Intersections: Gender and Sexuality in Asia and the Pacific
Issue 29, May 2012

In Search of Knowledge and Selfhood:
Korean Women Studying Overseas in Colonial Korea

Hyaeweol Choi

  1. In 1909, more than seven hundred guests, including an array of luminaries, both Korean and foreign, gathered to celebrate the accomplishments of three Korean women who had completed their study overseas and begun to work in their respective fields of medicine and education after returning home. The guests of honor were Pak Esther and Ha Nansa, who had studied in the US, and Yun Chŏngwŏn, who had studied in Japan.[1] Given Korea's traditional gender ethics of the 'inside-outside rule' (naewoebŏp) that had inculcated a strict sense that women should be physically and culturally relegated to the private and domestic arena, it was almost revolutionary for women to transcend the traditional bounds of family and nation to pursue advanced study, and the fact that their effort would be the centre of such a public celebration is even more remarkable.
  2. Venturing into the unknown beyond the geographical borders of the home country had long been the domain of men, but the modern era brought with it the possibility for women to travel abroad to pursue modern knowledge or new life opportunities. After Korea was forced to join the capitalist world system in 1876, it was concerned about the possibility for incursion from Japan and the West, but at the same time it was eager for the ideas and material practices of western modernity that would come through contact with the West and, indirectly, through Japanese translations of the artefacts and practices of modernity.[2]
  3. The turbulent politics of the era stimulated the emergence of a nationalist consciousness and simultaneously a modern sense of selfhood, social and gender equality and even cosmopolitanism. It was within this context that Korean women of diverse social classes began to travel overseas as students or tourists, as well as to gain exposure to different lifestyles, read foreign literature and participate in national, regional and global politics.
  4. This article focuses on Korean women travelling overseas, either for advanced study or professional purposes, and examines the gender politics of the geographical and cultural transgression in colonial Korea. There have been a significant number of studies on the role of transcultural encounters in further complicating the boundaries between the private and the public within the context of the global engagement of western women in colonial rule, travel overseas and foreign missionary enterprise. These studies shed light on the multiple and dynamic formations of imperial culture and gender transformation that has taken place in that process.[3] However, they have largely been from the perspective of western women, and they centre on the respective colony or mission field. This article intends to complement and advance existing studies in two respects. One is that it emphasises the perspective and experience of the colonised, that is Korean women, and the other is its attention to the 'circuit' of ideas, images and people that is not confined to the colonial-colonised nexus.[4]
  5. In doing so, I demonstrate the ways in which the idea of the modern woman in Korea was introduced, re-imagined and appropriated by different groups of intellectuals from the particular subject position that evolved for different groups at the intersections of local/national mandates and transnational lures of the modern. I specifically examine, first, institutional mechanisms that enabled students to go overseas; second, the sociocultural content of the encounters abroad; and finally, the interpretation and appropriation of the foreign modern that these students undertook in putting forward a new vision for modern woman within a particular historical context of Korea. Drawing on the life stories of individual women and the multifaceted ideas and images of women as students and travellers that were presented in popular print media, I argue that women's transnational encounters helped complicate and challenge the sensational portrayal of the New Woman (sin yŏsŏng) led by male-dominated print media, and that the discourse of those women with transnational experiences served to challenge and sometimes reinforce the patriarchal gender relations in modern Korea.

