This paper focuses on how South Korean early study abroad (ESA) daughters think about their fathers as architects of their ESA experiences. These families which send their children abroad for better education have been noted for their flexible form, strategically relocating their family members across borders to maximize their opportunities to accumulate global capital. In this paper, however, we turn the lens to intergenerational and often conflicted relations within these transnational families – to the family not as a unified global capital accumulation unit, but as an often conflicted body. We note that ESA daughters’ ambivalence about their fathers as global architects and their own interest in controlling their education and employment has historical roots in the social mobility schemes and relations of earlier generations. Through an analysis of three ESA daughters’ narratives on their experiences with their fathers, we argue that the daughters are very interested in the intrinsic value of study abroad or cosmopolitanism and take issue with what can appear to be their fathers’ approach to the extrinsic value of study abroad.
Eligible Wife was the latest work of writer Jeong Seongju in 2012. Using a reportage-like realistic portrayal, it explores the clash between two of the most controversial issues for married women: infidelity and children’s education. The basic structure of Eligible Wife is that within the hellish environment where most are brimming with the desire to maintain or ameliorate their social status through education and women play a crucial role as mothers, infidelity reveals a vision for a new way of life. Jeong Seongju’s intricate and balanced description shows at the same time that this living hell is too complex to overcome through a simple “good will triumph” ending. Although education is the most significant intermediary, the focus on child education is not simply the mother’s fulfillment of vicarious satisfaction or her identity formation. Because this living hell contains the entire society’s struggles and desires concerning class, gender , and relationships, everyone involved cannot be unhappy, or happy, at the same time. Jeong Seongju shows ng the fact that nobody is able to thoroughly criticize or take responsibility for the Korean class system, which is maintained and is still believed to be reversible through education. In this aspect, Jeong’s drama is particularly useful for interpreting the desires and identity of Korean society.
The purpose of this study is to explore the multifaceted aspects of the Korean women’s movement of Japanese military “comfort women” from a postcolonial feminist perspective. Based on ethnographic research, over ten years of participant observation as an insider-outsider of the movement, and in-depth interviews, this paper analyzes the ways in which the movement’s activism and its dominant principles shifted within the context of an expanding political space brought on by ongoing negotiations and/or conflict with legacies of Imperial Japan and androcentric nationalism. From the outset, the “comfort women” movement questioned the colonial legacies and androcentric nationalism that doubly oppress colonized women. It has problematized the way in which the elision of “I” represented in repetitive national narratives, actually insists that subaltern “comfort women” cannot speak for themselves. I argue that the most important movement contribution is to lead “comfort women” to speaking out, which exposes the impossibility of nationalism without competitive performativity. Therefore, what we need to do, rather than insisting that the movement is a simple “nationalist one,” is to take responsibility to produce a new space that can offer insight about our past in the present with a transformative recognition of “comfort women.”
This paper examines the 1944 publication, To My Soldier Brother 徴兵の兄さんへ, a collection of “comfort letters” written by Korean elementary school students addressed to an anonymous group of “Soldier Brothers.” Like shrine visits and memorization of military songs, letter-writing was a performance of allegiance demanded upon the colonized that revealed imperial investment in articulating an imagined kinship between Korean subjects and imperial soldiers. Through a close reading of its highly prescribed contents that converge on the Korean pledge of loyalty to and overflowing gratitude for the Emperor, this paper shows how Korean children negotiated their membership in the empire and what emotions were generated in their writings. Although their ultimate goal was full membership within the imperial kinship, the Korean children wholly recognized and registered their place in the empire as hantŏjin first, and then expressed their desire to become Japanese, naichijin.
This paper investigates the history behind the appearance of Korean prostitutes and brothels (Chosenro 朝鮮樓) in red-light districts (yukaku 遊廓) across Taiwan during the Japanese colonial period from the 1920s, and the different sex-trade markets created in Korea and Taiwan under the Japanese state-regulated prostitution system. As we can see from the appearance and spread of Chosenro in Taiwan, although the two colonies adopted the same state-regulated prostitution under the Japanese colonial rule, sex-trade markets in Korea and Taiwan were shaped quite differently, causing the one-way migration of procurer s and sex-workers from Korea to Taiwan. In addition, in light of the fact that Japanese state-regulated prostitution created different structures of sex-trade market in Korea and Taiwan, instead of looking at it within the scope of Korean history and using Japan as the only comparable case, this paper suggests an alternative approach to examining the colonial prostitution policy.
The Korean educated women of the 1900s (the latter part of the Enlightenment period in modern Korean history) shared some similarities with the New Women of the 1920s but also had distinctive traits that differentiated them. This paper attempts to define the concept of New Women through exploring the following aspects in these women’s lives: (1) modern knowledge and education; (2) modern body and consumption practices; and (3) feminist consciousness, values, ideas, and practices. Although the women of both periods shared certain traits of (1) and (2) in common, they showed significant differences regarding feminist consciousness, ideas, and practices. These women during the Enlightenment period were different from traditional women in that they demanded equal opportunity for education, economic independence, and women’s involvement in social and professional activities. They were also differentiated from the New Women of the 1920s who brought the idea of free love and other questions of women’s emancipation to public discourses. The women of the 1900s were influenced by modern feminist ideals and accepted modern ideas and practices through studying abroad. The pressure imposed by the remaining traditions mediated the colonial Korean adaptation of these ideas and practices to take a selective and hybrid form. Patriotism and nationalism, which were major themes of the period, and the inherent limitations imposed by the historical circumstances deeply influenced the formation of feminist ideas among these women. These women were modern liberal feminists regarding their emphasis on women’s consciousness and independence, expansion of education and equal opportunity for women, and women’s participation in social activities and freedom of profession. However, they maintained a conservative attitude towards the issues of sexuality and love and promoted the ideas of chastity and wise-mother-and-good-daughter. In this respect, they were different from the New Women of the next generation. A lapse of two more decades was needed for the appearance of a radical feminist vision and interpretation.
The increased popularity of Buddhist rituals in the 16th to the 18th centuries of the Joseon period can be characterized as broad popularization of rituals. Rituals were part of a shared practice among the various traditions including Confucianism, Buddhism, and Shamanism through which people communed with the spirits. One of the main underlying norms of Buddhist rituals was filial piety which had been a general societal virtue. This was part of a complex process of adaptation through which societal moral values became adopted by Buddhist monks. This was especially the case with the popularization of the Zhu Xi Family Rites during the 17th century and its adoption into various streams of the Joseon Society. Indeed, the realm of rituals formed a socio-cultural sphere that allowed the two traditions, Buddhism and Confucianism, to engage in borrowing and exchange where the boundaries and identities become blurred. In a situation as such it becomes difficult and almost meaningless to label certain values as filiality and ancestor worship as solely that of Confucianism. This is simply a part of how the monks adjusted to the situation through concrete changes in thought and practice, a process of religious adaption and transformation.