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∙ Current position: Academy of Finland Postdoctoral Researcher, Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Helsinki
∙ Ph.D. dissertation Neighborhood Shopkeepers in Contemporary South Korea: Household, Work, and Locality available online (E-Thesis publications a the University of Helsinki). For printed copies, please contact me by e-mail.
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Thursday, March 31, 2005

Choi Jang-jip and national security law

Two notes on the row about the National Security Law (NSL) of the Republic of Korea; not really fitting of what this blog in general has been about, but these issues concern persons whom I admire and respect.
In addition to the decision that the novel Taebaek Sanmaek by Jo Jung-rae gives no reason to press charges on the basis of NSL (see my previous note below), Ohmynews tells that the prosecution has made the same decision concerning the book 한국 민주주의의 조건과 전망 (Conditions and Prospects of Korean Democracy) by Choi Jang-jip. In the case of professor Choi, the prosecution reached the conclusion quicker than in the case of Taebaek Sanmaek; it's been now seven years since a complaint was failed against Choi, while it took 11 years for the prosecution not to press charges against Mr Jo. Professor Choi was originally accused of describing the Korean War as a war for national liberation (minjok haebang chônjaeng) and of encouraging for laudation of DPRK. Seems that it stemmed from Choi simply presenting the DPRK view of the war, but not in his own view. Now the times are different, and it's just a one proof that the two Koreas are becoming even more different when publicly expressing as a personal opinion that Korean War was a war of liberation brings commie accusations for sure but doesn't make prosecutors busy. Here I'm referring to the one and only professor Kang Jeong-gu; here he recalls in one of his columns for the Roh Moo-hyun-minded Dailyseop the whole US-Korean history when arguing that Koh Gun (Ko Gôn) mustn't become the next president: "to understand the real character of the Korean modern history, one must not regard the conflict in the liberated Korea as just an extreme division between Koreans, as some presidential hopefulls are doing. It was rather a realization of the struggle for national sovereignty and liberation by Korean against United States, which had acted contrary to the demand of the national history (minjoksa) that the Koreans create their own society and history according to their wishes, and suppressed it by armed forces."
More Dailyseop columns by Kang Jeong-gu here.

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Monday, March 28, 2005

Jo Jung-rae to avoid prosecution for Taebaek Sanmaek

Ohmynews tells that the prosecution is soon to make a decision not to press charges against the novelist Jo Jung-rae for breaking the national security law with his novel Taebaek Sanmaek. It's about bloody time I'd say; the issue has been hanging over Jo since 1994, when the adoptive son of the former president Syngman Rhee (or should I say Dr Syngman Rhee...) and eight organizations filed a complaint against Jo for libel and violation of the national security law. The prosecution has been dragging the case for more than ten years while millions have been buying and reading the 10-volume novel, and it's been included in the recommended reading list at also the Police Academy.
But what took so long to do the complaint back in 1990s, when the book had been out for years and years? Did it take so long to read it? Or was it the news of Im Kwon-taek making it to a film?

Jo Jung-rae shows leniency and understanding towards those who filed the complaint now that he's being relieved from the issue which must have been strenuous (but at least he's been able to write and publish a lot) (a Yonhap article via Hankyoreh); "Korean War and Vietnam War veterans (who were among the complainants) have personal scars and experiences, so I don't expect them to have objective views, and I've wanted to understand them."

So the source in the prosecutor tells (from Hankyoreh) that they have decided not to press charges against Jo Jung-rae, but the official announcement will be given after the parliamentary hearings of the chief prosecutor appointee, as the issue would become a point of debate in the hearings. Would it really? Would the GOP have the nerve to take it up? This is the history of the legal wrangling around Taebaek Sanmaek, from the above Hankyoreh link:
소설 <태백산맥> 국가보안법 위반 고발사건 일지

△1990년/ 도서출판 ‘한길사’, 조정래 대하소설 <태백산맥> 첫 출간. 95년 도서출판 ‘해냄’으로 옮겨 출판.
△1991년/ 검찰, 민중봉기를 미화하는 등 이적성 있다고 판단해 의식화 교재로 사용하면 국가보안법으로 형사처벌 방침 표명.
△1993년/ 임권택 감독, 안성기·김명곤·김갑수 등 출연한 영화 <태백산맥> 상영. 대종상 우수작품상, 청룡상 작품상 수상, 베를린영화제 본선 진출.
△1994년 4월/ 이승만 전 대통령의 양자 이아무개씨와 ‘구국민족연맹’ 등 8개 단체, 저자 조정래씨와 ‘한길사’ 대표 김언호씨 국가보안법 위반 및 명예훼손 혐의로 경찰에 고소·고발.
△1994년 6월/ 경찰청 보안4과, 저자 조씨 소환해 14시간 동안 조사. 이후 7차례 출석요구서 보내고 구인 시도했으나 조씨가 끝내 출석 거부.
△1994년 9월/ 경찰청 보안4과, 저자 조씨와 출판사 대표 김씨 검찰에 불구속 송치.
△1996년 8월/ 서울지검 공안1부, 최상관 검사에게 새로 배당.
△1997년 3월/ <태백산맥>, 최인훈의 <광장>과 조세희의 <난장이가 쏘아올린 작은 공>에 이어 한국 문학사상 3번째로 100쇄 인쇄 돌파.
△1997년 12월/ <태백산맥> 출간 7년만에 500만부 돌파. 하루 평균 1500부 판매.
△1999년 4월/ 서울지검 공안1부(부장 홍경식), 주임검사 바꿔 재수사 착수.
△1999년 9월/ 서울지검 공안1부(부장 정병욱·주임검사 조상수), 저자 조씨 소환조사.
△2001년 12월/서울지검 공안1부(부장 천성관), 이적성 판단 위해 소속검사 전원이 <태백산맥> 전 10권 숙독한 뒤 전체회의 가졌으나 결론 못내림.
△2004년 11월/ 서울중앙지검, 국가보안법 개폐 논의와 관련해 <태백산맥> 연내처리 방침 표명.
△2005년 3월/ 서울중앙지검, 만 11년만에 무혐의 결정 방침 표명.