    Host countries for advanced study
  6. Right after Korea opened its doors in 1876, the Korean government initiated a program that sent a group of Korean men to Japan to 'import foreign civilisation' and to train future leaders, who would be expected to carry out Korea's modernisation projects.[5] In 1895, the Korean government launched a program that provided scholarships and stipends for more than a hundred male students to study in Japan.[6] No such public funding program existed for women students, in marked contrast to Japan and China, where female students received support from the government to enable them to study overseas.[7]
  7. Before Korea's colonisation by Japan in 1910, there were two possibilities for women who wanted to study overseas: one was through family support and the other was through chance encounters with American missionaries in Korea. For example, the woman who is presumed to be the first Korean female student in Japan was 'Mrs. Kim,' who was introduced in a Japanese woman's magazine in 1895. According to the article, she had come to Japan with her husband to study while teaching Korean language.[8] The second female student was Pak Myook, who came to Japan in 1895 because her father, Pak Yŏnghyo, was in political exile there.[9] Yun Chŏngwŏn, who studied at the Meiji Girls' School in Tokyo, went to Japan in 1898 with her father Yun Hyojŏng, who had been active in the Independence Club, was charged with conspiring against King Kojong and was also sent into exile in Japan.[10] In this way, family connections were a crucial factor for women to gain the opportunity to study in Japan.
  8. The other route was largely through chance encounters with American Protestant missionaries who were residing in Korea as teachers, doctors and evangelists beginning in the late nineteenth century. In his 1933 essay that reflects on the history of Koreans studying in the US, educator O Ch'ŏnsŏk noted that prior to 1910, most Koreans did not have the courage to go to the unknown world across the ocean for study, but those few who ventured into the foreign land were mostly inspired by American missionaries with whom they had interactions.[11] Indeed, more often than not, chance encounters with American missionaries were the key factor that led to some Koreans crossing the Pacific Ocean to study in the US, usually with the assistance of those missionaries. To a significant extent, the story of Pak Esther (a.k.a. Kim Chŏmdong) encapsulates the early history of Korean women studying overseas. Pak was the first Korean woman who ever studied in the US and became the first Korean woman to receive an M.D. from an American medical school. Pak's father worked for the Methodist missionary Henry Appenzeller. She first came into contact with American missionaries at the Methodist girls' school, Ewha, when her father decided to leave his daughter at the school in order to alleviate some of the burden in trying to keep his family fed.[12] Eventually Esther married Pak Yusan, an assistant to the medical missionary William Hall. Hall's wife, Rosetta Sherwood Hall, became a mentor to Esther Pak providing her with her earliest medical training. When Rosetta Hall was about to leave for the US after her husband's death, she decided to take Esther with her so that Esther could continue to study medicine. In the prominent missionary journal, Woman's Missionary Friend, Sherwood Hall hailed Esther as an exemplary model of 'one new life in the Orient' as she was transformed from the abandoned daughter of an impoverished family into the confident medical doctor healing the body and mind of her fellow women in Korea.[13]
  9. Once Korea was colonised by Japan, Korean students had to follow the guidelines and regulations laid down by the Japanese colonial government. According to the 1911 guidelines for studying overseas issued by the colonial government, prospective students were expected to know what they planned to study and to notify authorities when they were admitted to their intended school. Along with their resumes, students were required to submit all the necessary documents to the colonial government via the governor of province in which they resided. The governor was required to make comments on the character of the student, their family background and financial status. Given these requirements, the majority of students came from families of some means, such as landlords, professionals or public officials in the colonial government.[14] The rigid policy of the colonial power toward studying overseas got loosened only after the March First Independence Movement in 1919 along with the new 'cultural' colonial policy.[15]
  10. Given that Korea was a colony of Japan, it is perhaps to be expected that Japan would be host to the vast majority of Korean students studying overseas during the colonial era. The number of Korean female students in Japan in 1910 was thirty-four, but it rapidly grew to 2,947 by 1942.[16] Recollections of people who lived at that time confirm that Japan attracted the largest number of Korean students, followed by the US, China and a few European countries. Tokyo, in particular, became a symbol of new knowledge and modern civilisation. It was perceived as a better place for the acquisition of modern knowledge than anywhere else. One student who studied in Tokyo wrote: 'Tokyo is the most well-developed city in Asia in all aspects. As you know, it hosts a number of schools and scholars representing various fields of study. As long as finance allows, I can firmly argue that Korean students would be better off studying in Tokyo than going to the US or Germany.'[17] Indeed, over 60 percent of Korean female students who studied in Japan studied in the Tokyo area.[18]
  11. What is particularly remarkable is that a systematic route for studying in Japan evolved through American missionary ties in both Korea and Japan. That is, graduates from mission schools in Korea often continued their further education at mission schools in Japan, including Doshisha Women's College, Tokyo Women's College, Kobe Women's College, Kwassui Women's College, and Hiroshima Women's College.[19] Some mission schools in Korea and Japan tended to collaborate in an informal chain of training. For instance, Sup'ia Girls School (Speer Girls School) in Kwangju, the first girls' school in the Honam Province, founded by the Southern Presbyterian Church in 1908, often sent its graduates to Kinchou Women's Institute in Nagoya, which was founded in 1889 and became the representative Southern Presbyterian mission school for women.[20] Likewise, missionary teachers at Chŏngsin Girls' School in Seoul, the flagship school for the Presbyterian Church, also encouraged most talented graduates of Chŏngsin to continue their study at the Women's Higher School (later Tokyo Women's College),[21] and those from Ewha Girls School, the flagship school for the Methodist Church, studied at Kwassui Women's College in Nagasaki, which was founded in 1879 by an American Methodist Episcopal missionary to Japan.[22]
  12. Studying in the US was a much more challenging proposition because the colonial government made it practically impossible for Korean students to go to countries other than Japan.[23] Sinhan minbo, a newspaper published by Koreans residing in the US, estimated the number of Korean students enrolled in US colleges and universities in 1917 to be fifty-four—including both men and women.[24] The first volume of Urak'i (The Rocky), the official organ of the Korean Student Federation of North America, founded in 1925, lists the names of Korean students who graduated from American institutions from the late nineteenth century to 1924. Among the 106 graduates, nine were female students with Pak Esther being the first Korean female graduate from an American institution in 1900.[25] Basing his statistical survey on reports in contemporary newspapers and magazines, Korean historian Chŏng Pyŏngjun estimates that there were approximately 148 Korean female students[26] in the US between 1895 and 1940.[27] The mid-1920s until the early 1930s was the peak period in terms of the number of students going to the US with an average of about forty students per year, including incoming and continuing students.[28]
  13. As noted earlier, chance encounters with American missionaries or attending mission schools in Korea proved to be the most determinant factor in Korean women deciding to study in the US. The stories of Ha Nansa and Ch'a Mirisa exemplify the importance of these chance encounters in the first generation of women studying overseas. Unlike Pak Esther, who first came into contact with missionaries when she was a young child, Ha and Ch'a were already adults when they first met American missionaries. Ha Nansa was born in P'yŏngyang in 1875 in a Kim family and later became a secondary wife of the government official Ha Sanggi in Chemulp'o.[29] Ha's encounter with George Heber Jones, who worked as a Methodist missionary in Chemulp'o, led her to seek out a formal education at Ewha Girls' School in Seoul. However, under normal circumstances, her marital status would have disqualified her for admission.[30] Not discouraged a bit, she went to see Lulu Frey, a teacher at Ewha, one night. In the middle of their meeting, she blew out the light in the lantern and said to Frey, 'Our country is in the dark like this. We mothers should learn something and teach our children, and [if you do not admit me,] what should I do?'[31] Impressed by Ha's seriousness and determination, the missionary teachers decided to admit her in 1896 under the condition that she pay tuition and the other expenses for her education.[32] In 1900, eager to continue her education beyond what Ewha was able to offer at the time, she went to Japan and studied there for a year, and then she went to the United States in 1902 for a college education. Many missionary women who came to Korea had graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University, including Lulu Frey, Mary Hillman and Jessie Marker, and they encouraged Ha Nansa to attend their alma mater. She received her BA from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1906, becoming the first Korean woman to obtain a BA from an American university—thus beginning a long tradition of Ewha whose graduates went to Ohio Wesleyan for college education.[33]
  14. Ch'a Mirisa (a.k.a. Kim Mirisa) converted to Christianity after she became a widow at the age of nineteen (1896) after only three years of marriage. Her aunt, who was also a widow and already a Christian, brought her to Sangdong Church, where Ch'a was later baptised. Raising her only daughter by herself, she found comfort and pleasure in church activities with her fellow women, and soon her devotion and piety made her a key figure in her church. At the time, her co-worker, Cho Sinsŏng, encouraged her to think about studying in the US, but as she wrote, 'Back then and even now, there is no way for penniless people to be able to study overseas even if they had admirable ambition.'[34] As it happens, a close colleague introduced her to Mr. Homer Hulbert, an American missionary and teacher, and he appreciated her will and aspirations. He introduced her to Pastor Ko in a church in Suchow in China. That is how she went to China first where she studied theology for four years. From there she went on to Scarritt College in Missouri in the US to continue her study of theology.[35] Her classmate, Olga V. Crutchfield from Scarritt wrote, 'Her faith and consecration are really wonderful and her public life story excells [sic] romance in interest.'[36]
  15. If Japan and the US were the two most popular destinations for advanced study, a few students found their way to other countries. China was often a stepping stone to going somewhere else to avoid the rigid regulations of the Japanese colonial policy on studying overseas. More importantly, Shanghai hosted the Korean Provisional Government after the March First Independence Movement in 1919, and thus many Korean men and women who were engaged in the independence movement went to China not only for study but also for exile.[37] Like the cases in Japan and the US, American missionaries played an important role in helping Korean students enroll in schools in China. The mission-run Suchow Women's School and Nanjing Bible Teaching Institute, for example, hosted a large number of Korean students.[38]
  16. The experience of Ch'oe Yŏngsuk was unique but symbolic of the extent of international experience of her generation of women. Unlike the women who preferred to go to Japan or the US for advanced study, Ch'oe noted, 'After graduating from Ewha High School for Girls, I did not desire to go to Japan for my continued study, as my peers did. For some reason, I had always longed for China and wanted to go there to study. Because of my long-standing attraction to China, when I first arrived in Nanjing, I felt completely at home, and soon after entering the university, I became engrossed in my studies.'[39] She studied at Nanjing Myŏngdŏk School from 1922 to 1923 and from 1923 to 1926 at Nanjing Hwoemun Girls Middle School. Despite the financial hardship that her studies brought about, her strong desire for more advanced knowledge led her to Sweden, a place that she had dreamed about from the time of her childhood. She majored in economics at Stockholm University and became the first Korean woman to receive a B.A. in that discipline. It is believed that she went to Sweden to meet the feminist writer Ellen Key, whose work had greatly impressed Ch'oe. To her dismay, when Ch'oe arrived in Sweden, she learned that Key had already passed away. Ch'oe received exceptional attention from the Korean public when she graduated from Stockholm University in 1931. On her way back to Korea, she visited India and was deeply inspired by Mohandas Gandhi and Sarojini Naidu and their ideas about the role of women in society and the nation. In her recollection of her travel to India on her way back home from Sweden, Ch'oe expressed her own fascination with India and deep admiration for Gandhi and Naidu. During her stay in India, she managed to meet these national heroes and received personal advice on her future role as an educated woman in colonial Korea. Her encounter with Naidu was especially significant. Ch'oe wrote that she had met Naidu in Sweden during her study there. From that time, they had kept in touch and their meetings in India reinforced their shared perspective on women and society. Ch'oe felt a real connection with Naidu, describing her as a 'trusted comrade' rather than just someone with whom she happened to share a common perspective.[40] To Ch'oe, Naidu embodied both gentleness and fortitude as a caring mother and inspiring politician, engaged in both domestic duties and the national independence movements—the kind of character Ch'oe might have emulated had she not died prematurely in 1932 before she had even had a chance to realise her potential after returning to Korea.

