Seo Dong Yo

Seo Dong Yo — Myth & Magic

Imagine being born without knowing who your father is and losing your mother at a young age. Imagine being raised by the man your mother loved, a scientist and a wise man, who reciprocated your mother's love but couldn't have her because of your unknown father. And you hated this man, putting him in so many dangerous situations. And yet, you learned his trade and you learned to respect and follow him.

Imagine growing up in a society of caste and classes and you belonging to no class whatsoever, but you end up falling in love with a princess from Shilla, an enemy nation. And this princess gives up everything, betraying her family and her nation just to be with you. Still, to have her meant danger not only to yourself, but to everyone who knows you.

Imagine meeting the Baekje king, and the king's son, and risking your life to save them from their enemies, not only once, but several times. Then imagine one day, you discover why your mother lived always in fear, always as a runaway, but always keeping her dignity. You learn that you are the king's youngest son, the fourth prince of Baekje.

Introduction by Priscilla
 
Prophecy & Myth | Jang & Sunhwa | Royalty | The Science of Baekje | The Art of War | Faith

 

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Relationships — Seo Dong Yo.

Character relationships in Seo Dong Yo

Image courtesy of SBS Korea, Seo Dong Yo.

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Prophecy & Myth

The Prophecy

the incense burner and it's prophecy

The Shamed King
will give birth to Sadness,
Sadness will give birth
to a child of mistake.
The one born out of mistake
will light the incense,
and the one who lights this incense
will become the King.
The King will establish Baekjae again,
and receive great honor and praise.

Jang, Son of the Dragon

Weekuk Wang, 27th King of Baekje, gives an Oh-Saek-Ya-Myung-Ju to Yeongamo when he learns she is carrying his child (Jang of the story Seo Dong Yo), and says:

“This is something that belongs only to a Prince of Baekje and proves his status. If you give birth to a son, you shall pass this to him. But if you give birth to a daughter, you must bury it deep in the earth, south of the pond by Mt. Ohgeum.”

“Oh-Saek-Ya-Myung-Ju”
Defining the five-colored noctilucent jewel
by PC

Oh Saek Ya Myong Ju

Oh-Saek-Ya-Myung-Ju literally translates to 5-Color-Night-Glitter-Jewel, or more simply put, iridescent stone (pendant).

The first two syllables, Oh-Saek, while literally meaning 5-Color, actually has a deeper meaning when the syllable for five (Oh) is appended by Color (Saek). It can mean either the five cardinal colors in Korea, namely Black-White-Red-Yellow-Blue, or simply Multi-color. As an adjective, it simply translates to colorful. In this specific case, the latter meaning may apply.

The next two syllables, Ya-Myung is simply that, night-glitter.

The fifth syllable, Ju, a piece cleaved off of a spherical jewel. In other words, take a big sphere of a gem, and chop off a piece.

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Jang & Sunhwa

Song Lyrics from Seo Dong Yo
Translation: 1Korea
Revised: Lovedorama & 1Korea

Seo Dong YoSeo Dong Yo

Again the moon returns,
casting a light on the window.
Shortly, shortly, Princess Sunhwa
is to become Seodong's bride.

Ahya, ahya, what shall we do?
Oh my...

Ahya, ahya, what shall we do?
Oh my...

Ahya, ahya, what shall we do?
Oh my...

The moon watches over them.

Ahya, ahya, what shall we do?
Oh my...

Seo Dong flower

HaemilHaemil

When the sky turns grey,
immerse me in the blue.
Pity this cruel love,
buried deep in my heart.

When flower petals fall,
will our love end as well?
Longing for, yet unable to hope,
with no place to return.

Reflecting on the time passed,
tears create an ocean.
My unfulfilled love
falls to sleep in the sorrow.

Wanting to go back,
but no way to return.
Live in the flower hues,
the tearfully beautiful love.

Flower HuesThe Flower Hues

Deep longing is flowing back
from faint memory
Because the moments with you
are beautifully frozen in time.

I'm always with you
in every piece of memory
Do you see?
My earnest wishes are coming true.

Do you believe in our love?
Please don't forget
we will meet again.
Treasure all of our time together,
even the mere passing breeze.