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Saturday, March 26, 2005

Taedo (大盜) becomes sodo (小盜)

Cho Se-hyôn going to trial in 1983
In the late 1970s and early 1980s and it was possible and I guess it still is to become a sort of a people's champion by relieving rich people of their money and diamonds by thievery. It is recalled that the exploits of taedo (大盜, "big thief") Cho Se-hyông in the late Park Chung-hee and early Chun Doo-hwan era, directed at rich people's houses and belongings, woke sympathies among the "ordinary people" (seomin), as the riches that he stole were often perceived as not rightfully earned. Mr Cho was in the end arrested in 1983 and sent to jail for 15 years. In late 1998 he walked free, and proclaimed that he had become a believing Christian, and his life seemed so turned around that he was employed by a security company and went around lecturing about preventing crime. His release was a quite a big news back then, and I guess the bad state of economy and increased differences of wealth contributed to the newsworthiness of the release of the former "big thief".

The next time Mr Cho appeared in the news was in early 2001 when he had been arrested in Japan for burglary, and got 3.5 years. After his release he returned to Korea and continued his religious activity, until the news yesterday told that Mr Cho had once again been arrested for burglary (Chosun Ilbo). It was told that Cho shouldn't have any economic reason for burglary as his wife, whom he married around '99, makes enough to support them. A psychologist that Chosun quotes thinks that Cho is an incurably habitual burglar, who can't let a chance pass.

Hankyoreh tells today that the reason Mr Cho gave for the recent burglary he was arrested of was that he needed money in order to retribute to the Japanese police who shot him in the leg when he was arrested in Japan in '01. When arrested Mr Cho, aged 67, claimed that he is homeless Pak Sông-gyu, aged 48, who did the burglary in order to get money to start a street stall business (nojômsang). The young constable did not recognize Mr Cho, but his older collegue with a longer experience felt something familiar in the arrested person, whose identity they could confirm with fingerprints.

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Thursday, March 24, 2005

Pobusang or pubosang

The peddlars who took care of most of the circulation of goods and merchandise in the country during the Chosôn (Joseon) era are nowadays known as pobusang (褓負商). There were actually two kinds of these, posang (褓商) and pusang (負商); the former carried and sold mostly small wares and the latter bigger merchandise like brassware and other bigger kitchenware. Now we learn from the site bubosang.net that the original term, allegedly coined by Yi Sông-gye or T'aejo, the founder of the state of Chosôn, would have been pubosang (負褓商), and that the more familiar term pobusang would be a result of the Japanese distortion of Korean history when they wanted to disparage the economic policies of Chosôn.

The story of the Japanese colonial scholarship on Korea is well known (better known than that scholarship itself), said to have contributed to the justification of the Japanese takeover of Korea. In that, the Japanese colonial scholarship would also have described the status of trade and traders as lower than it actually was, thus showing that without the Japanese help Korea would never have gotten out of that non-modern line of thinking. Sure, merchants were among the "good people" (yangin) and not among the "base" or "despised" (ch'ônmin), but I must have been reading terribly wrong books and understood everything terribly wrong for thinking that in few places did the premodern elite succeed so well in restricting commerce as in Korea. Perhaps the Chosôn era proponents (the so-called "Practical school" or sirhakp'a) of more active commerce and easening of the restriction of the participation of yangban in commerce were wrong in describing the official attitude towards commerce in Chosôn as marôp (末業) or ch'ônôp (賤業), "despised (or low) occupation". The Bubosang site tells that the four occupations of officials, peasants, artisans, and traders (sa-nong-kong-sang 士農工商) was not a ranking order but a term which indicated the four main livelihoods of the people (paeksông 百姓), excluding only the king and the slaves. The sa-nong-kong-sang would have been a ranking order of occupations in Japan!

Paying attention to the economic and commercial changes that took place during the late Chosôn period is all good and a lot of valuable research has been done, but all this goes so much towards unreasonable nationalism that important considerations of history go all spoilt. From the description of the truth behind pubosang:
Therefore the way (haengsil) of the pubosang, still in the consciousness of Korean merchants, is a truly noble example of merchant ethics (sangin chôngsin) and is in no way inferior.
Not inferior to what? Does it need to be said? And I was going to mention in passing in my thesis that the premodern forms and practices of trade are quite irrelevant to keeping a shop in the present-day Korea...

Kotaji's comment deserves to be lifted from the comments to the main page:
You're getting very close to the topic of my thesis here so I feel obliged to comment. I think one of the roots of the problem here (alongside the reflexive nationalism of much modern Korean historiography and its echoes of mechanistic Stalinist Marxism) is a Eurocentric (and in my opinion incorrect in the European context too) understanding of the role of commerce and merchants in the development of capitalism.

Merchants in precapitalist societies tended to be well integrated into the prevailing political-economic system. This was true in Europe as well, where merchants were usually happier with monopolies guaranteed by political elites than they were forging ahead to a brave new world on the basis of their supposed 'commercial spirit'. In fact the pobusang seem to have been one of the most conservative and strongly state-allied commercial groups in ChosOn. They were the people used by the government, if I remember rightly, as street thugs to break up the protests of the Independence Club in the 1890s.

This is not to say that the role of commerce and merchants in societies like ChosOn was static or lacking in contradictions, just that it was well integrated into the political-economic system of a tribute extracting elite.

The comment space is too short for the following quote of a newspaper article as a rejoinder to the comment above, so I add here a piece of article from a few years back about a book, which appears to attempt a thorough reassessment of the pobusang. Such an interesting thing, ways in which the ideas about premodern commerce and traders are presented in the contemporary Korea. But isn't that what's interesting in history in any case?
월봉저작상 수상 조재곤씨 “보부상도 근대화 지향”
조선일보 2002-04-10

