Women in Chosŏn Korea

Theodore Jun Yoo

in The Politics of Gender in Colonial Korea

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2008 | ISBN: 9780520252882
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520934153 | DOI:
Women in Chosŏn Korea

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This chapter provides background by examining the values and structures of the Chosŏn dynasty (1392–1910) and the advent of Westernization through modern education. Instead of viewing the traditional family as simply an oppressive patriarchal structure with an abstract set of rules, this chapter examines how the family was defined and how social and cultural institutions such as ancestor veneration, funerary rites, succession, inheritance, and marriage shaped gender roles during the Chosŏn dynasty. The development of Western-style schools for men and women in Korea depended on the interplay of three important forces—American missionaries, the colonial government, and traditional Korean schools. The principal thesis is that during the twenty-year period (1890–1910) of active missionary work, the honeymoon with Western ideas, a small window of opportunity allowed a generation of Korean women to receive a Western-style education.

Keywords: Chosŏn dynasty; Westernization; modern education; American missionaries; colonial government; traditional Korean schools

Chapter.  14304 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Asian History

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