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Thursday, January 13, 2005

from household register (hojeok) to individual registering

The issue of replacing the household register (hojôk 戶籍) system with a more individual-centered system keeping a register of persons has been long in the making, and now the High Court has drafted a system in which each person would be registered individually, and in which the family relations (spouse, children, parents) are also included (Hankyoreh article). When a copy of the register needs to be issued, these family relations can be included according to the need. This is at the moment called a 1-in 1-jôk (一人一籍) system.

I understand this draft is only one of several proposals to replace the hoju (戶主, household head) system (which the household register represents). There's also a "family register" (kajokpu) proposal, in which the basic registering unit would be a married couple and unmarried children. [Now that would not be too different from the hoju system, would it? It would treat married sons and daughters similarly at least unlike what's done in hojôk.]

The Dept of Justice has now started to draft a proposal of its own, based on what's been presented, and it will be presented as the bill later this month. [Isn't this quite a hasty pace for legislation which is not small in importance? Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that not too much is wasted in a situation where both the government and the opposition parties have agreed on the new legislation...]

In another article, Hankyoreh explains what'll change.
• Register based on the individual, not on the household head (hoju)
• Woman's register (ponjôk) doesn't change in marriage, as was done in the hoju system, in which the woman was transferred from her original household to the household and register of her husband
• Individual's brothers and sisters are not included in the register (like in the hoju system), only parents, spouse, and children
• Only the changes in the civil (social) status (sinbun) of the individual are recorded, not those of the individual's parents, spouse of children

(This is the time I should reasonably use for the blog today, so I'll continue later with different opinions on the planned changes in personal registering. Not surprisingly, the opinions of women's associations and the Confucian societies [Yurim 類林] are presented as confrontational - see for example Ohmynews

Also: Hankyoreh editorial supports the individual registry, while Chosun Ilbo wouldn't like to see the family registering going away lest it results "in too radical a break with traditional family values"

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Comments to note "from household register (hojeok) to individual registering" (Comments to posts older than 14 days are moderated)

<Blogger Christian R.> said on 14.1.05 : 

> Now that [kajokpu] would not be too different from the hoju
> system, would it?

As far as I understand, at least the ascent will not be nmentionned in kajokpu. But the current address of unmarried children, even above 18 years old, would be mentionned.

I am very interested in these issues because I am married to a Korean citizen. She opposes hojuje just on the principle of gender equality. I found many ajumma are not really interested in these issues, though. I am not hoju because I am a foreigner and many are surprised when my wife tell them she is indeed hoju.

I think practical implications of the hojuje are to be looked in other areas, like bank accounts and hiring process. In Korea it is not legally possible to have two names on the same bank account, even with married couples. I think there are cultural reasons for keeping bank accounts separate but I tend to think hojuje maintains this situation. Indeed, only the hoju can open the bank account, put his name on, and grant access to the account to his spouse and/or children. The spouse can not do it (if she want s to share a bank account with someone else, a child or a sister), even if she is working and the husband is unemployed. When hiring Korean citizens in Korea, it is common that they give a deungbon, disclosing a lot of private information. There would be much to say about hiring procedures in Korea, but this is your log, after all:)

Anyway, I hope that this hojuje abolition would have also other effects on the society, allowing more privacy, more equality and more flexibility.

It is not a simple matter of recording, there are functional and social impacts. But I don't think that family values would go away, as the Chosun states. Family members do not need records to love or hate each other.

<Blogger pram enthusiast> said on 13.1.11 : 

What happens if a daughter of the family has a child out of wedlock? Is the daughter removed from the family register? Can the illegitimate child be included on the family register?

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