[KS] Genealogy compilation during the colonial period

Wayne de Fremery pwdef at hotmail.com
Fri Aug 28 09:25:03 EDT 2009

Dear Prof. Park,

According to the April 1930 issue of Keimu ihō 警務彙報 (a police bulletin published by the colonial authority), more publishing permits were granted to chokpo than any other genre between 1920 and 1929. Although he cites his source incorrectly, in Kŭndae ŭi ch’aek ilkki (2003) Prof. Ch’ŏn Chŏng-hwan arranges statistics found in the Keimu ihō so that each genre is ranked according to the number of permits granted by the colonial authority to individual volumes during the 1920s (p. 488). He discusses these (and other publishing) statistics on pages 171-181. Pang Hyo-sun, in her 2000 doctoral dissertation “Ilchae sidae min’gan sŏchŏk palhaeng hwaldong ŭi kujochŏk t’ŭksŏng e kwanhan yŏn’gu,” compiles permit statistics from the colonial government for the years 1929 to 1939, which suggest that chokpo received a larger number of publishing permits than other genres during the 30s as well. Pang also very briefly discusses chokbo publishing (see pp. 36-7) and mentions a Tonga ilbo article from Feb. 2, 1928 that may be of interest.    

I suspect that the number of permits granted by the colonial government may not, for a variety of reasons, accurately reflect the number of chokbo actually produced during this period (some permits that were issued may not have been used, some chokbo may have been published without the family acquiring a permit, etc.). However, these figures do suggest a significant interest in producing chokpo and that they were the “most popular” genre for a considerable portion of the colonial period in this statistical sense. 

Hope this helps.

Best regards,

Wayne de Fremery
Ph.D. Candidate, Harvard University
fremery at fas.harvard.edu

-----Original Message-----
From: koreanstudies-bounces at koreaweb.ws [mailto:koreanstudies-bounces at koreaweb.ws] On Behalf Of Eugene Y. Park
Sent: Thursday, August 27, 2009 5:31 AM
To: koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws
Subject: [KS] Genealogy compilation during the colonial period

Dear all,

Could anyone kindly point me to any study (or studies) showing that genealogies
made up the most popular form of Korean publication during the colonial era?

Currently I'm working on a study that argues that in spite of the way in which
one seemingly cannot even participate in genealogy discussions in South Korea
without the standard conceptual categories like the surname, bon'gwan, pa,
dollimja, etc. and oft-repated assertions that every household has a set of
jokbo, in the late 19th century many urban intellectuals, jungin, and educated
northerners began rejecting jokbo compilation as a backward custom. At least
based on my readings (e.g. Yi Kibaek's Han'guksa simin gangjwa piece on jokbo)
as well as interviews of Koreans from such backgrounds, at least an aloofness,
if not outright hostility, toward jokbo seems pronounced. I should mention,
though, that certainly from the mainstream South Korean cultural perspective
and even professional historians working mostly with yangban-produced
documents, I seem to bear the burden of proof!

Thank you advance for you help.


Eugene (Gene) Y. Park
Korea Foundation Associate Professor of History
Department of History
University of Pennsylvania
E-mail: epa at sas.upenn.edu

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