“보부상은 근대화에 반대한 수구세력으로 인식됐지만, 황제권 강화를 통해 근대화를 지향한 이중적 측면을 지닌 존재였습니다.조재곤(趙宰坤•41) 서울대 한국문화연구소 선임연구원은 19세기 후반 보부상의 성장과 활동을 집중적으로 분석한 ‘한국 근대 사회와 보부상’(혜안출판사)으로 최근 제21회 월봉저작상 수상자로 선정됐다.
저작상 심사위원회(유영익 이기동 이태진)는 이 책이 “독립협회와 쌍벽을 이루던 황국협회의 결성과 갈등 구조를 살피는 데 비범한 성과를 거뒀고, 국권 함몰시기 보부상의 변천 과정 등 근대 상인자본의 원류 탐색에 성과가 탁월하다”고 평가했다. 조씨는 “보부상은 봉건 상인으로 알려진 것과는 달리 근대화의 필요성을 실감했고, 실제로 그 일익을 담당하려고 했다”고 말한다.
구한말 외세의 경제적 침탈에 대해 국내 상권 수호에 힘썼고, 상공학교 설립을 추진하는 한편, 경제지인 상무총보를 발간하는 등 근대적 지향을 분명히 했다는 것.
그는 “보부상은 19세기 중반 소규모 행상들이 영업 행위를 보장받기 위해 조직돼 1890년대 4만~5만명에 달하는 거대 조직으로 성장했다”고 말한다. 보성 학교를 설립한 이용익이 보부상 출신이고, 민족 자본가 이승훈도 평안도 일대에서 보부상을 했다는 설명이다.
그는 “보부상은 전통적 행상과 근대적 상인을 연결하는 중간적 존재”라고 말했다.
전통시대 상인(商人) 전문가에게 최근 인기를 끈 사극 ‘상도’에 대해 물었다.그는 “상인들의 활동을 역동적으로 그린 것은 흥미롭지만, 송상과 만상의 갈등을 지나치게 강조하는 등 역사적 사실을 왜곡한 측면이 많다”고 아쉬워했다.
월봉 저작상은 일제시대 언론과 민족운동에 헌신한 월봉 한기악(月峰 韓基岳) 선생을 기리기 위해 1975년 제정됐다. 시상식은 10일 오후 4시 대한출판문화협회 회관 4층 강당에서 열린다.(02)732-3333
/김기철기자 kichul@chosun.com

And for the last, the interested can access a movie file of a 1991 TV documentary piece on traditional marketplaces and the pobusang at prof. Lee Mun-woon'g visual anthropology archive.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Chosun Ilbo beginning to lean towards Roh govt?

Chang Ki-p'yo (or Jang Ki-pyo, I don't know) is a man who's been going his own way in Korean politics after his democracy struggle years and prison time, mostly failing like in launching a Social Democratic party but often producing interesting commentary about the nation. In the header of his homepage he is now having a "people's campaign for saving Korea" (Nara kuhagi kungminundong). His most recent opinion piece in his homepage , "Changing Chosun Ilbo, blessing or a curse?" (Korean) is about the recent change in the attitude of Chosun Ilbo towards the Roh government. I myself don't have the time and energy to read Korean papers in the net so precisely that I'd have gotten aware of such change, but Mr Chang surely has better antlers than I... Chang accounts the changes he's been sensing to what is basically the opportunism of the newspaper; it's been supporting political powers which have failed to grab power in the last two presidential elections, and as it doesn't seem likely that Grand National Party will succeed even in the future, it's best to get closer to where the powers are.

Marketplace renovation and cultured toilet

The Marketplace Special Law (Chaeraesijang t'ûkpyôlpôp), made to support the renewals and renovations in the "traditional" (chaerae) marketplaces which haven't fared well with the appearance of the new huge retail establishments, is apparently making changes. Ohmynews introduces Kim Sang-ch'Ol, the head of the marketplace association of Incheon (Inch'ôn chaeraesijang yônhaphoe), who's busy marketing the law and his association and helping the marketplaces to utilize the new law.

An important piece of info is that marketplace traders pay a lot higher commission for the use of credit card (4.5-5%) than department stores and huge discount stores (1.5%), so it's no wonder that many marketplace shopkeepers don't accept cards. (Of course there's also the question of keeping one's sales undocumented by accepting only cash.) Mr Kim tells that there are negotiations to get the commission down. (Could the difference be that big between marketplace traders and big retailers?)

Previously open-air marketplaces are being covered with a roof to make a kind of arcades, toilets are rebuilt to meet the current standards (what are they actually?), and what is important, parking facilities are expanded. The toilet issue always seems to be a bit touchy, and that's one area in which Koreans often might feel that they don't really meet "cultured" standards of the developed nations. So the renewed toilet of the Guweol Market (Kuwôl sijang) in Incheon has been named Kuwôl munhwa hwajangsil, Guweol Market Cultured Toilet. (I write it "cultured", because in this context munhwa clearly means a kind of a developmental standard of a culture, and not "culture" as such as we anthros tend to do.)

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Monday, March 21, 2005

Geert Hofstede™ Cultural Dimensions

Can't remember what route I ended up in the Geert Hofstede's ™ "Cultural Dimensions" page on Korea, but that's what the blog referrals do.
South Korea's highest Hofstede Dimension is Uncertainty Avoidance (UAI) at 85, indicating the society’s low level of tolerance for uncertainty. In an effort to minimize or reduce this level of uncertainty, strict rules, laws, policies, and regulations are adopted and implemented. The ultimate goal of this population is to control everything in order to eliminate or avoid the unexpected. As a result of this high Uncertainty Avoidance characteristic, the society does not readily accept change and is very risk adverse.
Perhaps this kind of a conclusion is a consequence of the material having been collected between 1967 and 1973 (!), or then these dimensions are crap.

가정 훈장

얼마 전에 어떤 한국으로 파견될 회사원헌테 한국어를 가르쳐 줄 사람 좀 소개할 수 없느냐는 부탁이 왔어요. 소개할 만한 사람을 생각해 보겠다고 약속하면서 왜 그런 돈을 남한테 주겠느냐는 마음이었지. 그한테 연락을 하고 내가 했으면 어떠냐고 물었더니 괜찮다고. 그 다음엔 얼마나 받아야 하는 고민. 우리같은 인문, 사회학계의 사람들은 몸값을 잘 모르니까 이럴 때 항상 고민이 생기는 것이지. 나의 한국어 실력을 싸게 팔면 안 되겠다 싶어서 좀 큰 돈을 요구했다, 수업료도 회사에서 낸다면서. 먼저 좀 비싸다고 그랬지만 나는 먼제 얘기한 액수를 부드럽게 고집했다. 지금 그와 그의 여자친구집에 일주일 2-3번 다니고 있다. 좋은 거는 사람이 둘 다 마음이 좋고 배울 의지도 잘 보여주고 있다.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Spam of the week

