The annals, or sillok, comprise 1, volumes and are thought to cover the longest continual period of a single dynasty in the world. Compilation During the reign of a king, professional historiographers maintained extensive records on national affairs and the activities of the state. They collected documents and wrote daily accounts that included state affairs as well as diplomatic affairs, the economy, religion, meteorological phenomena, the arts, and daily life, among other things. These daily accounts became the Sacho "Draft History".
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The Mt. Taebaek version Sillok totals 1, fascicles in books Organization and contents of the Sillok Most of the annals compilation projects followed the procedures and format adopted for the Veritable Records of Taejo. These are outlined below. Such a layout makes the Sillok appear to be the typical annals document, but much more is provided than the facts recorded in a log or diary. The main text is laid out chronologically.
In principle, the year after the ruler ascends the throne i. This was the case with Sejo, Jungjong and Injo. The annals for the early Joseon rulers record the season along with the lunar month e.
However, one space is left in front of the characters for the personal name of the king in question or of his predecessors, as well as for passages that refer to actions taken personally by these Joseon rulers.
Despite this, the Sillok can be aptly described as being a record on virtually every subject. Notably, the annals written in early Joseon contain much information that would be difficult to justify according to strict Confucian norms. With the passage of time, the rich diversity of the Sillok contents diminished with the focus increasingly put on political matters.
A classic example of such guidelines can be found in the Veritable Records of King Hyojong. The guidelines have been summarized below to shed some light on the types of contents recorded in the Sillok: Veritable Records of King Hyojong Compilation Guidelines 1. All imperial decrees from China and royal edicts related to the present dynasty Joseon are cited directly.
When information on these persons is incomplete, it is to be supplemented by the public opinion toward them, or his own writings and tombstone epitaph.
Daily entries are indicated in terms of the sexagenary cycle. As a general rule, records by the Office for Observance of Natural Phenomena are examined when detailing natural disasters and celestial portents, which are covered as individual events.
Each typhoon, earthquake and other natural disaster that occurs in outlying regions must be recorded without fail by examining the reports that were submitted the throne at the time of occurrence. As a general rule, details on selections for government posts besides the unimportant positions, miscellaneous tasks, extraneous officials, and honorary positions are to be written after examining the personnel-related documents at the Ministry of Personnel and Ministry of War.
However, when important new details are included, they are to be recorded. In the event of a major controversy, the names of the principle proponents and opponents must be recorded.
The most important of the memorials to the throne are to be recorded entirely, but unimportant details within those memorials may be omitted. Ceremonial resignations normally need not be recorded in full. However, when these actions involve questions of right and wrong with regard to government affairs, they must be recorded.
The number of soldiers in the military, the legal practices within and without the capital area, and the number of households throughout the state must be recorded in detail, after examining the relevant documents. The writers must strive to keep the text both concise and substantive, deleting useless passages and simplifying confusing parts. Issues of the auspicious such as weddings, birthdays and inauspicious funerals ceremonies at court which are of value to future generations concerning the standards and norms of behavior should be recorded despite their complexity.
Important points must, without fail, be recorded in summary regarding the demotion and promotion of officials and their right and wrong deeds in both the public and private spheres. The above text illustrates what the Sillok compilers believed to be important and provides clues as to how they organized the material. That is to say, the annals were always produced posthumously. The division offices normally numbered three but could be increased to as many as six when the deceased ruler had had a very long reign and the volume of records was immense.
Each division was responsible for compiling the records covering a predetermined number of successive reign years. The Committee on Compilation was mainly staffed by high- and mid-ranking officials who concurrently served as diarist-historians in the Bureau of State Records or had posts in the Office of Special Counselors. However, when the volume of material to be complied was especially great, officials with excellent writing skills were recruited from throughout the court.
Once the compilation project was officially announced and the Committee on Compilation established, the court would issue a countrywide decree requiring the submission of all the daily records kept at home by former dedicated diarist-historians, by officials who once served concurrently as diarist-historians or by surviving family members.
