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  • P-ISSN0023-3900
  • E-ISSN2733-9343

The Confucian Transformation of Toponyms and the Coexistence of Contested Toponyms in Korea

Korea Journal, (P)0023-3900; (E)2733-9343
2012, v.52 no.1, pp.105-139
https://doi.org/10.25024/kj.2012.52.1.105

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Abstract

Toponyms are social constructs, subject to constant change in the social context. As such, toponyms in Korea reveal many variant forms, given the geopolitical location of the peninsula, a crossroad for various cultures. In particular,when Korea adopted Confucianism as the state orthodoxy during the Joseon dynasty, a host of native toponyms were renamed into Confucian ones in order to reflect the dominant Confucian ideology. This phenomenon produced politically and culturally contested toponyms for the same locations, making native toponyms coexist or contend with Chinese-derived or Confucian toponyms. Confucian toponyms represented the Confucian identity and ideology held by Confucian scholars, and signified specific toponymic meanings and territoriality. Even to this day, Confucian toponyms either coexist or conflict with other types of toponyms. This paper examines the transformation of native toponyms to Confucian ones and analyzes the concrete naming process by presenting particular examples. It also reviews various forms of contested toponyms and the mode of Confucian toponyms in contestation or parallel existence with others.

keywords
native toponym Confucian toponym ideological signification contested toponym

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