S-Space Kyujanggak Institute for Korean Studies (규장각한국학연구원) Korean Culture (한국문화) Korean Culture (한국문화) vol.85/88(2019)
‘개화와 수구’는 언제 일어났는가?
A study on the historical appearance of ‘Gaehwa[開化] and Sugu[守舊]’ around the end of the Joseon dynasty
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 규장각한국학연구원
- 한국문화, Vol.87, pp. 345-394
- 개화; 수구; 갑오개혁; 대한제국; 개념사; Gaehwa[開化]; Sugu[守舊]; Gabo[甲午] Reform; Great Han Empire; conceptual history
- This paper is to examine the historical concept of ‘Gaehwa[開化] and Sugu[守舊]’ in the modern Korea. Gaehwa, generally accepted as the synonym for ‘enlightenment’, had been long considered to indicate the modern transformation of the traditional Korea, while Sugu, literally meaning ‘conservativeness’, actually acquiring the historical meaning in the context of the opposition to Gaehwa. In this point, ‘Gaehwa and Sugu’ was the representative term on the controversial attitude to the modernization of the Joseon Korea. The political conflict and collision between Gaehwa and Sugu from the year of 1876(Port-opening to Japan) till the year of 1894(Gabo Reform) was regarded as the important topic to understand the Korean modernization in the Korean textbooks on Korean history.
However, there can be found no evidence for this kind of conventional notion in the Korean chronicle as Silok[實錄] and the daily records of the government office SeungJeongWeon[承政院]. The semantic order of compound terms in them that include ‘Gaehwa’ and ‘Sugu’ makes it clear that the year of 1894 was not the ending but the beginning of the historical appearance of ‘Gaehwa’ and ‘Sugu’. Gaehwa was identified to Gabo Reform and Sugu to the reaction to it. In process of the political upheaval of Gabo Reform Gaehwa and Sugu confronted each other in hostility as the action and reaction of the Reform. As the result, Gaehwa and Sugu became the notion of ‘Gaehwa and Sugu’ for the first time, affecting political and historical viewpoints on the Korea’s past and present in Great Han Empire period. In conclusion, ‘Gaehwa[開化] and Sugu[守舊]’ should be thought to be the Korean historical phenomenon caused by Gabo Reform.