A heavy punishment awaited those who failed to meet the submission deadline. The daily records collected in this way served as the primary source material for the Sillok compilation project.
First, the three or more division offices would glean the most important facts from the various source materials at their disposal, starting with the Records of Administration that were kept at the Bureau of State Records, and produce an initial handwritten manuscript.
In the second stage, the first draft was reviewed by the higher-ranking officials in the office of general compilation. They added important content that had been omitted, deleted content that was deemed unimportant, and corrected factual errors to produce a handwritten second draft. Finally, this text was examined for accuracy by the Director-General and other top-ranking officials. They not only amended errors but also ensured that the writing style and organization of the entire work was consistent, creating a final to print finished copies.
At the end of their duties each day, the diarist-historians submitted their verbatim reports to the Bureau, where they were organized in chronological order and bundled with other relevant materials such as memorials, edicts, administrative reports, and the appointments and dismissals of officials.
The daily reports by the diarist-historians sagwan were the most important of all the source materials used in Sillok compilation. A total of eight dedicated sagwan worked in the Office of Royal Decrees: two senior diarist-historians bonggyo, 7a rank , two diarist-historians daegyo, 8a rank and four assistant diarist-historians geomyeol, 9a rank. However, many other scholar-officials were appointed to serve concurrently as sagwan while holding a separate post.
These included the whole officials of the Office of Special Counselors, the Royal Secretariat, and the Palace Library, in addition to one from each of the Six Ministries as well as the vice provincial governors of the eight provinces. The job of the diarist-historian was to follow the monarch around and take notes of his words and deeds.
They also recorded verbatim what they say and heard about discussions at court on state affairs, actions taken by the government, the success or failure of those actions, good and bad customs practiced by the people, proper and improper activities in the countryside, and so on. They turned in their reports on everyday government affairs, but their reports on sensitive issues were kept at home and only submitted to the government at the time of the Sillok compilation.
At the same time, any diarist-historian who allowed his the contents of his notes to be leaked would face heavy punishment. Despite this, their writings sometimes would become known, which could lead to tragic consequences. The compilers were required to maintain the confidentiality of those notes and the Sillok contents as a whole, while their duty to document fairly and accurately was emphasized at all times.
In reality, however, the diarist-historians feared retaliation for their being candid and would sometimes avoid recording events the way they actually witnessed them or revise portions of their notes, although such action was strictly forbidden. They were held accountable by the rule that required the names of the diarist-historians to put on the notes.
Segeom-jeong is located there today. The mulberry paper on which the documents were written was then reused. In late Joseon, the supply of mulberry paper was plentiful, and most of the source materials were simply burned. The completed Sillok were then stored in archives that were built expressly for this purpose. The Sillok that were stored inside the archives were taken out and exposed to direct sunlight once every three years to prevent water and insect damage.
One dedicated diarist-historian was required to be present at this event in order to ensure that the ceremonial rules were followed. The confidentiality of the Sillok contents was strictly guarded during this event as well.
The Veritable Records of the Joseon Dynasty were preserved for centuries in archives that were located in remote, mountainous areas around the country. The average person was forbidden access to their contents, and even the ruler or top-ranking officials were not able to view the Veritable Records privately. These records were used solely as a reference when deciding matters to state administration. When the situation called for such a reference, a diarist-historian was specially dispatched to the archive to transcribe only the portion of the text that was relevant to the issue at hand.
The Sillok was a record of good and bad state governance as well as the honorable and dishonorable deeds done by both rulers and subjects, thus requiring such strict measures for the compilation and protection of its contents.
The need for facilities to preserve the Sillok became immediately apparent to the government as soon as the Veritable Records of King Taejong were produced. Therefore, on the recommendation of the Office of Inspector-General, new archives were completed near Jeonju Jeolla Province and Seongju Gyeongsang Province in the sixth month of Three additional copies of the Veritable Records were made by the eleventh month of , resulting in four sets.
