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A Study on the Relationship between the Novels of Yi Hae-jo and Jinguqiguan — Focusing on “Wolhagain”

  • Journal of Humanities, Seoul National University
  • 2017, 74(1), pp.11-33
  • DOI : 10.17326/jhsnu.74.1.201702.11
  • Publisher : Institute of Humanities, Seoul National University
  • Research Area : Humanities > Other Humanities
  • Received : January 9, 2017
  • Accepted : February 2, 2017
  • Published : February 28, 2017

Kim, Jonguck 1

1서울대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Published in Maeilshinbo, Yi Hae-jo’s “Wolhagain” is a Sinsoseol that was well received by its readers. This work is seen to have been the first of its kind to deal with the Mexican immigration of Koreans in 1905. The reason why Yi Hae-jo chose the issue of Mexican immigration was to use social interest to draw public attention. At the time that this series was being published, Maeilshinbo often published articles on the Mexican civil war, which was regarded as the first revolution of the 20th century. Since Yi Hae-jo did not intend to reproduce the historical events of the present day, it is easy to find points in “Wolhagain” where the process of immigration and return by the protagonist does not correspond to historical facts. In addition, it denies the legitimacy of the Peasants’ War of 1894 and distorts the political reality of the Korean Empire, which was faced with the crisis of colonization. What is interesting about “Wolhagain” is that it borrows the narrative of the Chinese Jinguqiguan in order to bring about the readers’ response. In the case of Yi Hae-jo’s early works, the whole narrative skeleton was borrowed directly from Jinguqiguan. From around 1910, however, historical events came to be placed at the fore of the narrative, and focus was put on concealing the influence of the Jinguqiguan. On the surface, the intention was to cater to the curiosity of the readers by dealing with the events that attracted the attention of the time. This narrative strategy of narratives is not only deeply connected with the popularization project of Maeilshinbo but also shows the attitude of justifying the colonial order in the process of interpreting historical events.

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