Getting spam mail is of course tiring and annoying, but sometimes a good piece of spam can even create a smile or even laughter.
My name is JANG DOO-HWAN, The brother of Mr. CHUN DOO-HWAN, the former President of South Korea who seized power in a military coup in 1979 and who ruled from 1979 to 1987. My brother was pushed out of office and charged with treason ,corruption and embezzlement of over 21billion won. He was wrongly sentenced to death but fortunately AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL stepped in and commuted the sentence to life. We thank God that he has finally being released though still under house arrest in the sense of conditions of the freedom.
During my brother's regime as president of South Korea, we realized some reasonable amount of money from various deals that we successfully executed. I have plans to invest this money for my children's future on real estate and industrial production. Before my brother's was overthrown, I secretly siphoned the sum of $30,000,000 million USD (Thirty million United states dollars) out of Seoul and deposited the money with a security firm that transports valuable goods and consignments through diplomatic means. I am contacting you because I want you to deal with the security company and claim the money on my behalf since I have declared that the consignment belong to my foreign business partner. You shall also be required to assist me in investment in your country.
Please also send me your telephone and fax number. I will ask my son to contact you to give you more details on after I have received a response from you. I am going to introduce you to him as an age long friend so as to prevent him from using any of his own friends who I regard as sycophants who are around him for financial gains and treacherous if he gives them this opportunity. This I got from the experience I had when the people turned against Chun, my brother that became the prelude of our sorrow. The reason why it took this long was that the security company's agreement with me was that my brother must personally sign the Powerof Attorney that will transfer title to the prospective beneficiary. It was a long wait but it paid off. His excellency, Chun Doo-Hwan does not want to be personally involved for security reason. Your quick response will be highly appreciated.
By the way, I also heard that the former president Chun Doo-hwan has yet another brother called Kim Doo-hwan, and that he also has an offer of millions of millions of dollars if you only send him his telephone and fax and number and credit card details.

On another thought, we might in fact clear some space in our garage for a few apple boxes for Mr Jang, if his brother Mr Chun has trouble finding space for those he has left, but on the condition that only the uppermost contains apples. We both know, Mr Jang, what there's supposed to be in the rest of them.

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Saturday, March 19, 2005

former Hankyoreh reporter joins GNP

Media Today tells that that there are both confused and understanding feelings in Hankyoreh over the news that a recently resigned Hankyoreh reporter has applied for the candidacy of the Grand National Party (Hannaradang) in the coming re-election of the parliamentary seat of Yeongcheon in Northern Gyeongsang. Media Today tells that former Hankyoreh journalists have entered politics in the ranks of the Democratic Party (Minjudang) and Our Open Party (Yôllin uridang), but this is the first for GNP.

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Thursday, March 17, 2005

Shaman's initiation ritual in Ohmynews

The initiate Mr Chông and his spirit mother Ch'oe posal bow in front of the ritual altar. ⓒ2005 한성희
Ohmynews presents a two-part article of an inititation ritual (naerim-kut) of a shaman; a very detailed piece, very interesting reading. The one who receives the initiation is a man, Mr Chông (age 40), who is married, and who most likely (even though not directly mentioned in the article) has contracted the so-called spirit disease (sinbyông 神病) or shaman disease (mubyông 巫病) so that he cannot but receive a shaman initiation.

There are four shamans participating in the ritual. Ch'oe posal who will be the spirit mother (sinômôni) and Ku pôpsa who is the spirit father (sinabôji) of Ch'oe posal and will thus become the spirit grandfather

The spirit has descended on Mr Chông. Ku pôpsa is standing on the left. ⓒ2005 한성희
(sinharabôji) of Mr Chông, and two others. As the name naerim-kut says, the ritual is about spirits descending upon the person who is initiated. It's the responsibility of the spirit mother to prepare the mind of the initiate ready to receive the spirits. This time the mind of Mr Chông was ready, and the spirit favorable; at one o'clock in the evening after two hours Mr Chông began to shake and shiver and jump up and down. That was the chômsa halmôni spirit, divination grandmother, which is important in fortune-telling.

In the second part of the article we learn that Mr Chông has actually received the shaman initiation ritual already seven years ago, but then he failed. It's not told how he failed, but perhaps he did not succeed in opening his "word gate" (malmun), that is talk the words of the spirits or ancestors. The writer of the articles tells that about 70% of the initiated fail to become shamans.

Mr Chông on the chaktu knives. ⓒ2005 한성희
At 5 in the morning the 12-scene ritual (12-kôri kut), in which the initiate receives all the twelve spirits, exchanging his set of clothes for each scene and spirit. At the end of the 12 scenes, the shaman will walk on the blades of two chaktu, kind of a cutting knife. The 12 scenes last no more than half an hour, and it's time for Mr Chông to step on the knives, which he failed in seven year earlier. The chaktu spirit is so important that without its benevolence and power one really can't be a shaman. The writer tells that the knives have been sharpened, so we can't but believe her. This time Mr Chông succeeds, as can be seen from the picture.
- Ku pôpsa wore makeup, and you as well. Why is that?
- "When the sônnyôsin (kind of a female spirit) enters you, you wear makeup. It's not always, but male shamans often get female spirits, and female shamans often get male spirits. When the sônnyôsin enters, you were flashy clothes and makeup."
When the sônnyôsin enters a male shaman (paksu mudang), he puts on skin powder and lipstick, wears women's clothes and talks in a woman's voice. I'm reminded what the grandmother shaman just had said:
"The most pitiable person in the world is the spouse of a shaman. The shaman's body is not her own you know. It's a body given to the spirits."

Now I'm beginning to think where André Kim is getting inspiration.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2005

500 W tobacco price hike

The government is planning to raise the cigarette price 500 won (a pack?) next summer, and the tax excemption thus far given for cigarettes sold to soldiers will be taken away (from Chosun Ilbo).

Dept chief Mun Ch'ang-sik from the Ministry of Health and Welfare describes the armed forces as the practice ground for smoking; at the moment a pack of This (isn't that from which 디스 comes?) has been sold for 250 won for soldiers, but in the future the price would be 2000W like for the rest of the population.

One can argue that here's the government once again making the life more difficult for the sômin (seomin) and taking away one of the last joys they can enjoy, but in the case of cigarettes, the "ordinary people" won't get my sympathy... Sure this makes also the life harder for smokers in military service, with the rather lousy pay (to put it sarcastically) the recruits get.

Let's see, if the monthly "pay" of a conscript has been 35800 won in 2004, or 1200W a day, one can get four packs of cigarettes with the tax-free army prices. I understand that the remuneration has been raised to 60100W/month (2000W/day) this year, so with the raised cig prices it'd make one pack a day.

What about here then? A conscript in Finland gets 3.60€/day up to 180 days of service (the most common length of service), between 180 and 270 days 5.75€, from 270 to 360 days 8.25€. I have no idea of the exact price of a pack of cigarettes here, but the daily pay during the shortest service is good perhaps for a 3/4 of a pack, so if and when the Korean soldiers will have to buy their cigarettes with tax, the price of tarring and nicotining one's lungs is almost equal for Finnish and Korean conscripts.

