The Conflict between Feudalism and Modernism: Position of Females in Taiwanese and Korean Novels during Japanese Occupation
Mal-Soon Choi(National Chung Cheng University Institute of Taiwanese Literature)
It is commonly believed that the 1920s was the beginning of modernization in Taiwan. The neo intellectuals back then generally believed that culturalism is the global trend after the World War I. They gave high importance to the trends of the time such as self-determination of nations, equality of rights between men and women, and labor-management cooperation, and at the same time, accepted the enlightenment spirit and modern values from the West to guide the general public to self-awakening. However, modernism, with core content of human rationality and historical advancement, had developed complex and multiple suppressions in equality of rights between men and women and female liberation issues as colonial capitalism was practiced and compounded by the remnant of feudalism in Taiwanese society.
Female issues revealed in Korean novels during the Japanese Occupation mainly came from the female discrimination in the traditional feudalism and was worsened by the exploitative nature of colonial capitalism. Females, at the bottom of the social strata back in that time, were subject to triple suppressions of ethnic, social class, and gender in a society composed of colonialists, capitalists, and males. Educated new women would find it extremely difficult if they wished to pursue ideas and dreams, explore themselves, or realize themselves in a family system that was confined to feudalistic gender discrimination and a society that was not mature nor open enough.
This Study has chosen Taiwanese and Korean novels published during Japanese Occupation to examine the female issues in the two countries under the same situation of Japanese colonial control. This Study begins its discussion in two directions of females at the bottom social strata and the new women, and explores the situation and experience of the females at the beginning of modernization in the two countries from perspectives of multiple relations such as the conflict between feudalism and modernism and the values brought by colonial capitalism.
Taiwanese and Korean literatures during Japanese Occupation, female novels, new women, females at the bottom of the social strat