[KS] pigtails

Koen De Ceuster koen.de.ceuster at pandora.be
Sun Jun 16 04:15:00 EDT 2002

Dear List,

Looking through Yun Ch'iho's hanmun diary, I was struck by his at times
derogatory terminology when talking about the Chinese. In particular, his
use of the term 'pigtails' (tonmi) was striking, as it is a term not
unfamiliar to Western ears. He used it after visiting a public park in the
English concession in Shanghai on 11 February 1885. The park was closed to
Chinese ("No Dogs nor Chinese admitted"), which led Yun Ch'iho to jot down
his thoughts on international relations, and the inability of the Chinese to
stand up to the mighty Western powers. It is in this context that he used
the word.

On other occasions (a.o. expressing his exasperation at Chinese political
interference in Korea), he would use the term 'Manchu pigs' (hodon). 

My question in fact is related to the specific use of 'pigtails.' Does
anybody on the list know where the term originated, whether it was used in
Japan (and by whom), or was it a Western term, that seeped into his
vocabulary through his contact with American diplomats and missionaries? 

Any useful hints are most welcome.

Koen De Ceuster
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