Concerning this cigarette price hike, we have not yet heard any statement from the Writers' Association condemning the goverment plan like last year.

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McCune-Reischauer persisting at Yonsei

As a consequence of writing my name on a list in a conference (or just having been a participant in a conference), the Center for Korean History at the Yonsei University is sending me once or twice a year their International Journal of Korean History for free; a good deal. Interesting to notice that the journal is using the McCune-Reischauer romanization as if the Ministry of Culture hadn't promulgated its own system recently, especially as the journal is published with funds from the "Brain Korea 21", which is public money. I was under the impression that those receiving government funds were under the obligation to use the new romanization, but impression is not knowing, I see.
Romanization of Korean proper names must follow the McCune-Reischauer system.
(Seems by the way that very little if no funds were allotted for finding a good name for that funding program.)

For those who end up here seeking the romanization systems:
The Revised Romanization of Korean
McCune-Reischauer Romanization of Korean

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Friday, March 11, 2005

The kiabai, subway salespeople

To my embarrassment I have only now learned the native or in-group term for the wandering salespersons in the Seoul subway system, kiabai, even though I was staying in Korea on a long-term basis at the time when the phenomenon was common. A kiabai salesperson in the Ddanzi Ilbo article linked below explains that word is coined from the English "gear" and "buy".

Ddanzi Ilbo on metro salesmen, making the association in the genuine ddanzi manner between the pobusang of the old Korea and the kiabai of the "IMF era" and post-IMF Korea. Ddanzi also gives "seven reasons why the kiabai are the venture (pench'ô) warriors"
첫째. 이들은 울 나라 근대 상업계를 주름잡았던 보부상과 방물장수의 역사적 전통을 잇는 창조적 계승자다. '사농공상'이라 하여 상업을 천시하는 울나라 특유의 열악한 환경에서, 이들은 꿋꿋하게 물류매매의 최전방에서 활동하며 강인한 상인정신의 숨결을 전한다.

Monthly Donga (Sindonga) (Dec/1999) on "freelancers without a shop"; a detailed description of the activity.
재미있는 건 기아바이라 해서 무조건 쫓아내거나 잡아갈 수는 없다는 점이다. 무임 승차를 한 것도 아닌데 팔 물건을 갖고 있다는 이유만으로 범법자 취급을 할 순 없는 일. 객차 안에서 단가를 치고 있거나 돈을 거두고 있을 때에만 단속이 가능하다. 이를 누구보다 잘 아는 이들은 한창 단가를 치던 와중에라도 낌새가 이상하다 싶으면 재빨리 구석으로 물건 상자를 밀어 넣고 그 위에 털썩 주저앉아 버린다. ‘나 지금 장사 안 했다’는 표시다.

단속반이라고 가만히 있을 수는 없다. 어떻게든 행상들이 눈치 채지 못하게 접근. 현장을 포착하기 위해서 갖가지 방법을 동원한다. 가장 많이 쓰이는 것이 매복. 달려오는 전동차가 맨 처음 만나게 되는 승강장 기둥이나 계단이 주요 엄폐물이다. 역에 도착한 전동차는 서서히 속도를 줄이게 마련인데, 이때 앞으로 휙휙 지나가는 전동차 창문을 통해 장사에 열중하고 있는 기아바이는 없는지 유심히 살펴본다. 일단 전동차 문이 열리면 봐두었던 칸으로 달려가 적발한다. 열차의 맨 앞문과 뒷문으로 동시에 들어가 서서히 포위망을 좁혀 가는 ‘그물망 작전’도 자주 구사한다.

Kiabuy has this kiabai product in its selection. It's a razor machine which works with a kind of a spring instead of a battery. I once bought one, not for shaving but for being so amused by the idea... As you may have guessed, it doesn't work.
Click the picture for a bigger photograph in a new window.

Kiabuy ; a site which imports merchandise from China and elsewhere for the kiabai traders. Actually the name of the company is Dasan (茶山) International Corporation. Dasan... Of course I can't be sure if the company has a connection to a geographical location called Dasan (Tasan), but that word most likely will bring to mind the early 19th century scholar Chông Ya-gyông, whose pen name was 茶山. It's said that Tasan was not as "progressive" in his economic thinking as others normally known as sirhakp'a, Practical Learning, as he did not advocate the expansion of commerce and manufacturing. At least he reserved a second-to-last place for commerce (商) in the Confucian order of the four occupations (officials-farmers-artisans-merchants/sa-nong-kong-sang 士農工商) instead of the customary last (James Palais: Confucian Statecraft and Korean Institutions, U. of Washington Press 1996).

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Chosun Ilbo, Choi Jang-jip and the Roh govt

One of the major issues in the beginning of the so-called anti-Chosun movement was the attacks by Monthly Chosun on professor Choi Jang-jip back in late 1998, when the magazine wrote that professor Choi's view on the Korean War was inappropriate for someone in an official position, as Choi was a member of a presidential organ at that time. In short, in the view of Monthly Chosun Choi's views on the war and else was to pro-north and red. (I'm not sure if Monthly Chosun was already at that time formally separated from the mother company and the daily newspaper, but now it is, and the editorial line of the chief editor Cho Gab-je is said to be one reason why even the daily newspaper of the company wants to keep some distance.)

So, now at the time of Roh Moo-hyun's administration, professor Choi has made some major critical commentaries on the policies and achievements of the government, to which Chosun Ilbo has given a lot of attention. One was the article The Weak Socioeconomic Basis of Korean Democracy (Korean) printed in Asea Yôn'gu late last year. After that, a Chosun reporter wrote an entry "Professor Choi, we are sorry" in his blog (couldn't find the link now), as if now that Choi Jang-jip criticized the Roh government, it was time to make an apology for the earlier ideological attack.

Now a new collection of writings from Choi Jang-jip is to be published under the title "Labor in Crisis" (Wigiûi nodong), from which Yonhap (via Chosun Ilbo) has given attention to an article in the book, in which Choi criticizes the all too non-existent achievements in labor and welfare policies.

(It should be noted that not only Chosun gave space to Choi's views; the same Yonhap piece was also in the first page of Ohmynews, if I remember correctly.)

