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The Chosŏn Monarchy in Republican Korea, 1945–1965

  • Christine Kim
Part of the Palgrave Macmillan Memory Studies book series (PMMS)

Abstract

In November 1963 Yi Ŭn, heir to a throne that had ceased to function at the turn of the century, returned to Korea to die on his native soil. Nominally the head of the defunct Chosŏn (1392-1910) dynastic line, Yi had been taken to Tokyo as a child and given a modern education by colonial authorities, but had not been allowed to set foot on the peninsula since his anointment by the Japanese government in 1926. By the time of his final return, almost two decades had passed since Korea’s liberation from Japanese colonial rule. Yet despite the terminal fate of the dynasty and his long absence, Yi, in his lifetime, continued to be referred to publicly by his formal title, Prince Yŏng (Yŏng ch’inwang). His long-delayed homecoming in 1963 had the aura of a state function that included a motorcade and welcoming crowds who lined the procession from the airport to the hospital. Whether it was curiosity or nostalgic sentiment that had brought out the public, the appearance of several thousand spectators on the roadside wildly waving the t’aegŭkki, the national flag, suggests, if not a lingering sense of loyalty to the ancien regime, at least an identification of the throne as a symbol of Korean identity.

Keywords

Japanese Government Colonial Period Korean Immigrant Privy Council Occupation Authority 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Christine Kim 2010

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  • Christine Kim

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