide in their exile places.
November 24, Ha Ryun died of old age.
Tree with Deep Roots (2011, SBS)
In August, King Taejong (Yi Bang-Won) abdicated the throne to his 3rd son King Sejong the Great (Yi Do). But he continued to rule with an iron fist.
In December, Shim On, the father-in-law of King Sejong, was executed by former King Taejong’s political machinations. <- Tree with Deep Roots (2011) begins here!
In June, the Tsushima expedition. General Yi Jong-Moo eliminated Japanese pirates’ bases on Tsushima island, which brought peace to Joseon for over 100 years.
September 25, King Jeongjong (Yi Bang-Gwa) died.
March 26, King Sejong established the Hall of Worthies (집현전, 集賢殿), a group of elite scholars selected by the king which participated in various scholarly endeavors.
July 10, Queen Wongyeong (King Taejong’s wife, Lady Min) died.
Forbidden City gives official response to “paranormal events”
The Forbidden City, for the first time, gave an official response to the so-called “paranormal events” which have been rumored to have taken place at the tourist site for years.
The official conclusion is that there are no ghosts in the Forbidden City and all the talk is simply rumors.
Over the past few years, though no one has seen a ghost or confirmed any paranormal activity, many Chinese people still believed there’s something “spooky” about the western part of the imperial structure. Even worse, online writers tend to use the western part of the Forbidden City as the setting of their ghost stories.
Trying to stop the tales of paranormal events, the Forbidden City declared that people who believe in the rumor had not been familiar enough with this part of history, and that all of the rumors will grind to a halt when the area opens on October 10.
An expert studying the Forbidden City said to a local newspaper that staff there had never seen any paranormal event at work and all of the tales were made up by people.
Since the official clarification was exposed, it has inspired Chinese netizens’ curiosity about the historical and mysterious palaces again.
“It is suggested that the Forbidden City should be open at night to let visitors verify if there are ghosts or not,” commented @Depengyou.
“The Forbidden City underwent hundreds of years, where conflicts and injustices frequently happened inside. Who knows if there are ghosts or not,” said @Xiamang_.
“Being invisible does not mean not existing. There exist invisible angles and blind spots for human eyes.” posted @Manki_517.
Built in 1420, the Forbidden City was ever home to 24 emperors in the Ming and Qing dynasties.
“SHIPS” Raising the pin wood mast, they set
it in the hollow socket, binding it firm with forestays, and tightening the
white sail with twisted ox-hid thongs. The wind swelled out the belly of the
sail and round the stern loudly the rippling waves roared. – Homer
Water is a natural barrier. And yet
the first apelike man who floated upon a log embarked on that adventurous quest
which has transformed the once impassable seas into the highways of the world.
cavemen lashed several logs together. Peruvian Indians make rafts of balsa
reeds, while natives of Madras and Manchuria venture into rough waters on
makeshifts quite as crude. Abraham Lincoln took his one long voyage down the Mississippi
on a raft.
only a larger edition of these crude rafts. The first recorded specimen appears
upon the wall of an Egyptian tomb more than six thousand years old. With its
half-moon hull, its single mast and rowers seated in the waist, it differs
little from craft that sail the Nile today.
were the first nation, except perhaps the Cretans, to gain supremacy by
seamanship. Their long galleys were dependent partly upon sail, but more upon
oars, for with the muscles in his shoulders has man conquered the sea. Perhaps
these hardy Argonauts never rounded the Cape of Good Hope as Herodotus Hints,
but they did explore the sinister African coast beyond the Equator, and braved
the boisterous North Atlantic perhaps to the shores of the Baltic.
Unfortunately their priceless heritage of sea lore has been lost. The most
graphic account of a Phoenician voyage survives in the Book of Jonah, which
bequeathed to all seafaring men that personification of bad luck, a sky pilot!
called their longer craft serpent ships, those less pretentious sea dragons.