Can you see?
Can you hear?
The sound of my heart weeping
Remember
Live on as my beautiful love.

 

My Beginning Will Be Made of Trees (Episode 14)

wooden rings and jeweled pendant

Sunhwa: One day you told me your beginning would be made of trees. I want us to start as a tree and end as a tree. When it's young, it gets shaken and snapped, yet a tree grows tall and strong. Don't expect us not to be shaken or snapped through hardships. Like a tree spreads its roots as it gets shaken and snapped, I hope we take our roots deep and wide and become strong like a tree.

Sunhwa opens the palm of her hand and shows Jang a pair of black wooden rings.

Sunhwa: That's why I wanted to give you a wooden ring.

Jang (giving her his jeweled necklace): I'm giving myself to you. I'll forget about my search for my father and for my identity. I'll just think of my life with you, My Princess. If you tell me to be a tree, I'll be a tree. If you tell me to be a mountain, I'll be a mountain. If a sea... then I'll be a deep sea for you.

Eunjangdo, silver knife (Episode 15)Eunjangdo, silver knife

Eunjangdo - silver knife

The Eunjangdo is a women's knife that was used for self-protection and decoration. It was a custom for women to carry a decorated pocket knife with them everywhere.

The Eunjangdo was traditionally made of silver and was an essential accessory that had to be worn on a coat string or belt. Korean women would wear it in their corset under their hanbok to protect their reputation from unscrupulous men and would use it to commit suicide if their virginity or purity was ruined.

I won't go back to the Palace alive...the militia approach Jang; Sunhwa raises the knife

Excerpt from Episode 15
Translation: Priscilla

Sunhwa: If you let this man go, I'll return to the Palace. If you don't, I won't go back to the Palace alive. Survive... if we want to meet again you must survive. You must definitely survive and we will meet again. Please, get on the horse. Do you choose to die? I choose to live, and most surely we will fulfill our love. So please, get on the horse... get on!

Jang reluctantly gets on the horse; Sunhwa gives the necklace back to him.

Sunhwa: I'm returning to you what you gave to me, your own self. Find out who you are, and who your father is. I'm sure he is someone like you, wise and deep. I too will become wiser and deeper.

Jang: My Princess

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Royalty

Mahan and Baekje Kings

Samhan, The Spirit of Three HanSamhan, the Spirit of Three Han

Samhan, the Spirit of Three Han

During the funeral ritual of Bumsaeng and the other Taehaksa artisans killed while being interrogated by Kim Saheum, we are given a glimpse of ancient Korean rulers and the tradition of the Seven Precepts and Seven-Branched Sword.

Three hundred years before the story of Seo Dong Yo, Chun, the Mahan king and Geunchogo, the 13th king of Baekje, meet and form an alliance. King Chun bows before Geunchogo and recites the Seven Precepts. He then asks Geunchogo to “swear to the spirit of unified Three Hans.” King Chun, knowing there cannot be two suns in the sky, sacrifices his life in order to insure that both countries will form a peaceful union ruled by one king.

Weeduk Wang invokes the Seven Precepts

King Geunchogo goes on to say, “Listen, I will rule Mahan's land. But your Mahan's agriculture technology will bring us prosperity, and the heart of Baekje will be yours. Those kings who will inherit the kingship after me must not forget, the people of Mahan and Baekje belong to one nation. And do not forget the spirit of Samhan. We name this Seven Precepts.”

Three hundred years later the tradition is still followed. King Weeduk invokes the Seven Precepts ritual when indoctrinating Mokrasu as a scientist and artisan of Taehaksa.

Samhan (in Korean, sam is the number three, and han translates to great or leader) or Three Han, refers to the ancient confederacies of Mahan, Jinhan and Byunhan in the central and southern Korean peninsula. These confederacies were eventually absorbed into Baekje and Shilla, two of the Three Kingdoms of Korea. Byunhan was absorbed into the Gaya confederacy, which was later annexed by Shilla. The names of the confederacies of Mahan, Jinhan and Byunhan are reflected in the current name of South Korea, Daehan Minguk, literally, “Great Han People's Nation.”

