Tonghak

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Tonghak

 

the teaching of the Tonghak religious sect, which developed in Korea in the second half of the 19th century. The teaching was formulated by the impoverished yangban (aristocrat) Choe Che-u (1824–64) and gained popularity in southern Korea in the early 1860’s. Directed against feudal oppression and the official ideology of Confucianism, Tonghak included elements of Buddhism, the teachings of Lao-Tzu, and Christianity. It acknowledged the identity of human beings with a higher being and the right of all people to equality on earth.

From the 1860’s to the 1880’s, organizations of the Tonghak sect were formed throughout Korea. Under their influence, the peasant movements of the second half of the 19th century—including the most important movement, the Peasant Uprising of 1893–94—sought the establishment of equality and of freedom of religion.

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