    Public desire for and anxiety about the modern
  17. The images of women studying overseas (yŏja yuhaksaeng) fascinated the public.[41] They were icons of the new and the modern.[42] From the 1920s, the enthusiasm for advanced study overseas flowed from the daily newspapers, which reported a great many details about students, their backgrounds, their majors and future work plans. For instance, Tonga ilbo reported that on April 7, 1921, eight female students from P'yŏngyang got on the train heading to Pusan to go to Japan to do advanced studies. The reportage made clear the public's high expectations for them and the role they would play in the future of society. The newspaper described train stations packed with well-wishers thunderously cheering for these young women as they departed on their journeys. The article describes the concerns of their parents about the unknown world their daughters would experience soon, but these girl students' journey to Japan was no longer a private adventure. Their 'passionate and noble mind[s]' were fit for their pursuit of 'new knowledge' (sin chisik), which was their duty and responsibility as future leaders of the nation. More importantly, as a reporter of Tonga ilbo put it, the clear complexions of these students seemed to reflect their awareness of the hopeful future and also firm determination for success to the delight of the public. Their ambitious journeys abroad reified a new rite of passage in which these young women left the comfort and protection to be found in life with their families in familiar surroundings for the open-ended challenges of life in the public sphere, and the expectations for them among the public were invariably high.[43] About ten days later the same newspaper introduced other recent graduates from a variety of schools in Japan. Their major fields ranged from home economics and music to medicine and physical education. Some had already been offered jobs in Korea, while others planned to stay in Japan to do further research.[44] These frequent reports reflect the keen interest the Korean public had in those female students overseas. The young women were almost celebrities. Their families and educational backgrounds were avidly consumed by the public, and the print media fed this public's fascination with photos of the students.
  18. At the same time, there was a degree of suspicion caused by public anxiety about the influence of the modern on these women and their potentiality for becoming advocates of such modern practices as women's equal rights, modern romance, individualism and materialism. In his lengthy 1933 report on the history of Koreans studying in Japan, Hwang Sŏk-u mentions a women students' group in Japan only in his postscript as if it were an after-thought not worth mentioning in the main text. He characterises the group as trivial, of no substance, and without a record of achievement. He suggests that the group was marked rather by love-strife with its members 'only interested in finding their future husbands and indulging themselves in pleasurable things.' Focused on satisfying their own comforts, they accomplished nothing of significance.[45]
  19. This disparaging view was not new. Indeed, the problematisation of women studying abroad coincides with the steady growth in the number of female students in Korea and the subsequent treatment of 'girl students' (yŏhaksaeng) as serious 'social problems' (sahoe munje).[46] The print media produced a number of 'special issues' on girl students that deplored their lack of attention to national and societal issues, their vanity, superficial intellect, obsession with appearance, luxurious clothing, frivolous romances, preference for foreign products and lack of home management skills. While some prominent educators, such as Kim Hwallan and Cho Tongsik, complained about such baseless caricatures of girl students, these sensational portrayals prevailed in the media.[47]
  20. Many people saw the growing number of women pursuing higher degrees overseas as a sign of progress; however, one can also detect growing anxiety in the public about the kind of knowledge and experience those women would acquire overseas. Studying overseas was a privilege, and the public tended to presume that those who had the privilege were obliged to contribute to the public good. Therefore, private or 'trivial' interests were subject to denunciation. Such denunciation, however, was not necessarily based on any 'actual evidence.' More often than not, it stemmed from male intellectuals' observations, memories or subjective judgments.

    In her own voice
  21. The male-dominated, enlightenment-oriented discourse on new gender relations began to change from the mid-1910s, when a growing number of educated women founded journals or played a role in the publication of the new women's journals and magazines, such as Yŏjagye (1917–1921), Sin yŏja (1920), and Sin yŏsŏng (1923–1934). These publishing outlets served as an important platform for women to fashion their own new gender discourse in competition with the mainstream discourse dominated by male intellectuals. When an elite class of women entered the discursive field along with male intellectuals, the issue of education for women underwent a major shift from an abstract topic to a concrete and 'problematic' one. Women's education had been advocated on the grounds that the role of women as 'the mothers of the nation' would be important in modern nation-building. This nationalist perspective continued to prevail, but women intellectuals began to put forward an argument based on the importance of selfhood and individual character.
  22. With an increase in the number of women studying overseas, the stories of their experiences abroad began to surface. To be sure, these women were not homogeneous in terms of their views on ideal womanhood, their life experiences and their relationships with the broader society. However, regardless of their intellectual or political orientation, these women provided the audience with solid, concrete and immediate stories filled with hopes, dreams, tribulations, struggles and triumphs. They located themselves at the centre of their own history and identity, acting as agents striving to assert their own rights to shape the modern time just as their male counterparts were doing at the time. In doing so, they challenged, conformed to or subverted the patriarchal and nationalist norms that had been laid out by male intellectuals.
  23. When Lulu Frey, a Methodist missionary in Korea, pushed for the idea of college education for women, she had to face strong resistance not only from the Koreans but also from her fellow missionaries. Fearing that college-educated Korean women 'would be spoiled for service to their own people' and thus would be rejected by Korean communities, the majority of missionaries opposed the idea of offering college education to women.[48] Similarly, Koreans doubted the value of higher education for women. They often asked: 'What is the use of college education for women? They would surely turn out to be arrogant, luxury-seeking and practically useless in household work.'[49] To Korean critics, women's education should foster knowledge of how to maintain the household efficiently, how to serve husbands and in-laws, and how to raise children. Alice Appenzeller, President of Ewha Women's College (1922–1939), recollected that the perception among Koreans of female college students as obnoxious discouraged many prospective students from pursuing further education.[50] Conservative intellectuals' talking points pounded this central theme again and again in the print media—the importance of 'domestic science' and the wastefulness of teaching algebra, geography, physics or chemistry to women. At the crux of their assertions was the idea that girl students would eventually get married and thus would not have any need for advanced knowledge in science or maths and would in the end be better served by an education that prepared them to be good wives and wise mothers.[51]
  24. This male-dominated discourse on the perilous outcomes of higher education for women was challenged by students who had gone overseas for study. Female students used multiple strategies designed to undermine the prevailing male discourse. One particular article focusing on higher education for women, written under the pseudonym Yuam by a student studying at Columbia University, challenged the Korean public's negative perceptions about educated women by referring to a number of 'scientific research studies' conducted in the West and historical examples and statistical data on higher education for American women. In this exceptionally lucid essay, entitled 'Higher Education for Women in the US: Advancement of Women is Equal to Advancement of the Nation,' Yuam begins by stating: 'It is the advanced status of women that particularly impresses those of us who study in the US. One sees a stark difference between the US and the East.'[52] The essay suggests that the key force driving such advancement was the expansion of women's education at the college level, recapitulating the key points that had been hotly debated for decades in the US. In so doing, Yuam indirectly critiques the 'groundless assumptions' embedded in the viewpoints against women's college education in Korea. The author introduces three main rationales that were used to oppose women's higher education in the US, including: 'First, women are inferior to men in intelligence, and therefore, women lack the ability to digest advanced scholarly knowledge. Second, women are not physically strong, and therefore they are not qualified to receive higher education. And third, higher education does harm to women.' Each of these claims has been proved to be 'nothing more than empty assertion without any evidence based on contemporary scientific discovery.' Firmly placing women as historical subjects and equal members of humankind, Yuam states that

      what women should learn first is not how to become wives and mothers but how to become decent human beings. The education that women need foremost is the education that will prepare them to become valuable members of humankind. Therefore, no distinction should be made in the instruction of academic subject matters, not only in high school but also in college.[53]

    Yaum cites Emma Willard, who founded the first institution of higher education for women in the US and advocated for women's higher education on the basis of the role of women as wives, mothers and teachers, but goes on to criticise limitations in Willard's vision, saying she 'failed to realise that women's education is important more for women themselves than for their roles as wives, mothers and teachers.'[54] Emphasising women's sense of their own status as independent human beings over their roles as wives and mothers, Yuam asserts that women 'should not forget that they are not only the masters of their own destiny but also the central figures in the destiny of the nation.'[55] The author further suggests that

      college-educated women have an obligation to return what they have received to the world. They should make every effort to realise the ideals they pursued in college. They should strive to become the people they most admired. They should pursue truth, practice decency and know how to appreciate beauty. Most of all, they should be the model of good character.

