[KS] Re: y^onjwaje

seobs seobs at chosun.com
Tue Nov 21 07:31:56 EST 2000

I think you have the full name of the term. Someone else will have to fill you
in on the details but the term itself was used, if not invented, in chosOn.
Surely many pre-modern cultures have had practices lilke this at one time or

While still not unheard of today and especially not all that long ago, I do
not think that it was on the books, at least not by name, even before 1980,
though obviously the practice of ruling out people for certain positions (job
discrimination) because they had relatives of disagreable political
persuasions or even male relatives who had not gone to the military was as you
know quite widespread. 

Article 13 of the S Korean Constitution specifically prohibits punishment for
the deeds of relatives. (But then torture was never allowed either, was it?)

Author Yi MunyOl is rumored to have failed the Korean bar because of his
father went North when MunyOl was three years old. There are three stages in
the Korean bar. The first cha is just the impossibly difficult test, and so is
the second cha. Yi passed both the first and the second. The third cha is a
sinwOn choye, a background check if you will, and they only tell you whether
you pass or not, never the reason why not when you don't. Yi failed the third,
the only possible explaination being his father's decision to go North
(instead of being kidnapped and taken there against his will). Literary
critics have cited in his works and other writings resentment not of the
system for punishing him for his father's choices, but his father for ruining
limiting his career choices. This contradition is sometimes mentioned as
evidence when Yi is labeled an opprotunist.

Particularily in the educational field, people have been known even recently
to be discriminated in employment with this, especially at private schools run
by chaedan tycoons who don't want trouble. I've heard of this happening in
late nineties, even in public school contexts. Look here:

MBC did an hour documentary on yOnjwaje in September of this year on the
program "ijenUn malhal su itta" titled "pundan-Ui nOul, yOnjwaje." You may be
able to view it over the internet. 

Not much help, I know. But I doubt you are going to find "a legal definition"
of it as a "term" or a "when" to pin down to a specific date. If you do,
please by all means let me know. 


Peter Schroepfer.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Namhee Lee <namhee at chwe.net>
To: <korean-studies at iic.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, November 21, 2000 5:09 AM
Subject: Re: y^onjwaje

> Dear list members,
> I'm wondering if anyone out there could help me with the term "y^onjwaje."
> This term denotes a set of restrictive measures applied, in post-1945 South
> Korea, to anyone who was considered "communists" or "pro-communists" and
> their family members.  For example, a son of a guerilla who had gone over
> to North Korea in 1950 would not have been permitted to travel abroad under
> this measure.  As far as I know, this measure had been in operation until
> 1980.   I have not been able to find a source that would give me a legal
> definition of this term, though.  Would anyone know the full Korean name of
> this term, when this measure took effect, and anything else related to this
> term?
> Thanks very much in advance,
> Namhee Lee

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