While Europe experienced the Middle Ages and waged war in the Crusades, the Korean peninsula was ruled by the Koryo dynasty, which lasted from 918 to 1392 AD. This era is remembered for the unification of the previous three Korean kingdoms, its pottery, Buddhist wood carvings and movable type technology; yet there is comparatively little popular knowledge about the period’s political system and society.
To learn more about the Koryo dynasty, we had the privilege of meeting with Professor Remco Breuker who discussed with us some of its characteristics and especially its pluralistic nature.
Remco Breuker is Professor of Korean Studies at Leiden University in the Netherlands. He obtained his PhD from the same university and pursued graduate studies there as well as at Seoul National University. He has published on Korean history in various academic journals, translated numerous modern and historic texts from Korean, and is the author of Establishing a Pluralist Society in Medieval Korea – History, Ideology, and Identity in the Koryo Dynasty, which was published in 2010.
When we talk about Koryo, that’s what I think we talk about: the first coming together of a community with a very diverse, very rich, and very not unified history which slowly crystalized into a separate identity…
The interview was recorded on March 1st in Leiden, the Netherlands.