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Na Hyesŏk: The “Korean Nora”

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Authors
Choi, Jung A; Kim, Han Sung
Issue Date
2019-12
Publisher
Kyujanggak Institute for Korean Studies, Seoul National University
Citation
Seoul Journal of Korean Studies, Vol.32 No.2, pp. 239-261
Keywords
Na Hyesŏksin yŏsŏngfirst-generation Korean Feminist ArtistKyŏnghŭ i“Inhyŏng ŭ i ka” (A doll’s house)Noraism
Abstract
Han Sung Kim Na Hyesŏk (1896–1948), the so-called “Korean Nora” of colonial Korea, challenged existing patriarchal conventions and tried to dismantle androcentric myths. In her poem, “A Doll’s Song” (1921), an adaptation from Henrik Ibsen’s play, A Doll’s House, she exclaims, “I have a divine duty, setting out on my mission to become a person.” Her feminism was a common theme among Korean new-age women and her task was one shared with Japanese new women artists. Japan and Korea’s new-age women had ideological ties, despite their political differences as constituents of empire and colony, a fact closely linked to the reception of “Nora” in East Asia. Korean international students in Tokyo learned and experienced Western culture via Japanese intellectuals and celebrated Ibsen’s “Nora” as a role model of modern individuality. For Korean male students, being a “Nora” implied having a sense of enlightenment both as a modern person and a colonial intellectual with an awareness of nationalistic boundaries.
However, Na Hyesŏk made it her priority to break with patriarchal ideology so that Korean female intellectuals could play a role equal to that of their male counterparts in modern Korean society.
ISSN
1225-0201
Language
English
URI
http://hdl.handle.net/10371/164879
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Kyujanggak Institute for Korean Studies (규장각한국학연구원)Seoul Journal of Korean StudiesSeoul Journal of Korean Studies vol.32 (2019)
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