Jang shows the Gaya his soil fertilization technique

In Episode 8, remnants of the Gaya confederacy, the Gaya nomads, play an important role in the development of the story. The Gaya nomads are dissatisfied because the land given to them by Shilla is arid and they cannot eke out a living or feed their people. They take Princess Sunhwa hostage and plan to use her as protection as they flee to Baekje.

While looking for a solution to the crisis, Jang comes up with a method for making arid land fertile again by using toryung (earthworms), to aerate and fertilize the soil. This is a turning point for Jang. He realizes that he must return to Haneulchae and continue his education under Master Mokrasu.

 

Chiljido – Seven-Branched Sword Chiljido, Seven-Branched Sword

The Seven-branched sword in ritual use dates back to the ancient confederacies of Samhan, the Three Han. After Mahan became part of Baekje, King Geunchogo expanded his influence both culturally and politically and allied with the Wa kingdom of the Yamato period of Japan. Geunchogo granted the Seven-Branched Sword to the Yamato ruler in 372 CE. The seven-branched sword is considered a national treasure and is housed in the Isonokami Shrine in the city of Tenri, Nara Prefecture, Japan. The inscription date on the sword, Taiwa 4, corresponds to the year 369 CE.

The sword is made of iron and has six branch-like protrusions on the sides with the tip of the sword counting as the seventh branch. The design and construction highlight the metalworking skills of Baekje. There is a two-sided inscription on the sword, which is inlaid in gold. The seven branches of the sword suggest a tree-motif connected with the Shamanistic traditions of Korea. This also relate to the seven-fold nature of man in modern esotheric thinking, indicating that the ancient people of Korea were aware of the spiritual nature of man in the material world.

The interpretation of the inscription tends to be controversial. The ellipses represent missing text or words that are subject to various translations. For more detailed information, refer to the entry in Wikipedia in the source link below.

First Side:

“This seven-branched sword was made of… refined many times, at noon on the eleventh…day of the…month, fourth year of Taihe… era. …repels the enemy and is fit for a king or a duke… Made by… ”

Second Side:

“Never before has there been such a blade. The… Baekje… who owes his life to august Jin, had this sword made for King 'Shi' of Wa in the hope that it might be passed on to later generations. ”

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Science of Taehaksa and Haneulchae

Mokrasu's investure as Honorific-Scientist of Taehaksa (Episode 2)

Although the investure of Honorific Scientist is the culmination of all that Mokrasu has worked for, when the moment arrives he can only think of Yeongamo. He does not know where she is, or why she left without a word. With his heart breaking, he cries out silently, “Yeongamo, Yeongamo... Yeongamo!”

Weeduk Wang begins the ceremony by saying “I acknowledge your ability and contribution. And I now pronounce you Honorific-Scientist. Thou receive the Seven Precepts ceremony.”

Mokrasu receives the Seven Precepts ceremony
The Seven-Branched Sword
With his heart aching, Mokrasu vows his loyalty to the Baekje king.

Mokrasu:

We will share Three Han's knowledge.
Learn the sky.
We will share Three Han's technology.
Develop the land.
We will share Three Han's culture.
Manage the Sea.
And remember this, Three Han's knowledge,
technology and culture
are all centered around us, human!
This is the spirit of unified Three Hans.

Weeduk Wang:

The Sky, the Land, and the Sea in which I reign,
are all centered around us, human.
Ma-Han's agriculture technology
will bring us prosperity
and the heartland of Baekje belongs to all of you.
All Baekje kings after me must not forget
that people of Ma-Han and Baekje
belong to one nation and must not forget
the great spirit of the Three Hans.
Here I declare these Seven Precepts.

Mokrasu:

I, Mokrasu, solemnly swear
my loyalty to the king.
Wherever I am, I will be working for the king.
Whatever I do, it will be for the king.
Whenever I am, I will be working for the king.
I will not neglect my duty of research
by following the principles of spontaneity,
logicality and empirical research.
I will not forget the duty of security.
And leading the institution,
I promise my loyalty to the king
and I will serve my country to my death.



