Graduation Year

2021

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

History

Reader 1

Samuel H. Yamashita

Reader 2

Albert L. Park

Abstract

This thesis assesses the effectiveness of government-run public school education—or public ordinary school education—in colonial Korea (1910–45). It accomplishes this task in three steps. First, it shows how these academic institutions operated as controlled educational spaces designed to exercise power over Korean children. Second, it reveals the exact lessons embedded in the ordinary school curriculum by analyzing the major themes, morals, and stories in three language textbooks issued by the Governor General of Korea between 1915 and 1935. Lastly, it identifies and explains elements of colonial education in short stories written by Ch’ae Mansik (1902–50), Kim Yoo Jung (1908–37), and Yi Hyo Sŏk (1907–42). As former pupils of these academic institutions, all three authors consumed the same types of lessons outlined in step one, making them and their works perfect vehicles for showcasing the long-term effects of colonial education on Korean children. These short stories will represent both realist and proletarian literature, the two most prominent literary genres of the time, and reveal the larger socio-political climate of colonial Korea. This thesis is not meant to be a comprehensive work; it is a preliminary study that provides a new way to address the “consumption” issue—or the reception of colonial education by Korean students. I hope its main points and arguments will encourage others to explore different methods when investigating abstract topics like “consumption.”

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