Sanghwal (商活)

An important part in raising the social consciousness of university students at least since the 1980s has been the so-called nonghwal, shortened from nongch'on hwaltong, "agricultural village service", in which students go to villages to learn about real life, real work, and authentic Koreanness, while raising the political and social consciousness of the farmers.

I propose a new scheme: sanghwal (商活), short of... sangôp hwaltong, in which students would toil with keepers of small businesses to learn what it is to worry about the income, about the education of children when the mother needs to be tending the shop, about staying at the shop for the most of the waking hours.

But actually the life of a small business keeper should be more familiar to students than that of a farmer, as the former are so much more numerous than the latter. The sanghwal would be an alternative for students from professional or salaried middle-class homes.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

노동자여 단결하라

Kyunghyang Sinmun borrows the research of Labor Ministry to tell that the wage differential between big and small companies is the highest since the survey-taking began in 1999.
The wage level in companies with 500+ employees is slightly double than that in companies with 5-9 employees; if the level of the latter is set at 100, the former is at 202. That's a 5.5 increase from last year (197).

In the big companies the average monthly salary is 3.33 million W [€2500], and in the small companies 1.64 mil W [€1242].
Also the working hours have decreased more in big than in small companies. In all companies with 5 or more employees the monthly hours were 197, decrease of 1 hour from the year earlier. In big companies (500+ empl) the decrease was from 195 hours to 191.

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Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Use of dog meat as human food to stay outside of law

I guess this is my first note about dog meat, so it's about time.

Kyunghyang Sinmun tells of the government plans to tighten the regulations and prohibitions concerning the use of dog meat as food. Control of some practices is supposed to become more severe, and dog meat will be not included among the kinds of meat recognized as human food, but the authorities are also aware that the legislation is not going to end the use of dog meat as food.

Choi Suk-un: Dog Days / 최석운: 복날
Modern genre painting by Choi Suk-un, Pongnal (Dog Days, 복날). Linked from the homepage of the artist. Go especially to the gallery to see wonderful naivistic pictures; isn't that Korea!

The penalties for killing animals in the street or other public places and killing animals in a cruel way such as hanging by the neck in the animal protection law will become more severe: from the fine of at most 200 000 won to up to 6 months in the joint or fines up to 2 million W. (What this law is for should be quite evident.) Even though dog meat is not included among kinds of meat to be used legally for human consumption, the Ministry of Health and Welfare will strengthen the control of dog meat restaurants to prevent the circulation of meat from sick animals, test animals or of animals which contain heavy metals (chunggûmsok). The establishments caught in the control will be reported to the law authorities in addition to administrative measures.

So it means that as long as healthy animals are slaughtered and circulated properly and hygienically, the authorities are not interested whether people eat dog meat or not. Sounds like an appropriate attitude, especially if the government is afraid of protests from both domestic and overseas animal protection groups if it was to formally legalize the use of dog meat as food, as Kyunghyang thinks.

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Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Household register (hojeok)

(Updated, March 9 ; this note has been thoroughly revised since I originally posted it on Tuesday, March 8; Infidel's comments made me do a bit more reading and correct and revise several points below.)

Oranckay used the title "End of Joseon" to note the renewed family which will abolish the household head system (hojuje) and household register (hojôk) by 2008. The question of the origin of the hojôk system was raised in the comments, where I was too vain to write a long reply, and make a note on the issue myself after some small browsing.
Here's my previous entry on the new legislation, summarizing the changes.

Household register from the turn of 20th c (linked from the National Archives & Records Service
It was suggested that the system now to be abolished was established during the Japanese occupation/colonial era, and in fact it seems that the ROK family (or household) register is much a product of that era.

The old status system with the yangban privileges was abolished in the Kabo (1894) reforms, and that brought about many changes. I remember one history professor (Huh Dong-hyun of Kyunghee U) mentioning that at that time some half of Koreans did not have a surname. Cho Eun mentions in her article on the family structure in Seoul at the turn of the 20th century (한말 서울의 가족 구조, in <한국 근현대 가족 재조명>, 文學과 知性社 1993) that after the status system was abolished, the Korean government instituted a new hojôk system in 1896, after which a national census was taken. (Just citing a printed article instead of an online source must make this note much more authoritative, mustn't it?) A household head (hoju 戶主) was designated, and his name, age, occupation, surname origin (pon'gwan) and "four ancestors" (sajo 四祖) registered; along with the hoju, the name, age and relation to the household head of the coresiding family members were recorded, as well as other coresiding persons (Cho's article).

I don't know how much the new system of the 1890s followed the Japanese example, but most likely to some degree, as the Kabo reforms were done at the urging and insistence of the Japanese. The Japanese made several changes on the registering laws during the colonial era, and it seems that the Japanese imprint on the present legislation is strong, especially the designation of a hoju (戶主) or household head and the character of the hojôk as a document of defining the relation of the household members to the household head. Also the change from a residential base of the record to a family unit defined in legal terms stems from the Japanese colonial legislation. (Minjôkpôp 民籍法 was instituted by the Japanese in 1909, and "Korean Family Register Ordinance" [Chosôn hojôngnyông] in 1922.)

The Chosôn/Joseon era household register system was named hojôk as well. It was surely also a method to control the population and keep the status groups separated, and the Chosôn state needed taxes, for which people, those who were taxed, needed to be registered. The modern state of Japan, intending to make Koreans into subjects of the emperor ordered in well-defined families, could extend its control over the population and put people in registers much more effectively than Chosôn Korea... From James Palais' Confucian Statecraft and Korean Institutions one can see that at several periods during Chosôn, there was a shortage of registered adult commoner males because so many had wanted to escape registering due to oppressive taxation and had been successful in it. Was the Japanese system instituted in Korea more oppressive and intended for internal control than the one in Japan itself (except for being put upon Koreans by the colonial power), or was it similar in form and enforcement?

When the "modern" hojeok system was instituted and all the population began to be "surnamed" in Korea was by the way the also the time when surnames began to be used in Finland also in the western part of the country; only the name law of 1921 made it compulsory to have a family name.

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Manslaughter for disagreements over term of address

Every now and then there are news from Korea which show the perils of the subtleties of language use; in the best case disagreements over the use of speech levels or terms of address end up in non-physical arguments, in the worst someone dies. According to this Yonhap piece (via Chosun Ilbo), a man got so enraged in a drunken state for being called "older brother" (hyông) by his village junior who normally had been addressing him as "uncle" (ajôssi) that he ended up killing him after a long fight. Mr Kang, aged 65, was having drinks with Mr Pak (49), who lived in the same village in Nonsan, Southern Chungcheon. Mr Pak, who had thus far been addressing Mr Kang as ajôssi, made the mistake of using the term hyông, which enraged Mr Kang. The fight which broke out lasted for forty minutes, and Mr Pak died after being hit with a "blunt weapon" (tun'gi) several times.

