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a term that originally designated two categories of the service class in feudal Korea—civil officials (munban) and military officials (muban). Later, for a period beginning in the 12th century and under the Yi dynasty, it was used to refer to the highest class, membership in which was hereditary.

As feudalism developed, the number of yangban grew; the increase was particularly marked in the period of dissolution of feudalism, which began in the 18th century. The yangban were exempt from feudal obligations. In provincial areas, the class expanded as prosperous peasants and merchants paid the government for the right to belong to it.

In modern historical literature the term yangban is applied to the ruling class in feudal Korea and is used in the sense of feudal lords or landowners.

References in periodicals archive ?
Even the yangban class learned, much to their dismay, the streetcars waited for no one.
He includes a few references to corruption in the yangban exams and in the "rent-seeking social networking if not corruption at higher education institutes" (p.
Most cases involve homicide, often triggered by adulterous affairs, and feature suspects and witnesses from all walks of life, from elderly yangban to peddlers, from young slave wives to widowed scholars.
Its ruling yangban elite gradually developed their own version of neo-Confucianism, although some of the larger changes would come from occasional interjections of outside influence (Deuchler, 1992; Cumings, 1997; Kleiner, 2001; Chung, 2006; Song, 2010).
Holcombe places special emphasis on the economic and social changes, including the commercialization of the Chinese economy, the institution of the Yangban social orders in Korea, and the origins of the samurai and rise of the daimyo in Japan.
Early converts to evangelicalism were mostly lower-class Koreans from northern parts of the country, but by the late 1890s, evangelicalism was also making inroads into the ranks of the politically minded upper class, or yangban.
government gradually became organized into a rigidly hierarchical bureaucracy consisting of civil and military officials: the yangban.
As a cross-cultural adaptation of Choderlos de Laclos's 1782 novel Les Liaisons dangereuses (Dangerous Liaisons), Untold Scandal depicts Chosun aristocratic culture in a very unconventional way: In lieu of royal families, famed artists, or oppressed feudal women, the clandestine libertine sexcapades of the ruling yangban class come into narrative focus.
For an insightful case study on how the pattern of officeholding varied even among the aristocrats, see Ch'oe Sung-hui, "Choson hugi yangban ui sahwan kwa kase pyondong: Sonsan muban'ga No Sang-ch'u ui sarye rul chungsim uro" [Officeholding and changing family fortune among late Choson aristocrats: The case of No Sang-ch'u from a military family of Sonsan], Han'guksa ron 19 (1988), 355-84.
Moreover, throughout the Chosun Dynasty, kisaeng (female entertainers similar to Japanese geisha) were trained as registered entertainers to serve the yangban class, an elite ruling stratum including landowners, officials, and scholars.
For instance, Malttuki repeatedly uses the word yangban as a homonym to describe a person of noble birth as well as other things:
Adding to Eva's modern secular lifestyle is the fact that she falls in love with Tai Jin Pak, a native Korean from a prominent yangban (upper or literary class) family while he is studying in the United States.