    Making full use of 'scientific,' historical and comparative examples, the author makes a strenuous argument for the absolute necessity of higher education for women for the sake of women themselves, the greater society and the world at large by skilfully contesting the 'groundless' opinions that higher education for women was dangerous.
  25. If Yuam's essay exemplifies how Korean students overseas used the Western model to challenge the long-standing prejudice against women and their intellectual capacity and to envision a new role for women in the modern era, one can also find caution and even resistance toward the western model. Some Korean women who studied in the US actively distanced themselves from the image and values of Western women, who were perceived as decadent, self-centred and pleasure-seeking. This was the very essence of the dangers of women's education. More importantly, it was also implied that the decadent attitude and lifestyle of girl students stemmed from 'western,' especially American influence characterised by conspicuous consumption.[56] When Kim Meri, who studied music at the University of Michigan, was interviewed by her campus newspaper before her graduation, she commented on the broader culture in the US. She wrote, 'I opposed jazz music, which American students seemed to love. I regretted that motion pictures embraced decadence rather than convey any lofty ideals or concerns that people ought to have for their country.'[57] Modern romance was an especially controversial topic, and the ease with which American students publicly expressed their romantic feelings for one another was often frowned upon by Korean students. Kim Meri told the reporter that she 'did not think it was good for men and women to have such frequent and public romantic relationships.'[58] Despite these uneasy feelings, Kim certainly enjoyed her life at Michigan, and it was on that campus that she cultivated her dreams for the future. Her narrative reveals that she internalised collective and nationalist discourse in her own personal narrative, making her study overseas part of the national project. She recounts how, when she was about to return to Korea right after graduation, her American classmates thought that she was hastening to return to Korea because she had a boyfriend there, but Kim depicted her return to Korea in purely nationalistic terms: 'I missed Korea much more than one would miss a lover.'[59] In this way, she created a conscious distance between herself and the American college students whose priorities, in her opinion, were focused on individual pleasures, romances and happiness.
  26. In a similar fashion, when Yun Sŏngdŏk, who studied music at Northwestern University, was interviewed by the popular Korean magazine, Samch'ŏlli, she talked about her impression of American New Women.[60] She noted that she was first puzzled by American women who 'pay little attention to society or nation' and do not live according to any ideology. Rather, 'they seem to live with a sole interest in their own happiness.' Yun reasons: 'But doesn't it make sense for them to do that? They live in a society that has plenty of money with excellent cultural facilities. On top of that, they have a 'country' which is the strongest in the world. They must have never felt any urgency for nation or society and thus their thinking never goes beyond the individual.'[61] Given this situation, she further comments, what American women are interested in is 'to have lots of money and lead lives of luxury, living in grand houses, wearing fine clothes, eating good food and enjoying life like a butterfly.' Ultimately, she says, American women want to have a 'home, sweet home' as portrayed in the motion pictures. Yun observes that in order to create a 'home, sweet home,' the most important task in the life of an American woman is to find the right spouse, and thus before marriage, women socialise with a number of men, frequently having two or three boyfriends. Shocked by the multiple numbers of boyfriends that American women had, the reporter asks Yun if such a thing could be possibly acceptable. Yun replies: 'Of course, it is acceptable, but the meaning of the word boyfriend should not be understood in the same way we Easterners think of that word. What it means in the US is a 'close friend' with a clear boundary that should not be crossed.'[62] Yun's initial surprise at American women's individualistic and even hedonistic life pursuits came out of the dominant socialisation of Korean intellectuals, including herself, that stressed collective and nationalist goals. Even when Yun justified the American lifestyle by calling attention to the independent political status of the US with its enviable wealth, she subtly but unmistakably suggests that she had not been influenced by that trend because she is fully aware of the Korean condition.
  27. Hŏ Chŏngsuk, a leading female socialist, made a trip to the US and offered much more scathing commentary on the presumed materialistic and individual-centred lifestyle of American women. Hŏ's political ideology significantly coloured her views on US society in general. She perceived the US as the apex of capitalism with abundant natural resources and much wealth. She wrote, 'Americans love things gigantic. They build huge houses. They are always driven by the sense of competition to make anything bigger than anyone else does.'[63] Hŏ observed that the power of capitalism was manifested in American women, who she thought looked like dolls. She writes: 'When I first encountered American women, I was surprised to find that they were like perfect dolls that were completely content (and perfectly able to move)…. Sculptors make lifeless dolls, but capitalist civilisation has the power to manufacture breathing dolls. In no other countries but here in this capitalist country, the US, can one see these beautiful living dolls who seem to swallow money.'[64] While she acknowledged the existence of a women's rights movement in the US, she understood such a movement only as a tool to cater to a certain class of women who were more or less living dolls.
  28. Interestingly, the image of US women as self-indulgent members of an affluent society was contrasted with women in other foreign countries. Kim Hwallan's observations on Danish women, in particular, convey a different perspective on 'western' women. She says Danish women 'are unpretentious in their make-up and dress. They make their own clothes from dark-colored, solid textiles. They do not seem to put any artificial decorations in their hair, simply twisting it into a bun or cutting it short or just leaving it natural,' and they 'seem to place a premium on practicality over vanity. If she lives in meager surroundings, she does not waste her time fantasising about a bigger, better house; instead, she invests herself in her humble cottage, working to make it as comfortable and inviting as she can.'[65] Danish women are presented as an antidote to the typical image of the New Woman in the Korean print media, who was the ultimate symbol of vanity. Thus, Kim seems to present the Danish model as opposed to this stereotypical view of 'western' women portrayed in the media. Further, Kim attributes the strong minds and great will of Danish women to their 'conservative religious tradition and a monarchical political system.'[66] She argues, however, their conservativism and religiosity does not mean they hold onto a 'backward religious ideology' or autocratic political system. To the contrary, she continues, the steady, solid, no nonsense quality of Danish people stems from their pride in their own traditions, history, and culture. Therefore, far from being swayed by the fluctuating fashion of the day, the Danish were able to select what worked best for them. In this vein, their monarchical political system did not follow the old tyrannical oppressive model but had a new form that highly valued peasants and their wellbeing. Kim makes a pointed comment on the genuine gender equality she found in Danish society, where women did not need a special movement for themselves because the society made no gender distinctions or discrimination in the provision of education, civil rights or work. Kim concludes that the Danish culture 'does not harbor any of the evil customs that honor men and despise women, so you cannot find any unhealthy attitudes about gender in either women or men.'[67] Kim's keen observations of the Danish society and culture offer two points—one is the fluid boundary between so-called tradition and modernity and the other is the challenge to the typical image of 'western' women as a symbol of modern excess in fashion and materialism.
  29. Pak Indŏk, another prominent woman intellectual, offers her observations from a trip to Germany that also complicate the notion of what is 'western' in the minds of the Koreans.[68] She made the trip to Germany with the aim of understanding how the country managed to fix an economy that had been devastated by World War I. During her travels, Pak visited a rural community and was deeply impressed by the industriousness of the people. She describes German women as hard-working and helpful to their husbands in working their farmland. In addition, she wrote,