The Ondol, aka Gudeul (Episode 9)Ondol, also know as Gudeul

King Weeduk, 27th King of Baekje, suffers from an illness that the royal physicians cannot diagnose or cure. Wangoo Moojang (Weeduk's Imperial Guard Captain), contacts Mokrasu at Haneulchae, asking that he find a cure. At the same time Jang is researching tree rings and makes the discovery that not only do the rings show the age of trees, but they also indicate climate changes throughout the years. With the aid of astronomical and medical journals, Jang reaches the conclusion that the patient the medical journal refers to is suffering from supbyung, a humidity disease.

SupbyungSupbyung

Mokrasu explains that supbyung (or subbyung), is a collection of ailments caused by humid weather and symptoms manifest when humid energy gets into the joints and organs. When it reaches a meridian, the patient gets swollen and feverish; when it reaches the joints, they become swollen and painful. In the nose and throat it causes asthma and shortness of breath. When it reaches the five viscera, the liver, heart, lung, kidneys and spleen, the patient could die.

Remembering when he and Sunhwa roasted mushrooms over heated stones, Jang gets the idea for developing the ondol, a heating system that circulates warm air through chambers under floors. Jang's dedication to research prevents him for realizing he has caused quite a stir in the local villages when he removes their stone bricks, steps and totems to use in the experiment.

Although Jang's experiment caused havoc, Mokrasu is pleased and excited that Jang came up with the idea.

Jang: There's a way to build a house that gets rid of humidity. It's an ondol (hypocaust - warm stone floor).

Mokrasu: Ondol?

Jang: If we cover the floor with heated stones instead of mud, we can get rid of not only the cold, but humidity. So I was testing which type of stone would work best. (Jang goes on to explain the different properties of each stone he tested.)

This is a revolution for the home.

Mojin: He doesn't even know what he's done.

Mokrasu: This is a revolution for the home. You can cook food, boil water and cure many diseases by getting rid of dampness. As you already know, stones are good for the human body and are used in prescriptions. And the most important thing is that we're talking of stones here, something anyone can get, commoners as well as nobles. Jang deduced a correlation between the weather and disease.

(Jang goes back to the site of his ondol experiments and remembers his mother telling him to earn the respect of Master Mokrasu).

Jang: Mother, I was acknowledged. I've earned his approval for the first time ever. I don't know why or how I must do this, but I'll earn Master Mokrasu's ultimate approval. Then I'll look for my father and proudly introduce myself to him. I'll find out who I am.

The Ondol System

Sectional Drawing of Original Ondol System

Ondol, a traditional Korean heating system meaning warm stone, is an under-floor heating system that heats a wide stone called kudul. Kudul means fired stone and is a special type of stone that tends to retain heat longer than others. Kudul is placed over the passages and covered with soil and oiled paper. Heat from a wood-fired stove or fireplace, which is also used for cooking, flows through the passages under the floor, heating the kudul and warming the room by radiating heat from the floor.

With ondol, the whole surface of the floor works as a radiator through a system of ducts under the surface. The ondol system is comprised of three main components: a fireplace or stove located below floor level, which is also used for cooking; a heated floor underlaid by horizontal smoke passages; a vertical chimney, located lower than the roof line, to provide a draft.

Source: The Korea Times

Wangjine (Episode 11)Wangjine

Wangjine, giant centipedes found in Korea, are large and measure between two to five inches long. They are venomous and the bite is painful, but it is not toxic enough to kill a human. Treating snakebite with dried centipede power is a well known, traditional remedy in Korea.

A wangjine crawls into the buried jar.Wangjine, giant centepede of Korea

Giant centipedes love dead animals, especially for their bones, flesh and blood. To catch giant centipedes, chicken bones are placed inside a tall, round jar that is buried with its open top at ground level. Attracted by the chicken bones, the giant centipedes crawl and fall into the jar and are trapped inside. Usually after several days, twenty to fifty giant centipedes will be trapped inside the jar. The centipedes are dried under the sun or heated to make powder that is used as a pain reliever, or applied around the snakebite to neutralize the snake venom.