Age difference of 16 years; is that too much to warrant the use of hyông between acquaintances close enough? Neither does it make one generation, but that's not needed for the use of ajôssi either. And the differences between villages and cities; I'm not familiar with what's appropriate in villages, but in the cities I'd think that one would not object to being called something else than ajôssi . (But in the cities the variety of terms available is much larger.) Perhaps there was something else as well besides the issue of term of address.

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Monday, March 07, 2005

small business franchise infomercials

It's been a long time since I've paid attention to the infomercial kind of articles which often appear in newspapers (or at least in the online versions), presenting successful cases of small businesses. More often than not, the cases belong to a franchise, which gets some good visibility. And the photographs accompanying the article almost without exception show the proprietor holding a piece of her or his product in hands. And taking a look at the homepage of the franchise, the article that's mentioned the company is given good visibility. (Which reminds me of a banner of a restaurant that was shown in an Ohmynews article long time ago: This restaurant has not appeared in television and will not do so, or something.)

This one is in Chosun Ilbo, which prints these quite often.

Mr Kim opened a possam restaurant after resignation from his salaryman post in a Japanese trading company in 1998. (The timing makes one inevitably think that his resignation had a lot to do with the economic crisis of the time.) He opened a PC room with his wife, but operating it 24 hours a day was a bit of a burden, so after 1.5 years they decided to change to another kind of business.
Mr Kim decided to open a restaurant. "I did not have professional skills (chônmun chisik) on food, but I trusted my managerial skills after 22 years in a foreign conglomerate." "Finally I settled for a franchise because that guarantees a unform taste of food, and after that the rest was up to me."
The next question was the type of business. The Kims went to more than 30 business opening lectures, and used 2-3 weeks to do market research for the 7 or 8 sites they were introduced by the franchise company. They surveyed the number of people moving aorund in the area (yudong in'gu), and estimated the economic level of the neighborhood by observing the clothing of the people in the streets.
Mr Kim's possam restaurant is not a small one: he's got 13 employees even though he opened the place as late as in 2003, and monthly sales are close to 100 million [75000€]. This means that he was able to invest quite a nice chunk of money in this place.

The other success story is a chicken (tak) place; originally it was a Japanese restaurant, which only was driving the proprietor into bankruptcy. The keeper, Mr Han, decided to "remodel" (the Korean term) his restaurant into a "fire chicken" (pultak) place, which has proved to be a viable business, giving him at the moment monthly sales of 70 mil W [53000€], of which 16-18 million is net profit (suniik).
He decided for a "fire chicken" place which was gaining in popularity at the time. In remodeling he paid attention to making a difference with the interior. The location is a small provincial town, and people often gather among schoolmates and workmates, so he made partitionings between tables, and has sofas as seats which would have the customers stay longer.

I'm not really sure what service this kind of infomercial articles serve except for the publicity for the companies introduced and for some pieces of info on business opening cases. Late last year Donga Ilbo wrote a serial about the current plight of small businesses, in which one discussed problem were the exaggerated expectations and unpreparedness of franchising businesses. Chosun Ilbo, which usually seems to get quite positive responses to its articles form its readers in the "100 character response" (100chap'yông), but this time the response was freezing, like this one:
이 기사보고 창업하겠다고 나서는 사람이야말로 어리버리한 사람이다.기자 역시 월급쟁인데 장사에 대해 알면 얼마나 알겠나? 기사 쓰겠다고 체인점 본사에 가서 물어보면 그중 장사 제일 잘되는 체인점의 일방적인 이야기만 듣고 기사 쓰는것 아니겠소. 또 '놀부보쌈과 불짱 본사에서 기자에게 점심값이라도 하라고 얼마간 "거마비"라도 먹인 냄새가 철철나는 기사다.(03/07/2005 02:40:34)

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Thursday, March 03, 2005

"clothing lobby" (vanity note, vanity googling) - and Andre Kim

Noticed that someone from the time zone UTC+9:00 had googled for "clothing lobby" Korea. One really gets a feeling of having contributed a piece of knowledge on Korea for the googlers and browsers when of the nine hits from such a search, seven point to my documents, either in this blog or at my homepage (of which some are the one and the same entry).

"Clothing lobby" refers, at least in the texts that I've produced, to the affair back in 1999 when a wife of an industrialist in legal trouble lobbied (or at least was alleged having lobbied) the wife of the chief prosecutor and some politicians, who in turn would have demanded that the expenses of her clothing shopping be taken care of. (I've forgotten most of the details.) Part of the scandal were the politicians' wives' shopping rounds for example to the boutique of André Kim; Mr Kim later had to testify, in which one of the painful things for him was having to use his real name Kim Bong-nam... That was quite a scandal anyway at the time, and it served to erode the authority of Kim Dae-jung's government quite a bit, even though the legal consequences for those involved in the affair did not amount to much in the end, if my memory serves me correct.

And now some pieces of local commentary on the issue from back then.

In a marketplace clothing shop:
It's quiet, no customers during the time I'm in the shop (a possible reason for that will come up later). The TV is broadcasting a session of parliamentary hearings about the so-called clothing lobby affair (ot lobi sakŏn), in which a wife of an industrialist is suspected of trying to buy favors for her husband by giving out expensive clothes to wives of ministers, and the latter are said to have demanded that the former pay their clothing shopping bill. – What's in the hearings worth watching, pol ke muŏ issŏyo? – Nothing special, they are just denying that they would have done anything wrong… before the IMF (economic crisis) this would not have been much, but now that there are so many people who are having a hard time… that's more of a high-class thing… – Doesn't concern one's own life much? – Yes. (the friend) – They are all thieves (rich and powerful people)…
In a neighborhood supermarket:
She has been watching the clothing lobby affair hearings. They tell only lies (in the hearings)… When they get to power they become all like that… the woman in this picture, the wife of the former minister of justice has received clothes worth of 100 million won according to a newspaper.

A report by Hankyoreh21 on the affair from December 1999


For some yet unexplained reason, Oranckay had a note of the same topic the very same day, only that he started from the news about the recent designing exploits of André Kim, which made him recollect the "clothing lobby" hearings of '99.