      German women are the best in the management of a household. Everything is quite impressive. Their homes are impeccably clean, both inside and out. They do not discard old garments that have become worn but repair them again and again, and every family member is always dressed in clean and well-starched clothing. With only the ingredients that are available at a simple market, they can prepare the most delicious meals. They make a budget for the household and stick to their spending plan. And they raise amazing children.[69]

    She points out Germans' resourcefulness, embodied in their tendency to make full use of everything, never wasting anything. Like Kim Hwallan's comment on Danish society that adheres to tradition and values its own history and local particularities, Pak also observes how German rural communities preserve their small family-based manufacturing patterns rather than trying to imitate the advanced urban model of mass production. It is the German rural community people's thoroughgoing examination of what works for their own particular situation that impresses Pak, who contrasts this German trait with the Korean tendency to readily abandon the 'old-fashioned' in order to hastily adopt something new without stopping to consider its appropriateness for the Korean context. Pak's concrete proposal for the rural community in Korea points to a better use of time and resources and specific action plans firmly based on the reality of the rural community in Korea.
  30. It is significant that the focus of the observations by Kim Hwallan and Pak Indŏk was on 'western women' in rural Denmark and Germany. Given that the economic system in colonial Korea was predominantly agricultural, their main concern was the revitalisation of rural life as part of a program of advancement toward a modern nation. To many Korean intellectuals interested in rural revitalisation for Korea, Denmark was an important model to emulate.[70] Being only one-fifth the size of Korea in terms of geographic area and having only one-sixth the population, Denmark was considered the world's model for agriculture. Koreans believed that a small, barren country like Denmark was able to become an enviably affluent society because of their excellent education system. The emphasis on the value of manual labour and agricultural business in education was especially important in that it resulted in Danish students' developing a willingness and passion for agriculture. This favourable attitude toward agriculture was contrasted with educated people in Korea, who tended to prefer white collar jobs and to look down on the agriculture sector.[71]
  31. The above-mentioned examples of women studying or travelling overseas show both shared values and distinct priorities in their observations of western women and culture. To be sure, their short sojourns in their respective host countries do not justify the often overgeneralised characterisation of 'western' women. At issue here is the nature of such characterisations. While the US offered a model in some cases, as shown in the essay by Yuam, Korean women intellectuals consciously distanced themselves from those educated American women they encountered. This distancing may have been strategic for their Korean audiences, a way to disassociate their own educational achievement from the prejudices against western education. Emphasising their unflinching goals and concerns for the nation in contrast to the highly individualistic, 'decadent,' pleasure-driven lifestyles of American women, these women intellectuals attempted to stop the relentless criticism of the dangers of higher education for women in Korea. As Kenneth Wells argues, by the mid-1920s, 'many males, bereft of their power to rule the nation, were hostile to any move by women that would affect the gender balance of power, something 'modernity' ostensibly offered women.'[72] The romanticised image of rural women and their modest lifestyle in Denmark and Germany also worked to undermine the monolithic image of 'western' women. Thus, invoking the 'nation' and collective goals in the narrative of women intellectuals had two effects. One was to provide correctives for the negative image of 'westernised' Korean women through their exposure to western and modern culture, and the other was to assert women's equal partnership in national issues.
  32. To be sure, travelling to a foreign country was not always about the elevated role of women for the nation. It also helped some women shape their modern sensibilities and personhood. To them, a focal point was the self experiencing dramatic changes in cultural and social norms in the transcultural contact zone. Na Hyesŏk, the first Korean woman artist to go to Japan to study western painting techniques, stands out as the most visible example of this new circle of women. Her novella, Kyŏnghŭi (1918), brilliantly captures the birth of selfhood inspired by a feminist vision that fundamentally questions the patriarchal arrangement for 'proper' space for women in the domestic sphere.[73] Na travelled extensively in Europe and the US with her husband between 1927 and 1929, and briefly studied art in Paris during that period. By the time she had embarked on that journey, she was already well-known in Korean society because of her provocative feminist writings, romantic entanglements during her study in Japan, her Christian-style wedding, and a series of public exhibitions of her paintings in Seoul.[74] When she came back to Korea from the highly publicised world tour she had taken with her family, she described the contrast in her mood as she was transitioning from her sojourn in western countries to Korea. She wrote:

      My life in Europe and the US for one year and eight months was like this: I had a short haircut, wore Western dress, ate bread and drank tea, slept on a bed, attended an academy carrying a sketch box, memorized French vocabulary, dreamt about love and imagined myself as a great artist. I danced when I felt like it and went to theaters when I was free. I had a chance to attend a party held by the King and foreign diplomats. I visited revolutionaries and met women suffragists. I also experienced a French family life. At that time, I thought of myself as a student who happened to be a woman. Unattached, I did not have any barrier in financial matters or the way I felt, which is almost impossible for Korean women to experience. I even had a great deal of fun on the ship crossing the Pacific Ocean …

      When I came back to Korea, I hastened to grow my hair and switched to a long skirt. I used to wear a very short skirt that revealed my legs … I felt that Korean beds were too firm, and I found the clutter of Korean households disgusting. I worked in the kitchen, making dishes, and sewed clothes in the ondol (traditional style room). My in-laws talked about the Way, my mother-in-law emphasized filial piety and my sister-in-law urged me to save money. My God, I found it strange when my children called me 'mother.' I could not remember the past. I could not process what people were telling me. I was living in a nightmare from which I could not awaken. No one else could understand that I was struggling very hard to wake up from the nightmare.[75]

  33. Na describes the dramatic change she underwent as she moved from being a 'blooming flower' that existed in 'comfort and coolness' while travelling overseas to a 'flower knocked down by wind' living in 'shrunkenness' back home.[76] Na Hyesŏk was unusual in comparison with her fellow intellectuals in the sense that she was so open and frank about her feelings of disappointment, frustration and emptiness upon returning to Korea. It came to be known later on that she had had an extramarital affair with a prominent Korean intellectual, Ch'oe Rin, while they were both in Paris. This love affair eventually led to her divorce, which brought about tremendous financial and social hardship for her. However, in her essay entitled 'Starting a New Life,' she contemplates the meaning of the Paris love affair in her life. She makes an analogy, saying, 'I was certainly tempted. I was so curious. We [Na Hyesŏk and Ch'oe Rin] unexpectedly discovered a rose on the desolate road. Like bees relishing the fragrance of the flower, we were in ecstasy.' She notes: 'Regardless of its consequence, it was an affair that I would inevitably need in order to experience my personal growth.'[77] She felt she became a true woman through her encounter with Ch'oe Rin and the painful aftermath and struggle caused by the affair. In the same essay, she makes her famous assertion that 'chastity is neither morality nor law. It is only a taste. If one wants rice, one should eat rice; if one wants rice cake, one should eat rice cake. We choose what we like, and chastity is an option that we should not be constrained by.'[78]
  34. Na Hyesŏk's life and discourse made a significant mark on the history of modern womanhood in Korea. Her life manifested the tensions between the old and the new, between ideals and realities, and between the self and the collective. She used her writing and life experience to challenge deeply rooted patriarchal gender relations. At the same time, she was keenly aware of the cultural protocol to which she was expected to conform. Indeed, when her husband demanded a divorce after her extramarital affair was revealed, she pleaded for his forgiveness and pledged to become a 'good wife, wise mother,' the gender ideology she had criticised earlier.[79] Negotiating between the revolutionary and the traditional, Na continually put forward the idea that a woman's self should not be constrained by old customs and the dominant gender ideology. Her unconventional ways of life and thinking provoked condemnation and disdain on the part of the public and reinforced a negative image of the New Woman. However, Na must have anticipated this public outrage at the 'errors' and 'mistakes' made by a woman in her earnest search for modern selfhood. In her short essay titled 'Micellaneous,' she predicts that she will surely make mistakes in trying to find a path that was never travelled before, but she states that such mistakes would be helpful for women of the next generation to gauge the costs of change and find a better way to pursue their dreams.[80] Her sense of obligation as a pioneering woman was apparent from the very beginning of her writing career, which started when she was an art student in Japan. Na reaffirmed her role as a guide in this long journey when she opened an atelier, Yŏja misul haksa (Art School for Women), in 1933 after her divorce. In the mission statement of the art school, she wrote, 'It would be my great honor if I could be your walking stick until you can stand firm by yourself on your long journey. My role would be like a hen at the dawn waking you up so that you would carry out the heavy task ahead of you.'[81] In a significant way, this sense of obligation to women enabled her to openly address topics that were taboo, almost unthinkable. In the end, she and her critics together created a platform for airing the contentious issues of the time.

