When the modern household registration system was introduced to Korea by the Japanese in 1909, Korean Buddhist monks were smoothly incorporated into it. At the time, most monks might not have realized the tremendous change the modern household registration was bringing about: the beginning of secularization. In the early colonial period Korean monks were allowed to claim their disciples as adopted sons in household registers because the Japanese colonial government acknowledged this pseudo-family relationship in Korean monastic communities as conventional Korean Buddhist practice. When the household registration law was revised in 1915, however, the colonial government decided that monks would no longer be permitted to do this, with the revised law stating that only married men were able to adopt male heirs from patrilineal kin. As a result, Korean monks had to follow the colonial government’s instructions that focused on the creation of the ideal modern family for its colonial subjects. In short, the conflict between the Japanese colonial government’s civil law and Korean monks’ traditional understanding of the relationships between novice clerics and teachers catalyzed the transformation of Korean monks’ concept of the monastic family. As specific examples, this paper will examine the original and revised household registers of the monk Yu Poam of Kwijusa and the monk Yi Taeryŏn of Kŏnbongsa.


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pp. 45-82
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