[KS] Yun Chi-ho

Koen De Ceuster koen.de.ceuster at pandora.be
Wed Jan 8 04:05:11 EST 2003

Dear Namhee,

The apparent contradiction your student refers to is the consequence of some
old 'nationalist' reading of the Kabo reforms. By overemphasizing the role
of Japan in pushing through (enforcing?) the reforms, the suggestion is
maintained that no Korean in his right mind (read patriotic) would willingly
be an accomplice. Hence, all those involved in the reform government had to
be some kind of pro-Japanese stooges.

Yun Ch'iho was concerned with the content of the Kabo reforms, not by who
backed it. In the end, his involvement was motivated by his commitment to
contribute to the reformation of Korea. At the same time, he was a staunch
loyalist! Following the murder of Queen Min, there was great concern about
the safety of the king, who was basically a prisoner in his own palace. The
28 November 1895 Ch'unsaengmun incident your student refers to was an
attempt at bringing the king to a safe place.
Although this attempt faltered, Kojong later (11 February 1896) succeeded in
fleeing to the Russian Legation, where he stayed for nearly a year.

As far as literature is concerned, I would refer your student in the first
place to Yun Ch'iho's own writings! His diary for the period is written in
English, so well accessible.
On the Kabo reforms, I would suggest to look for Lew Young Ick's articles.
Vipan Chandra's "Imperialism, Resistance and Reform in Late
Nineteenth-Century Korea" may also be of help.

Koen De Ceuster

 -----Original Message-----
From: 	Koreanstudies-admin at koreaweb.ws
[mailto:Koreanstudies-admin at koreaweb.ws]  On Behalf Of Namhee Lee
Sent:	dinsdag 7 januari 2003 21:10
To:	Koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws
Subject:	Re: [KS] Yun Chi-ho

"I just came across a
question for you in the process of writing that I
can't seem to overcome.  There seems to be two
contradictory points about Yun Chi Ho regarding the
1895 domination of Korea by Japan.  It was during this
time that the Kabo reforms had entered their third
stage and according to Carter Eckert, Yun was an
accomplice to these reforms.  But Hyung-chan Kim, who
has written a brief  biography of Yun, states that his
father was involved in the overthrow of the Japanese
officials and successfully brought the king back from
Russia.  It is mentioned that Yun helped his father in
the process of restoring the monarchical head to his
throne.  Does this imply misinformation, or do you
suppose that both cases may be true and that Yun
actually was involved in the Kabo reforms that he
helped to overthrow?  That seems too contradictrory to
be validated.  And because most of the substantial
material is written in Korea, I cannot seem to find
very reliable sources.  How do you suggest that I
differentiate these conflicting statements of history?"

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