  35. Korean women's participation in the public domain was first sanctioned by enlightenment-oriented intellectuals and policymakers in the late nineteenth century who put forward the urgent call to educate women for the future of the nation. This new concept of women as equal and legitimate citizens (kungmin) allowed women to break away from the traditional boundaries designated for them—the private and domestic—and begin to participate in the public domain by attending schools and participating in public discourse. This same expectation almost simultaneously facilitated a small group of women to venture into foreign countries in pursuit of advanced knowledge. At a time when a woman's going to school was a remarkable thing, going overseas to study was even more extraordinary. In a significant way, Korean women's participation in the public domain immediately paved the way to the global arena because of the high demand for new knowledge from advanced countries. For women this sudden access to the public and the global certainly signalled noble possibilities to contribute to society. However, highly educated women with their priority in individualism and selfhood instead of collective nationalist goals also became a source of anxiety because of their potential influence on society.
  36. The heated debate on the 'problems' of girl students from the 1920s was inevitable if we closely examine the male-dominated discourse on new, educated women beginning in late nineteenth century. While the high rhetoric about the enhanced role and status of women in the modern era opened up new possibilities, it ultimately centred on the instrumental role of women in the modern nation-state through their roles as educated mothers and wives. As is evident in the narrative strategies of sin sosŏl (New Fiction), women studying overseas emerged as a new category of society, but their actual role in society remained ambiguous in the stories. Such ambiguity served the ideological needs of male writers to present the symbolic value of women's advancement for nation-building, but it effectively suppressed the emerging role of women in the public sector. In a significant way, the 'newness' in New Fiction's characterisation of female protagonists is a reflection of the attempts by male writers to reconfigure Confucian gender hierarchy by modernising the private sphere with a decided emphasis on educated wives and mothers. Indeed, the powerful gender ideology of 'wise mother, good wife' (hyŏnmo yangch'ŏ) constructed in the early twentieth century was the latest form of patriarchal gender arrangements designed to meet new challenges in the modern era.[82]
  37. The rather limited imaginary put out by male intellectuals was being challenged as the population of educated women grew and women began to actively participate in the public discourse on new roles for women in the modern era. Those who went overseas for study were especially instrumental in complicating and diversifying the existing gender discourse. The writings of women who had direct observation of and experience with foreign cultures and societies posed significant challenges to the often ungrounded imageries of educated women as mindless followers of 'western' modern culture. Indeed, some of the western-educated Korean women put a strategic distance between themselves and 'western' women and culture by criticising the western women as having no concern for the nation or collective goals but rather being consumed by self-interest. Furthermore, some women intellectuals advocated emulating successful models of agricultural development from Western Europe for the predominantly agricultural society of Korea. Again, their emphasis on rural development rather than urban sectors reversed the typical image of educated women, who were supposed to be solely interested in chic urban culture. In this way, western-educated Korean women challenged and complicated the widespread, monolithic images of educated women.
  38. The discourse and lives of foreign-educated Korean women in colonial Korea point to a creative, resilient process in which these women capitalised on open possibilities but also learned to maneuver the tensions between Korea's local particularities and the transnational trends and lures. They played a proactive role in adopting, rejecting or appropriating modern knowledge they were exposed to during their sojourn in advanced countries. Located on the boundaries of the global public domain, they were important mediators in the flow of modern ideas, largely from politically and economically stronger nations to colonial Korea. One of the thorniest issues in their role as mediator was how to reconcile the tensions between individual desires and collective goals. As is demonstrated in their discourse, studying overseas helped them cultivate the idea of selfhood as a quintessential quality for modern people. Yet, they often framed their selfhood within the goal of advancing the nation. Linking the role of educated women to the nationalist agendas was a strategic way to minimise the backlash from conservative groups, but at the same time it also served to advance women's issues within the constrained circumstances. Some women (Na Hyesŏk, for example) were keener to pursue modern personhood unshackled by the prevailing expectations of educated women for the family and the nation. Within this contested site, the educated class of women found a novel space to expand their roles; however, they also encountered sociocultural barriers to asserting a modern self.


    [1] Taehan hŭnghakbo, vol. 3 (May 1909): 67; Hwang Hyŏn, Maech'ŏn yarok, vol. 6 (1909): 45, (from Kuksa p'yŏnch'an wiwŏnhoe, Han'guk saryo ch'ongsŏ).

    [2] Andre Schmid, Korea Between Empires 1895–1919, New York: Columbia University Press, 2002.

    [3] Nupur Chaudhuri and Margaret Strobel (eds), Western Women and Imperialism, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1992; Clare Midgley (ed.), Gender and Imperialism, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1998; Mary Taylor Huber and Nancy Lutkehaus, eds, Gendered Missions: Women and Men in Missionary Discourse and Practice, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1999; Susan Thorne, Congregational Missions and the Making of an Imperial Culture in Nineteenth-Century England, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999; Frederick Cooper and Ann Laura Stoler (eds), Tensions of Empire, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997; Catherine Hall, Civilising Subjects: Colony and Metropole in the English Imagination, 1830–1867, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002.

    [4] Pak Sŏnmi's research on Korean women studying in Japan is pioneering in that it investigates the 'circuit' of knowledge and people from the colony (Korea) to metropolis (Japan) and back to colony. Her research, however, exclusively focuses on Korean women's experiences in Japan, and the present article extends the range of overseas experience to cover other parts of the world. See Pak Sŏnmi, Kŭndae yŏsŏng cheguk ŭl kŏch'ŏ Chosŏn ŭro hoeyu hada (Modern Women Return to Korea via Empire), Seoul: Ch'angbi, 2007.

    [5] 'Ilbon yuhaksaeng sa' (History of Korean students studying in Japan), Hak chi kwang, vol. 6 (July 1915): 10–17; Pak Ch'ansŭng, '1890 nyŏndae huban kwanbi yuhaksaeng ŭi toil yuhak' (Government-sponsored students studying in Japan in late 1890s), Kŭndae kyoryusa wa sangho insik, vol. 1 (2001): 75–128.

    [6] This government funding program for male students ended in 1903. See Pak, '1890 nyŏndae huban kwanbi yuhaksaeng.'

    [7] Paek Okgyŏng, 'Kŭndae han'guk yŏsŏng ŭi ilbon yuhak kwa yŏsŏng hyŏnsil insik—1910-nyŏn dae rŭl chungsim ŭro,' Ihwa sahak yŏn'gu, vol. 39 (2009): 1–28, p. 4; Chŏng Hyejung, 'Ch'ŏng mal min ch'o chungguk yŏsŏng ŭi ilbon miguk yuhak,' Ihwa sahak yŏn'gu, vol. 39 (2009): 101–33.