They bore the distinguishing Figurehead, for builders of all ages have adorned
their cutwaters with shapes pleasing or frightful, from siren to Medusa.
Chinese even now provide their junks with grotesque eyes to “see their way
ships were of oak and could be dragged ashore. Through undecked and carrying
neither chart nor compass, they were better provisioned than Greek galleys, and
often transported living cattle for food. Although provided with a mast and
sail, the savage sea kings hung their shields along the bulwarks, bent their
shoulders to the oar, and ventured out into the Atlantic even in winter. They
rounded North Cape, Colonized Iceland and Greenland, and explored Labrador and
Nova Scotia five centuries before John Cabot viewed those forbidding coasts.
With little shelter from the elements, drench with icy spray, singing songs of
blood and pillage, steering by sun or stars or by blind instinct, they issued
their ringing challenge to the sea.
glorious Age of Sail dawned with the packet of clipper ships of the early
1800s. The East India Company first designed them for passengers. The cabin
class, who paid from ninety-five to two hundred and fifty pounds sterling for a
long passage from England to India, provided their own furniture and bedding.
full-rigged ship was the queen of the seas, a sight beloved by every old salt,
as she scudded like a cloud before the wind. Modifications of masts and rigging
introduced the whole race of barks and barkentines, brigs and brigantines, and
even sloops. Unfortunately square-riggers have gone out of fashion. Only a few
still linger as grain carriers from Australia around the Horn. Square yards
provided a certain balance, and ships could remain more closely bunched in
convoys. But economy and ease of management evolved that more familiar type,
the schooner. Her sails could be hoisted from deck and reefed with comparative
ease. There was no going aloft to hang like flies on a swaying yardarm in
howling gales; hence a smaller crew was required.
The first schooner seems to have
been built by Andrew Robinson, of Gloucester, in 1745. She had two masts, the
familiar yachting rig, and was destined to become the model fishing vessel of
the future. Schooners with three masts were built to carry freight, and then gradually
enlarged until the peak was reached in the seven-masted Thomas W. Lawson that
registered 10,000 tons. She too came to rest in Day Jones’s Locker, off the
Scilly Islands, in a gale in 1907.
pursuits played no little part in ship design. The first “clipper” seems to
have been built for the opium trade of China, where speed above all else was a
requisite. Malay craft with rakish three-cornered sails, light of draught and
swift, could sail far closer to the wind than the average square-rigger. From
converts in Borneo they darted forth like killer whales to prey upon some
merchantman becalmed in Makassar Strait. Nor were the white man’s hands less
dyed with blood. No ships were of more evil repute than the slavers, which
eluded waiting gunboats by superior speed and seamanship, leaving their trail
of manacled corpses cast to the sharks.
of China created the junk, high fore and aft, her sails of bamboo strips. Yet
in such ships the great Admiral Cheng Ho, long before Columbus, made voyages
that totaled seventy-five thousand miles, to spread throughout the Orient the
superior culture of the Ming Emperors.
centered in the dhow, with forward-slanting masts and three-cornered sails. One
may still observe them, clumsy but seaworthy, in Mombasa, or Ceylon, whence
they have voyaged across the Indian Ocean. Moored in harbor, and surrounded by
lesser craft, they awaken memories of Sinbad the Sailor and The Arabian Nights.
(The texts are from the aforementioned book and the photos are from the internet… )
So the history behind the Lunar Festival was that it started
during the Spring Autumn period when the Emperor would pay tribute to the moon,
which was then copied by upper-classman and scholars, then the custom was passed down to the common people. Another
theory is that the Mid-Autumn festival origins were from agricultural society
when the common people would harvest their crops and officially change into autumn
It wasn’t until the Tang Dynasty when the Mid-Autumn
festival stated to become a big celebration and the tradition of writing poetry,
admiring at the moon, and family gathering started. According to legends, the
emperor Tang Xuanzong was sleepwalking in the imperial garden one night when he
met a fairy in the moon palace who gave him 霓裳羽衣曲(collard seduction songs)
which was known as the greatest music composition of the Tang Dynasty, which
sadly, has been lost.