To enliven my memory, I might try to present the outlines of the clothing lobby scandal, which had too many twists to stay fresh in my mind.

It all started with the murky dealings of the head of Shindonga group Ch'oe Sun-yông (Choi Soon-young?). The head of a company belonging to the group who had managed Choi's secret funds (비자금) tried to blackmail his boss about illegal transfer of funds to abroad. The man was arrested, but the prosecutor also got aware of the secret funds and money transfers. The prosecutor wanted to delay the investigation because Shindonga was expected to get a huge foreign investment - it was the "IMF time" back then - but could not due to pressure from civic groups.

Women involved in the "clothing lobby scandal" giving testimony
Mr Choi's wife Yi Hyông-ja wouldn't stand still but contacted the wife of the then chief prosecutor Kim T'ae-jông, Yôn Chông-hûi and some other wives of men of high position, through the proprietor of "La Sposa" (라스포사) Chông Il-sun. The husband of Mrs Yi was arrested anyway, and now Mrs Yi opened her mouth, and claimed that Mrs Yôn had actually demanded that clothes be bought to her.

Mrs Yi was charged in court for giving a false testimony (perjury? wijûng 僞證) in the parliamentary hearings, but she was acquitted (man this legalese is difficult) from charges finally in 2002.

The above is from a recent Chosun Ilbo article from Jan 25, 2005 which tells that the former Shindonga head Choi had been given a seven-year sentence for illegal transfer of funds abroad and for giving an illegal loan to a group-affiliated company.

The women who ended up involved in the affair had originally became acquainted in associations and informal gatherings to which high-class women took part, like "Wednesday Volunteering" (Suyobongsahoe), Ewha University Charity Bazaar and "Low Fence Club" (Najûn Ult'arihoe).

Here is also a good description of the scandal in Korean.

앙드레 김 / André KimAnd about André Kim and the parliamentary clothing lobby hearings; it was said that the only thing which was revealed in the hearings was his real name, Kim Bong-nam. His appearance in the hearings also received most attention (which surely suited the others). But unlike what I wrote above, Andre Kim claimed in this long Shindonga Monthly piece from October 1999 that he has never felt ashamed of his real name and that he has always revealed that name ("bird bong 鳳, man nam 男) to newspaper and magazine interviewers. Also the writer of the Sindonga article tells so. (The Sindonga Monthly is not affiliated with the group of the same name, but belongs to the Donga Ilbo circle.)

André Kim in a fashion show in Bando Hotel in Seoul in late 1950s
André Kim appearing as a wedding fashion model in a fashion show in Bando Hotel in Seoul in late 1950s
The following is André Kim being questioned by none other than representative Chung Hyung-keun (Chông Hyông-gûn), who surely is using his more lenient questioning methods (from the same Sindonga article).
Rep. Chung: Mr Kim Bong-nam!
Kim Bong-nam: Yes.
Rep Chung: What is your age at the moment?
Kim Bong-nam: I was born in 1935.
Rep Chung: How did you get the name 'André Kim'?
Kim Bong-nam: When I was studying design in the 1960s, a diplomat from the French embassy recommended that in order to become a world-class (segyejôk) designer I should use a name like 'André' instead of my Korean name. So I became André Kim.
Rep Chung: That was a good decision (chal hasyôssûmnida). So, on December 16, Yôn Chông-hûi came to your boutique, Mr André Kim?

But that's not all there's to tell about the names of André Kim. The Sindonga tells further that in the 1960s he used the name Kim Sông-jin. That's how he registered himself in the educational facility where he studied clothes back then. Things had not been going well for him, so his mother thought that perhaps the name Bong-nam was bad, so she gave him the name Kim Sông-jin. He nevertheless did not become comfortable with that name, and as he was suggested the name André Kim, and with the opening of the boutique (or salon) by that name, he's been known that way ever since.

Update, October 11, 2006

Here are two newsreels of Andre Kim fashion shows from the 1960s.
This one presents summer clothes (link to the page at mncast.com)
(Via Ainslie Days)

This one presents winter clothes (chasôn ûisang palp'yohoe) (link to the page at mncast.com).

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Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Household head system will be history

It may have been interesting for us anthros and other observers of Korean society and culture that the South Korean law on registering individual people and defining the family membership and movement of people at the time of marriage has so closely followed the traditional notions of what constitutes a family and what happenes to the women at the time of marriage, but for example for a child of a divorced woman at the custody of her mother that has meant being formally registered as a "coresiding person" (tonggôin) instead of as an offspring.
But now the new civil code (minpôp) has been passed in the parliament (Hankyoreh), and that will bring about big changes in how individuals are put in registers. The revised civil law will be put in effect in 2008. I'll summarize the changes from the Hankyoreh piece.

• Household head (hoju 戶主) and household register (hojôk 戶籍) disappear, and each person is registered individually at birth
• Person's birth, marriage, adoption, spouse, children's names and citizen numbers are registered; data on parents will not be registered
• The preservation of ponjôk (本積), one's family of origin, is being negotiated; according to the draft of the Ministry of Justice, the couple could agree on a shared ponjôk, or have each their own.
• The maintenance of chokpo (or jokbo 族譜), genealogy, is up to the lineage s (munjung 問中) and lineage associations
• By definition, children are given the father's family name, but at the time of birth registration, mother's name can be given when the couple wishes so, but it cannot be changed later unless certain criminal cases concerning the father
• In the case of remarriage, children may change to the surname of their mother's new husband after approval from family court
• In legal terms, woman is not transferred to her husband's family (siga 媤家), but the marriage is shown in the registers of the both individuals in a similar way. Children are also registered in both the mother's and the father's registers.
• Divorce is registered only in the person's own register. [This issue is taken up because now the individual's personal register will not reveal this potential source of social stigma and discrimination in the job market and so on.]
• Also in the case of divorce, parenthood will be recognized in the register [so there will be no "coresiding person" relations between mother and child].
• A married man's offspring out of an extramarital relationship: in the hoju system they were registered in the man's household (ka 家) without officially recognizing the mother; now the mother will be registered, and if agreed, the children can be given the mother's surname or be registered as the father's children. In case of disagreement, the matter will be settled in the family court.
• Adoption; a couple with at least a three years' marriage will have their adopted child registered as their "real" child (ch'insaengja 親生子). The info on the adopted child's real mother and father is in a government-operated database. (These details are still being worked out, but seems that people are putting effort to alleviate the problem of domestic adoption with legislation.)

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