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The Art of War

The Turtle Prophecy (Episode 10)
Translation: 1Korea

The turtle rumor definedBuyeosun solves the riddle of the turtle prophecy

Myunggwanggae, The Golden Armor (Episode 16)Myung-gwang-gae

Relations between Baekje and Shilla are breaking down and war seems imminent. Buyeosun's first choice is to prepare for war while Aja Taeja prefers a diplomatic solution. While Buyeosun readies his troops and moves to the frontier, Aja Taeja negotiates with the Goguryeo diplomat. Aja Taeja asks that Goguryeo move their troops to the border with Shilla to distract Shilla and divide their forces. In exchange, the Goguryeo diplomat asks for the Myunggwanggae, the bright, shining armor that they think Baekje gave to Sui. The sunlight reflecting off the myunggwanggae blinded the Goguryeo troops during a battle with Sui, causing their defeat.

Aja Taeja was unaware of the existence of the Myunggwanggae. Since it is the key to establishing an alliance with Goguryeo, producing a golden suit of armor has the utmost priority. Aja Taeja sends Baekmoo of Taehaksa to Haneulchae to instruct Master Mokrasu to produce the armor. Mokrasu tells the people of Haneulchae to use all their resources for the task, but they are unable to discover the secret.

Shilla learns that a medicinal material is the key ingredient used to produce the shining armor. Princess Sunhwa instructs Sataek Giroo to find the formula for making the golden armor before Mokrasu, so that Shilla can give it to Goguryeo before Baekje. The country that possesses the secret of producing the golden armor will gain the alliance of Goguryeo and win the war.

In a cold, stern voice, Sunhwa tells Giroo, “Therefore, you develop the shining armor and deliver it to us first and through this you will be designated a doctor of Haneulchae, ending your secret mission for His Royal Highness.” Giroo is shocked by Sunhwa's attitude. He responds by saying, “I will do as Princess orders, but why are you treating me this way? ”

Sunhwa coldly explains to Giroo what his mission will be

Sunhwa replies, “Did you think you could have me... or rather, that you could win my heart by making a deal with His Royal Highness? ” Giroo replies, “Yes. What I offered to His Majesty was my heart to you princess, and my loyalty to Shilla... no, I thought I could win the heart of Princess. I don't think I made a mistake, and His Royal Highness will agree with me.”

Giroo asks Mojin for the list of ingredients that Baekje gave to Sui so he can begin research on the medicinal plants. Giroo then asks Woosoo if she knows of an herb called Chunmokgeum, but she replies that she does not. Meanwhile, Bumro is trying to impress Eunjin by giving her a gold-colored box but she rejects him, saying, “Augh... will you stop giving me that ugly yellow thing?” Eunjin goes on to say “When it comes to how a man looks, I like someone who everyone thinks is handsome, not someone who's handsome in his own particular way.”

Sataek Giroo is walking by and he sees the gold box that Bumro is holding. He immediately recognized the potential and asks where he got it. Bumro answers that he got it from Jang's hut.

Bumro and Giroo finds Jang's notebook

Giroo immediately goes to Jang's hut and begins to search for clues. Bumro finds a notebook and begins to read, “I don't know the name of this tree, it's not Juchil or Heukchil but I think it can be used like one. The color is gold.” Woosoo joins them and tells Giroo she learned that Chungeummok is Hwangchilsu, a variety of lacquer. Three varieties of sap from lacquer trees produce different colors, Juchil produces red lacquer, Heukchil produces black lacquer while Hwangchil produces yellow lacquer. Giroo had never heard of Hwangchilsu; Woosoo explains that it is rare and difficult to extract and that is why it is used only for medicine.

Bumro shows Giroo the liquid he used to paint the box gold, and as he inspects the liquid, Giroo says to himself, “Jang, thank you. Finally, you helped me put an end to my mission.”

Bumro used the Hwangchil lacquer to paint the box, giving it a radiant gold finish, but he did not equate it to the gold armor research. Upon seeing the golden box, Giroo immediately saw the potential and followed through, but without Jang's research on trees and their by-products, Giroo would not have been able to produce the myunggwanggae so quickly.

Haneulchae people admire the myunggwanggae

Chungeummok (Rhus japonic)

Chungeummok (Rhus japonic) is a tree of the Rhus verniciflua Stokes family. The sap is used to make lacquer. The most common lacquer collected from Rhus verniciflua Stokes is either black or dark red, but the sap of Rhus japonic has a gold color. (This was used to produce the myunggwanggae, the shining gold armor). It has the same characteristics as black lacquer, is very strong and durable and resists cuts and scratches.