The origins of moon
Moon cakes were originally known as moon balls (月团) and little
One legend states that when the Tang Emperor Taizong won a battle against the
Xiongnu people, a Tulufan merchant gave the emperor a cake in celebration and
the Emperor passed down the verdict that everyone was to eat the cake in
celebration, thus custom of eating cakes on this day became a ritual. Another
myth of origin is that during the start of the Ming Dynasty, the Han people fought
against the Mongolians(Yuan Dynasty), however, they didn’t have a way to pass messages to
different military camps without the message being intercepted by the Mongols.
Zhu Yuanzhang (the first emperor of the Ming Dynasty) thought of an idea to
hide the messages in cakes, so they used these cakes to pass on the message
that they were going to rebel on the Mid-Autumn festival, these cakes then
became known as moon cakes.
The Ley Lines in the Raven Cycle are perfectly straight and Glendower’s people carried him straight along one from Wales to Virginia.
So if you kept going along that line, eventually you would circle all the way back around. There are a lot of other places between Henrietta and Wales and there is Adam’s line about “many Cabeswaters sleeping around the world” and the fact that there are actually 3 ley lines (because the symbol isn’t an accident because Maggie Stievater doesn’t make accidents like that).
I’m imagining multiple groups around the world. Groups of children drawn together around powerful places, many with their own abilities and unusual powers.
The ley line crosses through South Asia in a part of the world where the Tsunami hit in 2006. Their ley line isn’t buried. It is right on the surface because all that extra land was swept away by flooding powerful but scattered and the group of kids trying to put it back together again.
The ley line passing through cities where there are strange things that happen deep inside the Moscow subway where the trains run through the line.
Other sleeping kings. Not Welsh kings, Ghanian Kings or the last Ming Dynasty Emperor, or maybe there is a village somewhere that has figured out how to put themselves to sleep and almost no one has died there in 500 years. They’re all sleeping in a cave. But once Henrietta is awake and the tsunami hit line is awake and a pack of psychic girls in Mali have found their own Cabeswater and started waking it up too: the sleepers can’t sleep anymore. What do you do when hundreds of generations suddenly start wandering out of the cave?
Herding Horses, Han Geng. 8th c. Tang Dynasty, National Palace Museum of Taiwan. Digitally retouched photograph, ink on silk.
One of the most important artists working during this period was Han Kan (sic), considered to have been the supreme painter of horses. These animals were tremendously admired in China, and they were the subject of countless stories and fables extolling them as free, proud, noble creatures. A symbol of wealth and luxury, the Emperor Ming Huang– admirer of poets, painters, and beautiful women, and a keen lover of horses– had over forty thousand thoroughbreds in his stable.
When Han Kan was called to the Court, about the middle of the 8th century, the emperor advised him to study the painting of horses under Chi'en Hung, a contemporary Court painter. Han Kan ignored the suggestion, which was the equivalent to a command. When the emperor scolded him, he replied: “I have been learning how to paint horses, and every one of the horses in the Imperial Stables has been my teacher.”
His fame increased with the passage of time so that a later critic wrote: “When Han Kan painted horses, he was truly a horse.” This was the supreme compliment, as it meant that the artist had achieved such full identification that he was able to transmit the inner spirit of the horse.“
– Chinese Art, Judith and Arthur Hart Burling, 1953.
World Building: Medieval Fantasy and People of Color
When writing people of color, especially in fantasy set in older settings, would you think their ethnicity needs to match the world setting? I always get very thrown off if a writer’s world is distinctly england-based style fantasy but then the race of the characters is black or hispanic, etc. The cultures just don’t match. I’m all for having people of color in such a story, but it still seems like most people in an England-based society would be white. What do you think about this?
