The Journal of Society for Dance Documentation & History

pISSN: 2383-5214 /eISSN: 2733-4279


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The Political Implications of the Royal Rites and the 50th Birthday Party in the Reign of Yunghee Emperor 융희황제 재위 시 황실의례의 정치적 의미와 오순탄신 거동 ×
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ISSN : 2383-5214(Print)
ISSN : 2733-4279(Online)
Asian Dance Journal Vol.42 pp.37-58
DOI : 10.26861/sddh.2016.42.37

융희황제 재위 시 황실의례의 정치적 의미와 오순탄신 거동

The Political Implications of the Royal Rites and the 50th Birthday Party in the Reign of Yunghee Emperor


Nah, Jeongwon


To Japanese colonialists, scholars, and common Koreans influenced by and educated through the Japanese colonial historical perspective, Kwangmoo and Yunghee Emperor were powerless, impotent monarchs in the face of the Japanese forces. This kind of estimation corresponds exactly to that of the Daehan Empire under Japanese colonialism, which intentionally negated the positive role of these two emperors. However, we have to reconsider and re-evaluate this estimation. We can pose two political statuses, namely those of an “instrument of Japanese colonial domination” (Instrument) and a “symbol of anti-colonial resistance” (Symbol). Yunghee Emperor became a new emperor of the Daehan Empire under the Japanese in the era of the Residency-General, and played the role of Instrument to his death by the Japanese powers, who tried to use this emperor and the Royal Chamber itself. Paradoxically, and regardless of the Japanese intention, Yunghee also played the role of Symbol to oppressed common Koreans. We can confirm this role in the Royal South Tour and the Royal West Tour in 1907, as well as the Royal Tomb Tour in 1917. In the Royal Dance and Music for his 50th Birthday Party, the Instrumental meaning was greater than the Symbolic meaning due the Japanese Government General’s ability to distort these two art forms. It is a general estimation that Yunghee’s political status was that of an Instrument rather than a Symbol in the eras of both the Residency-General and the Government General. The Instrument status is practical, positive, and general, whereas the Symbol status is symbolic, negative, and partial. To the Japanese colonialists, Yunghee was an Instrument, and his status as a Symbol was permitted to a limited extent for common Koreans. However, we can deepen this Symbolic role through the further research.

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