The sap is tapped from the trunk of a ten-year-old tree by slashing the trunk horizontally five to ten times. Caution must be taken when working with all parts of the lacquer tree, including the greyish yellow sap that exudes from the wounds. It contains resinous phenolic compounds known as urushiols. Direct contact with the plant, exposure to smoke fumes or even contact with a pet exposed to the urushiol can cause reddening and severe blistering of the skin similar to poison oak and poison ivy.-- After the sap is collected and processed by filtering and heat-treating, color may be added. Unpigmented urushi is dark brown but the most common colors of urushi finishes are black and red. These colors are achieved by adding powdered pigments of iron and ferric oxide. The urushi is then applied to the base material being lacquered. Curing the sap requires drying in a warm, humid chamber for ten to twelve hours. The curing process produces a clear, hard waterproof surface.

Products coated with urushi are recognizable by an extremely durable and glossy finish. Urushi lacquer is used for tableware, musical instruments and jewelry just to name a few. The leaves, seeds and resin are also used in Chinese medicine for the treatment of internal parasites and to stop bleeding. (For more information on lacquer trees visit urushi-kobo).

Stealing Arrows (Episode 16)

Buyeosun's strategy to ambush the Shilla army in the ravine below Goosung Mountain ends in defeat and his troops are forced to retreat to Cheonwie Fortress. The Baekje army is reduced to approximately 100 soldiers. With very little ammunition and supplies left, their only hope is to summon reinforcements by lighting the mountaintop signal fire, alerting nearby forces. After several failed attempts to reach the Shilla controlled signal tower, Buyeosun decides to offer the death row prisoners freedom and riches if they can make their way to the signal tower and light the fire.

Jang lights the signal fire

After thinking for a moment Daejang accepts the offer. Realizing that a slim chance is better than none, Jang accepts too. The five prisoners use the element of surprise to break through the Shilla troops at the castle gate and make it to the mountain top where the signal tower is located. After a fierce battle between the prisoners and Shilla solders, Jang climbs up the ladder and lights the signal fire.

Aja Taeja's battalion stationed at Dosal Castle see the signal and rush to help Buyeosun's embattled troops. As Aja's battalion approaches Cheonwie Fortress the Shilla army begins its retreat.

I will not meet you as a man like that.

After returning to the castle, Jang takes a moment to contemplate his situation. He silently thinks, “Princess, I survived. You told me I must live to meet you again, and I survived. However, I don't want to see you. I don't want to see you as a man who can't protect his princess. I will not meet you as a man like this. Not as a man like this.”

Buyeosun wants to attack the retreating forces even though his troops are far outnumbered. Heuk Chipyung says. “But we don't have many soldiers.” Buyeosun replies, “Don't you know that in a war, the size of the army isn't what is important? Our men are inspired after seeing what the prisoners did. Besides, we must attack while the Shilla army is retreating, catching them off guard. Moreover, Aja is coming with the second battalion. I cannot face Prince Aja as a defeated general.”

Buyeosun has Heuk Chipyung gather the soldiers and prisoners together. Using the prisoners as inspiration he says, “Learn from these men who fought for their lives, even though they were already sentenced to death. They were only five people, fighting against countless Shilla soldiers. Learn to fight like them. Then, you too will survive, and the gods of victory will be with us.”

The prisoners are led away and Heuk Chipyung's men begin arming them with bows and arrows. Jang says, “This isn't what you promised us.” As Buyeosun walks up he replies, “I don't keep promises to the powerless. If you want me to keep my promise, become powerful.” Jang refuses to fight. Buyeosun says,“ Then you shall die. Isn't it better to have a second chance to live? There must be a reason you survived, otherwise you would be dead already. That's a powerful weapon in my hands.”

Jang: “We are not weapons. We are people. Why don't you just kill me now?” Buyeosun has them put back in prison.

While imprisoned, Jang contemplates his fate. He realizes that his lack of power has contributed to him not being able to protect Princess Sunhwa, forcing him to flee Shilla alone. Jang thinks to himself, “Is this how things are? Am I really that powerless? The fact that I lost my mother, and the way I escaped by myself, not being able to protect you princess, did all these things happen because I'm powerless?”