These were distributed for preservation in the Bureau of State Records as well as in the archives at Chungju, Jeonju, and Seongju. From the Veritable Records of King Sejong, the compilation project would produce one handwritten version of the final draft along with three copies printed with moveable metallic type, and these four sets would be preserved in archives at four different locations.
No printed versions of these documents ever existed. They heard the news that the invading Japanese troops had reached Geumsan in the sixth month of and used their own funds to move fascicles of Sillok texts, covering the reigns from Taejo to Myeongjong, as well as other documents stored in the Jeonju archive, to Eunbong-am, a Buddhist hermitage on Mt.
Naejang, in Jeong-eup Township. The two scholars took turns guarding the precious documents for more than a year, until they could be handed over to the government authorities in the seventh month of The government officials who received the texts first transported them to the coast and then by sea to Haeju Hwanghae Province.
The Imjin War ended in , leaving a devastated country and a government bereft of funds and material resources. Despite the difficulties, a month-long project was launched in the seventh month in to reproduce three printed sets of the first thirteen Veritable Records from Taejo to Myeongjong.
The project ended in the third month of with five complete sets of the Joseon Sillok up to that time the original set from Jeonju, a handwritten revised version used as the master for printing, plus the three printed sets. One of these five sets was returned to the Bureau of State Records in the capital and referred to as needed by the government.
Each of the other four was safeguarded at one of the archives newly built in remote locations deemed to be less vulnerable to destruction in the event of a war: Mt. Mani on Ganghwa Island; Mt. Taebaek in Gyeongsang Province; Mt. Odae in Gangwon Province. The newly printed sets were stored at the Bureau of State Records, on Mt. Taebaek and on Mt. The original set from Jeonju ended up at Mt. Mani, while the revised master set went to Mt.
The set that was lost was never reproduced, and the Sillok was no longer maintained at the Bureau of State Records. Subsequent annals were produced in four sets only, and these were preserved in the four archives outside the capital. The Later Jin arose in Manchuria in , and diplomatic relations between Joseon and the Manchus soured, prompting the government to relocated the archives at Mt.
Myohyang to a new archive on Mt. Jeoksang, in Jeolla Province. The Sillok at Mt. Mani on Ganghwa-do suffered extensive damage during the Manchu invasion of Joseon in Numerous pages and even entire fascicles were lost, but the missing parts were fully restored during the reign of Hyeonjong r.
A new archive was on Ganghwa-do, this time on Mt.
Annals of Joseon Dynasty
In this TV drama, the male protagonist, a scholar supporting the reinstatement of the deposed Queen In-Hyun in the Joseon Dynasty time-travelled to the Seoul, and fell in love with an actress who was cast as Queen In-Hyun in a TV drama. The records of King Gojong 26th ruler and King Sunjong the 27th and final ruler are not included in the Joseon Annals because these records were prepared during the Japanese colonial period not in accordance with the strict compilation standards, and there might be distortions of the records. The Joseon Annals consist of 1, volumes and are arranged by chronological order, including the events of every single day during the year history. The annals were compiled based on daily records kept by the historiograpers and other reference materials such as records kept by the government departments. Even the king could not interfere with the recording of the historiographers — one incident was that King Taejong fell off his horse while hunting and asked the historiographer not to record this.
Compilation[ edit ] During the reign of a king, professional historiographers maintained extensive records on national affairs and the activities of the state. They collected documents and wrote daily accounts that included state affairs as well as diplomatic affairs, the economy, religion, meteorological phenomena, the arts, and daily life, among other things. These daily accounts became the Sacho "Draft History". Great care was taken to ensure the neutrality of the historiographers, who were also officials with legal guarantees of independence. Nobody was allowed to read the Sacho, not even the king, and any historiographer who disclosed its contents or changed the content could be punished with beheading.