    [8] Pak Sŏnmi, Kŭndae yŏsŏng cheguk ŭl kŏch'ŏ Chosŏn ŭro hoeyu hada, chapter 2, footnote 11.

    [9] Paek, 'Kŭndae han'guk yŏsŏng ŭi ilbon yuhak.'

    [10] T'aegŭk hakpo, vol. 3 (October 1906): 55.

    [11] O Ch'ŏnsŏk, 'Miguk yuhaksaengsa,' Samch'ŏlli, vol. 5, no. 1 (1933): 26–29.

    [12] Ewha 100-yŏnsa p'yŏnch'an wiwŏnhoe, Ewha 100-yŏnsa (The Hundredth History of Ewha Womans University), Seoul: Ewha yŏja taehakkyo ch'ulp'anbu, 1994, pp. 52, 57.

    [13] Rosetta Sherwood Hall, MD, 'One new life in the Orient,' Woman's Missionary Friend, vol. 28, no. 12 (June 1897): 342–43.

    [14] For more detailed information on Japanese policies toward Korean students studying in Japan, see Pak, Kŭndae yŏsŏng cheguk ŭl kŏch'ŏ chosŏn ŭro hoeyu hada, pp. 23–37.

    [15] Michael Robinson, Cultural Nationalism in Colonial Korea: 1920–1925, Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1988.

    [16] For comparison, the number of female students in the US in 1926 was 46, while that of those who studied in Japan reached 234. In contrast to the gradual increase of students in Japan—from 145 in 1920 to 494 in 1935, the number of students going to the US remained rather constant or even decreased—from 46 in 1926 and 32 in 1934. See Chŏng Pyŏngjun, 'Ilcheha han'guk yŏsŏng ŭi miguk yuhak kwa kŭndae kyŏnghŏm,' Ihwa sahak yŏn'gu, vol. 39 (2009):29–99, p. 38; Pak Sŏnmi, Kŭndae yŏsŏng cheguk ŭl kŏch'ŏ Chosŏn ŭro hoeyu hada, p. 41.

    [17] Pak Sŏnmi, Kŭndae yŏsŏng cheguk ŭl kŏch'ŏ Chosŏn ŭro hoeyu hada, p. 66.

    [18] Pak Sŏnmi, Kŭndae yŏsŏng cheguk ŭl kŏch'ŏ Chosŏn ŭro hoeyu hada, p. 42.

    [19] Pak Sŏnmi, Kŭndae yŏsŏng cheguk ŭl kŏch'ŏ Chosŏn ŭro hoeyu hada, pp. 56–57.

    [20] Pak Sŏnmi, Kŭndae yŏsŏng cheguk ŭl kŏch'ŏ Chosŏn ŭro hoeyu hada, p. 59.

    [21] Pak Yongok, Kim Maria, Seoul: Hongsŏngsa, 2003.

    [22] Ewha 100-yŏnsa p'yŏnch'an wiwŏnhoe, Ewha 100-yŏnsa, p. 71; Karen K. Seat, 'Providence Has Freed Our Hands': Women's Missions and the American Encounter with Japan, Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2008.

    [23] Sin Namju, '1920 nyŏndae chisikin yŏsŏng ŭi tŭngjang kwa haewoe yuhak,' Yŏsŏng kwa yŏksa, vol. 3 (2005): 1–75, p. 18.

    [24] Sinhan minbo 21 June 1917.

    [25] Urak'i, vol. 1 (1925): 156–63. The list of graduates (pp. 161–63) is organised chronologically. Pak Esther's year of graduation is not marked, and the list puts Ha Nansa first as if Ha was the first Korean female student graduating from an American university, which is inaccurate.

    [26] Among those students there are included some first or second generation Koreans in Hawai'i.

    [27] Chŏng, 'Ilcheha han'guk yŏsŏng ŭi miguk yuhak,' pp. 29–99.

    [28] Chŏng, 'Ilcheha han'guk yŏsŏng ŭi miguk yuhak,' p. 12.

    [29] Yi Tŏkju, Han'guk kyohoe ch'ŏum yŏsŏngdŭl, Seoul: Hongsŏngsa, 2007, p. 61.

    [30] Most mission schools targeted young, unmarried students. In the case of Ewha, it had a specific policy not to accept married women as students with only a few exceptions—i.e. the very first student, Mrs. Kim and Ha Nansa. However, partly due to the fever for education among Koreans and the immediate need for teachers, Ewha did accept twenty-five married women in 1908. 'Ewha 100-yonsa p'yonch'an wiwonhoe,' Ewha 100-yonsa, p. 60.

    [31] Yi, Han'guk kyohoe ch'ŏum yŏsŏngdŭl, p. 61.

    [32] Annual Reports of the Woman's Foreign Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 1899, p. 89.

    [33] Yi, Han'guk kyohoe ch'ŏum yŏsŏngdŭl, p. 63; Annual Reports of the Korea Woman's Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 1908, p. 6.

    [34] Kim Mirisa, 'Ch'unp'ung ch'uu osimnyŏn kan esŏ tarudahan han na ŭi yŏksa,' Pyŏlgŏn'gon (11 February 1928): 54–58, p. 55.

    [35] Ch'a, 'Ch'unp'ung ch'uu osimnyŏn,' pp. 54–58.

    [36] Pacific Methodist Advocate, 23 February 1911.

    [37] Sin Namju, '1920 nyŏndae chisikin yŏsŏng ŭi tŭngjang kwa haewoe yuhak,' Yŏsŏng kwa yŏksa, 2005, 1–75, p. 53.

    [38] Sin, '1920 nyŏndae chisikin yŏsŏng,' pp. 23–24.

    [39] Ch'oe Yŏngsuk, 'Sŏjŏn taehaksaeng saenghwal' (My Life as a College Student in Sweden), Samch'ŏlli, vol. 4, no. 1 (January 1932): 72–74.

    [40] Ch'oe Yŏngsuk, 'Gandhi wa Naidu hoegyŏngi—Indo e 4 kaewŏl ch'eryu hamyŏnsŏ' (Interviews with Gandhi and Naidu from my Stay in India), Samch'ŏlli, vol. 4, no. 1 (January 1932): 47–49.

    [41] 'Miguk, Chungguk, Ilbon e tanyŏon yŏryu inmul p'yŏngp'angi' (Comment on Women Intellectuals who Went to the U.S., China and Japan), Pyŏlgŏn'gon (4 February 1927): 20–25.

    [42] In her analysis of New Women in China during the May Fourth era, Jin Feng argues that 'the figure of the girl student proves to be not only the “earliest” type, but also the “archetype” of all new women.' Jin Feng, The New Woman in Early Twentieth-Century Chinese Fiction, West Lafayette: Purdue University Press, 2004, p. 18.

    [43] 'Ilbon yuhak ŭi 8 yŏja,' Tonga ilbo, 11 April 1921.

    [44] Tonga ilbo, 18 April 1921; 2 May 1921.

    [45] See Sin yŏsŏng, vol. 2, no. 6 (1924); vol. 2, no. 8 (1924); vol. 3, no. 6 (1925); vol. 4, no. 4 (1926); vol. 7, no. 10 (1933).

    [46] In 1912, the number of female students at high schools was merely 116. This tiny number expanded over the next few decades, reaching 1,100 in 1922, 4,770 in 1932 and 12,171 in 1942. Kim Kyŏngil, Yŏsŏng ŭi kŭndae, kundae ŭi yŏsŏng (Modernity of Gender, Gender of Modernity) Seoul: P'urŭn yŏksa, 2004, p. 283.