Never have I felt this sense of failure before.

Jang requests an audience with Buyeosun. He says, “First of all, I want to thank you. Sir Japyung, though I'm very young and inexperienced, you taught me a great lesson in life.

Never have I felt this sense of failure before. I always wondered why my mother died, why I had to live as a fugitive, why I couldn't love a woman freely, and why I was so affected by circumstances that I was unable to protect the woman I love. But you have taught me today. It's because I lack power. I need power. In order to accomplish even the smallest of my goals, I'll need power." Buyeosun replies, "For a man like you to have power, you need a leader. I will give you power. Serve me.”

Jang: “Someone like you who hurts and threatens people cannot be my leader. Such a man might be able to gain weapons, but he won't win the hearts of people. Although you have taught me a great lesson, I will never be a weapon in your hands. I asked for a hearing in order to tell you this. Kill me.”

Buyeosun draws his sword and just as he is about to strike, Aja Taeja walks in.

Aja Taeja has a heated discussion with Buyeosun about his reckless plan to attack the retreating Shilla army. Aja says, “You call this a great military tactic?” Buyeosun replies, “Should I ask before sending them if they're willing to risk their lives? Should I persuade them to fight hard though they might die? ”

Aja replies, “Are you saying that the soldiers would rather trust a commander who uses lies and threats?” Buyeosun, “It's not that the soldiers trust a leader who lies and threatens, but the soldiers won't trust a leader who loses.”

Buyeosun finds himself in an untenable situation and he decides the only way out is to relinquish leadership to Aja Taeja. He says, “You're right. After listening to My Lord the Prince, it seems that I don't know how to fight a war. Therefore, this time I want to learn from My Lord, the Prince. Please take command of this war.”

After much thought Jang decides to serve Aja Taeja because he is an inspiration to the solders and upholds the ideals that Jang finds valuable in a leader. He asks Prince Aja to share his dream of uniting the three countries. After the alliance with Goguryeo falls through due to Shilla presenting them with the Myunggwanggae first, the Baekje army is left to their own resources.

Jang infiltrates the Shilla camp armory.

During a conversation with Daejang, Jang is asked about the condition of the Baekje forces and if he knows the enemies situation. Jang replies, “Actually... I'm not sure.” Daejang says, “How will you fight without knowing your enemy?” Jang decides to spy on the Shilla forces. He tells Aja, “I've heard that in a war, knowing the enemies situation is as crucial as knowing our own. So I will go and see how many men and weapons they have, and how their food and water are supplied.”

Jang, Daejang and Sopal infiltrate the Shilla camp and learn that their enemy is well supplied with food, water and ammunition. The Shilla forces are especially well armed with arrows and Nobyeong, soldiers with special training in archery skills.

Upon returning to Cheonwie Fortress Jang sets in motion a plan to steal the Shilla arrows. He has the soldiers gather large amounts of straw, bundle it and stack it in the foggy ravine separating the Shilla and Baekje forces. Buyeosun comments, “Are you planning to fight with hay instead of arrows?”

The Baekje solders incite the Shilla army to shoot arrows at them. The night is foggy and the Shilla archers do not realize they are shooting into straw sheaves. After the assault the Baekje soldiers collect the arrows embedded in the straw.

Nobyeong, Shilla's expert archersStraw sheaves and Shilla arrows

Heuk Chipyung runs to Buyeosun saying, “The second battalion led by Prince Aja used the fog and the straw sheaves to steal the arrows from the Shilla soldiers. After learning that the ravine where we were attacked is usually filled with fog, they incited the enemy to shoot arrows at them.”

Buyeosun:“He piled up the straw sheaves there, didn't he? Now Shilla has lost its arrows, and Baekje has gained them.” Heuk Chipyung tells him that the counter-attack has begun.

Realizing the significance of the events, Buyeosun whispers, “It is my defeat.”

“It is my defeat.”

Baekje Military and Diplomatic Titles

There were six Japyungs in Baekje. Naesinjapyung used to be called Sangjapyung, but later the Sangjapyung title was created to head all six Japyungs; the title of Naesinjapyung stayed. Ranks from Japyung to Naesol wear purple clothes and silver decorated hats.

