The Colonized Body: Korean Women’s Sexuality and Health

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:
The Colonized Body: Korean Women’s Sexuality and Health

Show Summary Details


This chapter examines the discursive forces that competed to define Korean women's bodies and reproductive capacities within the framework of medical science. Reproducing the nation was a top priority for all modernizing countries but was even more pressing under colonial occupation. To emerge victorious and independent, Koreans needed not only numbers but strong, healthy bodies and minds to rebuild the homeland. Critical debates about the modernization of childbirth, birth control, age of marriage, and hygiene opened up a new arena of discourse on sex. While the colonial government sought to improve the quality and quantity of its workforce in the empire, Koreans aimed to create a healthier population to assume control over an independent nation. They also resisted Japanese attempts to colonize the Korean “national body” by maintaining as much control as possible over the public discourse.

Keywords: Korean women's bodies; medical science; colonial occupation; sex; colonial government

Chapter.  10821 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Asian History

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.