Concept

Yangban

Summary
The yangban () were part of the traditional ruling class or gentry of dynastic Korea during the Joseon Dynasty. The yangban were mainly composed of highly educated civil servants and military officers—landed or unlanded aristocrats who individually exemplified the Korean Confucian form of a "scholarly official". They were largely government administrators and bureaucrats who oversaw medieval and early modern Korea's traditional agrarian bureaucracy until the end of the dynasty in 1897. In a broader sense, an office holder's family and descendants, as well as country families who claimed such descent, were socially accepted as yangban. Overview Unlike noble titles in the European and Japanese aristocracies, which were conferred on a hereditary basis, the bureaucratic position of yangban was granted by law to yangban who meritoriously passed state-sponsored civil service exams called gwageo (). This exam was modeled on the imperial examinations first started during the Gorye
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