When people talk about setting fantasies in an “England-based” world, usually what they mean is medieval or renaissance settings: kings and castles, lords and ladies, knights and sword fights. However, England (or even all of Europe) didn’t experience the medieval and renaissance eras alone while the rest of the world sat frozen in time. All the world experienced those eras just as all the world is experiencing our current era. Sure, the specific elements may have differed from place-to-place, but there are plenty of people of color whose cultures weren’t all that different. They had kings and castles, lords and ladies, and knights and sword fights–they may have had different titles or in some cases different functions, but really not all that different. Have a look at the Ming Dynasty emperors and empresses of China, the Songhai empire of Africa, the Mughal empire of India, and the Ottomon Empire. There is no reason your English-based kingdom couldn’t be allied with a Mughal-based kingdom. There’s also no reason you couldn’t write a Songhai style fantasy, or write a story where the kingdom encompasses a variety of different cultures. And, let’s not forget that there were people of color in Europe as early as the medieval times. There’s an entire blog dedicated to highlighting this fact. So, as much as we like to think of medieval Europe as being devoid of people of color, that’s not entirely true.
There are plenty of medieval fantasies that include characters of color. More than twenty-five million people have read George R.R. Martin’s epic “England-based” fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire, which includes (in the land based on England) an area called Dorne which has a Moorish Spain sort of flair. The members of their ruling family look like this:
The series also spends a lot of time on a continent “across the Narrow Sea” where there are people who look like this:
Once again, this is an “England-based” medieval fantasy, but as you can see there are numerous characters of color. And the thing is, none of these characters are “token” characters. They come from actual populations of people with similar ethnic attributes. I’ve never heard of anyone feeling thrown off of A Game of Thrones or any of the subsequent books in the series due to these characters and the populations from which they hail. So, I think you maybe just need to alter your mindset a bit. Remember that there’s a whole big world out there, even in fantasy worlds, and the world is filled with a wide variety of people. :)
What do Jacobean revenge tragedies and Jupiter Ascending have in common?
It’s hard to know where to begin, really, but I’ll start off by saying “a lot”:
1. Incest! The incestuous implications of JA are hardly subtle. Titus makes a point about how close he was to his mother, and comes very close to marrying her exact genetic duplicate. Balem spends copious amounts of time stroking said genetic duplicate’s face and muttering about his mother in a way that suggests both intense hatred and intense love. Any Jacobean revenge tragedy worth its salt has a generous dose of incest, with one of the most famous (The Duchess of Malfi) effectively hinging on the villain’s (thoroughly unreciprocated) sexual desire for his sister.
2. Violence! I’m going to put aside the flying dinosaur and bang bang battles here, since they’re not particularly relevant to the topic at hand. Balem attempts to strangle Jupiter and attacks her rather viciously with a metal pole, and his violence towards her is directed by passion. Again, this is very common in the Jacobean revenge tragedy - violence is directed by emotion and, more often than not, madness. Which takes us neatly onto our next point.
3. Insanity! No one can convince me that Balem is not completely and utterly insane. He’s wildly unpredictable and acts in very questionable ways regardless of his company. At various points, he completely zones out to soliloquise and mutter about his mother. He makes chaps like Emperor Ming and Loki seem very calm, collected and rational by comparison. Towards the end of the film, Balem completely loses touch with reality and literally begins addressing Jupiter as if she is his mother back from the dead. In the final act of The Duchess of Malfi, the incestuous brother Ferdinand likewise goes completely mad, raving and attacking his own shadow.
4. Revenge! Various characters appear to want revenge in the film, but Balem’s case is probably the most interesting. He appears to want revenge on his mother, since he hates her (while continuing to love her) for forcing him to kill her. When Jupiter reappears he has that chance at revenge, which is why he’s shown to violently attack her - in his fractured mind he’s attacking his mother, not Jupiter. Jupiter gets the ultimate revenge, however, by winning the upper hand and giving Balem a good beating back. Characters are endlessly plotting revenge upon each other in Jacobean revenge tragedies (as you might imagine from the name), though the body counts tend to be significantly higher than they are in JA.