Sangjapyung Buyeogae, King Weeduk's brother and heir to the kingshipNasol Jang

Under Weeduk Wang's reign, Buyeosun's rank was Wiesajapyung. Under Buyeosun's reign, Sataek Giroo held the position, followed by Gaek Ju (Daejang) under Muwang's reign. Wangoo Mujang held the position of Dalsol (Imperial Guard Captain to Weeduk Wang). In Episode 18, Aja Taeja appointed Jang Naesol, General Coordinator, the head of human resources of all government officials.

  • Wiesajapyung — Defense Military General
  • Dalsol — 2nd in command
  • Eunson — 3rd in command
  • Duksol — 4th in command
  • Hansol — 5th in command
  • Naesol — 6th in command, General Coordinator
  • Naesinjapyung — Finance, Accounting, Internal affair, also called Joongjapyung
  • Naedoojapyung — Storage, inventory Agriculture
  • Naebeobjapyung — Diplomacy, ceremony Foreign Minister
  • Jojungjapyung — Law enforcement, Attorney General, also called Hajapyung
  • Byungkwanjapyung — Military Office management
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Faith

Jingaksa Meditation Tower

Sunhwa spent many hours walking around Jingaksa Meditation Tower, only stopping when exhausted, as she waited for word from Jang.

Sunhwa walks around Jingaksa Meditation Tower.

Seoktop (stone temple)
By 1Korea

Monks who have reached the level of saint produce large amounts of Sari.

In Korea, a pagoda is called a Seoktop, meaning stone-tower. There are three kinds of pagodas. Pagodas constructed with mud-brick, found in India and China, Japanese pagodas constructed with wood, and  Korean pagodas constructed with granite. This explains why most of the Korean pagodas are well preserved.

A pagoda usually has a small chamber inside to store Sari (see image at right) and sutra. Sari is crystallized residue out of cremation. Cremation of an unenlightened person does not produce Sari, but monks who have reached the level of saint produce large amounts of Sari, even in these days. Sari is believed to be the crystallization of the monk's spirit and is said to have mythical power to grant the wishes of desperate ones. Many parents who wish their children to pass college exams, people who want to get good jobs, cure sickness, and so on, circle around the pagoda and pray.

MireuksaMireuksa temple complex

Mu Wang built the largest Buddhist temple in Korean history and named it Mireuksa (Mireuk stands for Maitreya in Korean), at the exact spot where Sunhwa wished. A lake existed in the same location so he had it filled with dirt to create the foundation of the temple complex. Although the temple was destroyed during the war with Japan, one of its stone towers (seoktops) was recently restored as shown.

The Seoktop on the west side of the Mireuksa temple site is one of the oldest and grandest stone pagodas remaining in Korea today. It is a representative relic of Baekje culture. For detailed information, visit the Mireuksaji Museum web site.

Mireuksa temple groundsSeoktop on the west side of the Mireuksa temple site

Maitreya (Mireuk Bosal)Maitreya - Mireuk Bosal

Maitreya, front viewMaitreya, back view

Seated Maitreya
Three Kingdoms period, late 6th century
Gilt bronze, h. 83.2 cm
The National Museum of Korea, Seoul
National Treasure No. 78

This seated bodhisattva Maitreya in contemplation is one of the most famous Korean Buddhist statues. Maitreya, who dwells in the Tushita heaven from which he will descend as the Buddha of the Future, was thought to hold the promise of enlightenment for all sentient beings. The depiction of this deity in contemplation derives from an iconographic convention originally applied to images of the historical Buddha Shakyamuni, whose contemplation of the suffering of sentient beings prompted his search for enlightenment.

The serene expression of this image and the delicately posed hand raised to the right cheek create a sense of profound concentration that is reinforced by the slight bend of the shoulders and the forward-leaning position of the torso. The extraordinary thinness of the bronze (less than one centimeter thick) testifies to the accomplished casting skills of artisans of the Three Kingdoms period.

Images and description courtesy of Arts of Korea, The Metropolitan Museum of Art © 1998, New York

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