    [47] Kim Hwallan, 'Yŏhakkyo kyoyuk munje' (Problems in Girls' Education), Sin yŏsŏng, vol. 7, no. 3 (1933): 10–13; Cho Tongsik, 'P'unggi wa chosŏn yŏhaksaeng' (Moral Discipline and Korean Girl Students), Sin yŏsŏng, vol. 7, no. 10 (1933): 20–21.

    [48] Marie E. Church and Mrs. R.L. Thomas, 'Lulu E. Frey: who went to Korea,' The One Who Went and the One She Found, W.F.M.S., 1929, pp. 150–57.

    [49] Alice Appenzeller, 'Chosŏn yŏja kodŭng kyoyuk munje' (Issues of Higher Education for Women in Korea), Samch'ŏlli, vol. 4, no. 3 (March 1932): 45–46.

    [50] Appenzeller, 'Chosŏn yŏja kodŭng kyoyuk munje,' pp. 45–46.

    [51] T.H.Yun [Yun Ch'iho], 'The kind of education Korean girls need,' The Missionary Voice (April 1918): 114 – 15; Chu Yosŏb, 'Yŏja kyoyuk kaesinan (Proposal for Reform of Women's Education),' Sin yŏsŏng, vol. 5, no. 5 (1931): 8–12.

    [52] Yuam, ‘Miguk yǒja kodǔng kyoyuk—yǒja ǔi hyangsang chǔk kungmin ǔi hyangsang’ (Higher Education for Women in the United States: Advancement of Women is Equal to Advancement of the Nation), Tonggwang 7 (November 1926): 10–17, p. 10

    [53] Yuam, ‘Miguk yǒja kodǔng kyoyuk, p. 13.

    [54] Yuam, ‘Miguk yǒja kodǔng kyoyuk, p. 11.

    [55] Yuam, ‘Miguk yǒja kodǔng kyoyuk, p. 17.

    [56] A report took the example of a girl student in New York who bought 120 pairs of expensive silk socks, costing a total of 410 dollars or 820 won. The report complained that ten such girls could send a country into bankruptcy. 'Yŏ haksaeng ŭi sach'i' (Luxury of Girl Student), Samch'ŏlli (3 November 1929): 7.

    [57] Kim Meri, 'Noksaek ŭi kkum' (Dreams of Hope), Sinin munhak (January 1935). Cited from Sin yŏsŏng kil wi e sŏda (A New Woman Stands in the Street), com. and ed. Sŏ Kyŏngsŏk and U Miyŏng, Seoul: Homi, 2007, pp. 203–07.

    [58] Kim Meri, 'Noksaek ŭi kkum' (Dreams of Hope), Sinin munhak (January 1935). Cited from Sin yŏsŏng kil wi e sŏda (A New Woman Stands in the Street), com. and ed. Sŏ Kyŏngsŏk and U Miyŏng, Seoul: Homi, 2007, pp. 203–07.

    [59] Kim Meri, 'Noksaek ŭi kkum,' p. 207.

    [60] 'Ch'oegŭn miguk sin yŏsŏng' (Contemporary American New Woman), an interview with Yun Sŏngdŏk, Samch'ŏlli (3 November 1929): 7–11.

    [61] 'Ch'oegŭn miguk sin yŏsŏng,' p. 8.

    [62] 'Ch'oegŭn miguk sin yŏsŏng,' p. 9.

    [63] Hŏ Chŏngsuk, 'Ul chul anŭn inhyŏng ŭi yŏja guk, pukmi insanggi' (A country of women who look like dolls that know how to cry: an observation of North America), Pyŏlgŏn'gon (December 1927): 75.

    [64] Hŏ, 'Ul chul anŭn inhyŏng ŭi yŏja guk, pukmi insanggi,' p. 75.

    [65] Kim Hwallan, 'Nae ka pon oeguk yŏsŏng' (My observation on foreign women), Kidok sinbo (30 December 1928): 10.

    [66] Kim, 'Nae ka pon oeguk yŏsŏng,' p. 10.

    [67] Kim, 'Nae ka pon oeguk yŏsŏng,' p. 10.

    [68] Pak Indŏk, 'Nae ka pon Togil nongch'on' (My observations of a rural community in Germany), Samch'ŏlli, vol. 4, no. 4 (April 1932): 66–69.

    [69] Pak, 'Nae ka pon Togil nongch'on,' p. 67.

    [70] Han Kwija, 'Tenmak nongch'on sosik' (News about agriculture in Denmark), Nongmin saenghwal, vol. 1 (1929): 35–36.

    [71] Han, 'Tenmak nongch'on sosik,' pp. 35–36.

    [72] Kenneth Wells, 'The price of legitimacy: women and the Kŭnuhoe Movement, 1927 – 1931,' in Colonial Modernity in Korea, ed. Gi-Wook Shin and Michael Robinson, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999, 191–220, p. 194.

    [73] Na Hyesŏk, 'Kyŏnghŭi,' Yŏjagye (March 1918), from Na Hyesŏk chŏnjip (A Collection of the Writings by Na Hyesŏk), com. and ed. Yi Sanggyŏng, Seoul: T'aehaksa, 2000, pp. 79–104; Yung-Hee Kim, 'Creating new paradigms of womanhood in modern Korean literature: Na Hye-sŏk's Kyŏnghŭi,' Korean Studies, vol. 26, no. 1 (2002): 1–60.

    [74] Yi Sanggyŏng, Ingan ŭro salgo sipda (I Want to Live as a Human Being) Seoul: Hangilsa, 2000.

    [75] Na Hyesŏk, 'Ah, Chayu ŭi P'ari ka kŭriwŏ' (Missing the freedom of Paris), Samch'ŏlli, vol. 4, no. 1 (January 1932): 43–46, pp. 43–44.

    [76] Na, 'Ah, Chayu ŭi P'ari ka kŭriwŏ,' pp. 43–46. A social critic, Chu Unsŏng echoed a similar sentiment for unlimited possibilities upon arriving in Tokyo as follows: 'I felt my shoulders broaden with a surge of energy.' Chu Unsŏng, 'Tonggyŏng yugi' (Travelogue on Tokyo), Samch'ŏlli, vol. 10, no. 12 (1938): 78–83.

    [77] Na Hyesŏk, 'Sin saenghwal e tŭlmyŏnsŏ' (Starting a new life), Samch'ŏlli, vol. 7, no. 1 (1935): 70–81.

    [78] Na, 'Sin saenghwal e tŭlmyŏnsŏ,' p. 74.

    [79] Na Hyesŏk, 'Ihon kobaekchang' (A confession about my divorce: to Ch'ŏnggu), Samch'ŏlli, vol. 6 (August, 1934): 84–96; and Samch'ŏlli, vol. 6 (September, 1934): 84–94.

    [80] Chǒngwǒl [Na Hyesŏk's pen name], 'Chapkam' (Miscellaneous), Hak chi kwang, vol. 12 (1917): 53–55.

    [81] 'Hwasil ŭi kaebang, P'ari esŏ toraon Ra Hyesŏk yŏsa Yŏja misul haksa' (Opening of an Atiler, Ms. Ra Hyesŏk returning from Paris, Art School for Women,' Samch'ŏlli, vol. 5, no. 3 (1933): 58–61.

    [82] Hyaeweol Choi, '"Wise mother, good wife": a transcultural discursive construct in modern Korea,' Journal of Korean Studies, vol. 14, no. 1 (2009): 1–34.


Published with the support of Gender and Cultural Studies, School of Culture, History and Language, College of Asia and the Pacific, The Australian National University.
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