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Today in Korean history

All News 14:00 April 04, 2017

April 5

1860 -- Choi Je-u establishes Donghak (eastern studies), an indigenous Korean religion that integrated ideas of Christianity, Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism as well as promoted humanitarian values.

It also developed into a movement of farmers against the feudal system and corrupt bureaucrats of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). The movement started in South Jeolla Province as the rural economy deteriorated from heavy taxes and the removal of large amounts of rice from the country by the Japanese. Donghak opposed the intrusion of Western culture and promoted Korean theories, such as "pungsu," divination based on topography, and "innaecheon," a belief that an individual is equal to heaven. Choi was later executed on charges of deceiving the public with false religious theories.

1864 -- Heungseon Daewongun, father of King Gojong of the Joseon Dynasty, becomes de facto ruler as his son takes power at age 12. He implemented ambitious reform measures, purging certain families from top posts that they had occupied for a long time and replacing them with non-partisan officials. He also removed shrines nationwide which had been built for education and ancestral worship in local communities but were often used as bases for partisan movements. Among 600 shrines, only 47 considered as exemplary academic towers survived. He promoted an isolation policy towards Western countries, which was opposed by his daughter-in-law Empress Myeongseong. Criticism of his reform measures continued and he was driven out of power in 1873. He later returned to power but only briefly.

1949 -- Arbor Day is established in South Korea.

1961 -- South Korea establishes diplomatic relations with Greece.

2009 -- North Korea fires a long-range rocket which it says carries "communications satellite Kwangmyongsong-2." The North claimed the satellite has successfully entered into orbit.

But South Korea and the United States said that the North failed to put the satellite into orbit after its three-stage rocket fell into the Pacific Ocean along with its payload.

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