In the years immediately prior to Japan's annexation of Korea in 1910, the historian Sin Ch'aeho posed a fundamental challenge to conventional assumptions about the limits of Korean territoriality: was the nation bound to the peninsula or did it more properly extend into the lands of Manchuria? For Sin, the answer was straightforward. Despite writing during the waning years of the Chosŏn dynasty—a time when the court could neither defy Japan's imposition of a protectorate nor resist Japanese pressure for Emperor Kojong to cede the throne, and when thousands in the Righteous Armies (Ŭibyŏng) were dying at the hands of the Japanese military in defense of the peninsula—Sin nevertheless called brazenly for a Korean Manchuria.

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