Sungkyunkwan University (성균관대학교)
Many of you might already have heard the word “Sungkyunkwan” from the famous Korean drama named “Sungkyunkwan scandal.” It was a fusion historical drama whose setting was during Chosun Dynasty. The story was about a girl who disguised herself to be a boy in order to take civil service examination and serve as a government official.
Those who are not familiar with Korean history might find the plot of the story quite difficult to understand. Basically, during Chosun dynasty, the period before the face of Republic of Korea, Confucianism was the state’s ideology. Confucian society was patriarch soceity, meaning that males play superior role in every unit of society, from the family till the governance. Also, in the drama you can also see that those who want to work in the government had to take civil service exams of Confucian classics.
Thus the name of the drama “Sungkyunkwan” has some historical meaning and directly related to the plot of the story. Historically, Sungkyunkwan was the first national institution of higher education in Chosun dynasty. In 1895, the institute established the department of Confucianism, providing a three-year degree program of history, mathematics and geography. It was considered to be a very innovative movement in education reflecting the society and political system based on meritocracy and Confucian values.
The institution was officially established as a university in 1938 in Sunggyobang, where Sungkyunkwan University’s Myeongnyun Campus is currently located. In 1946, the establishment of Sungkyunkwan College was permitted by the Ministry of Culture and Education. Then it became recognized as a university in 1953.
In the campus, there are various historic, traditional Korean buildings. These include Munmyo (Confucian Shrine) and Myeongnyundang (the main lecture hall). The 600th Anniversary Building houses a museum containing Confucian artifacts from the Joseon Dynasty.
Don’t forget to come and absorb the historical, traditional and cultural atmosphere of Korea from this place. The campus is especially beautiful in fall because of yellow leaves of the ginkgo trees abundant in the campus.
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