S-Space Kyujanggak Institute for Korean Studies (규장각한국학연구원) Korean Culture (한국문화) Korean Culture (한국문화) vol.40 (2007)
일제하 ‘조선왕실’의 지위와 이왕직의 기능
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 규장각한국학연구원
- 한국문화, Vol.40, pp. 315-342
- With the outbreak of Russo-Japanese Wars in 1904, Japan continued to promise Korea that they would guarantee the preservation of royal-family and territory to make Korea their alliance since ‘Korea-Japan Protocol". However, it just proved a diplomatic rhetoric, since there were no clauses on the territory preservation in coerced ‘Eulsa Treaty" of 1905, and with ‘Annexation Treaty" of 1910, Korea became a colony of Japan.
After annexing Korea, Japan announced the status of Royal-Family of Daehan Empire(大韓帝國 皇室) through a royal rescript of an emperor. Japan changed the title of the Emperor Sunjong(純宗) into Yi King(李王), the former Emperor Gojong(高宗) into Yi Grand King(李太王), and the Crown prince(皇太子) into prince(王世子). In addition, they were described as ‘Royal-Family(王族)", and Uichinwang(義親王) and Heungchinwang(興親王) as ‘Pseudo Royal-Family(公族)". It meant that with the change of the name of a country into Joseon, the Royal-Family of Daehan Empire was degraded into ‘Royal-Family of Joseon(朝鮮王室)" or ‘Yi Royal-Family(李王家)" which had to be installed by a Japanese Emperor. While it seemed that Royal-Family of Daehan Empire was incorporated into the collateral line of a Japanese royal family, the truth was that they were given a separate title, since Royal-Family and Pseudo Royal-Family of Joseon were highly different from the Royal-Family of Japan(皇族; Kojoku). Even though the high officials of Korea were granted the title of aristocracy of Joseon(朝鮮貴族), they were just the aristocrats of Joseon different from those of Japan(華族; Kajoku). It meant that Japan seemingly pronounced the assimilation policy towards Joseon, but in actuality, they assumed discriminatory policy against Joseon.
In February of 1911, Office of Yi Royal-Family(李王職) was installed as an organization to handle the affairs related to Yi Royal-Family. This organization was descended from Gungnaebu(宮內府) of Daehan Empire which took charge of the affairs of Emperor family. The Gungnaebu of Daehan Empire took charge of many fields of royal and national affairs and thus the size was enormous. However, Office of Yi Royal-Family was forced to be reduced significantly. Furthermore, the death of Yi Grand King in 1919 and the death of Yi King in 1926 triggered the accelerated speed of reduction of the office. Thus, the office lost even the most important role of guarding royal-family, and the remaining role was just the management of royal tombs, zoo, botanical garden, and the museum. It was an example of stuffing Royal-Family of Joseon as a remain of history.