Sokendai Review of Cultural and Social Studies


About the concept of
“Sesi-Pungsok(Seasonal customs)”
in Korean folklore:
for history of trance-national folklore

Kazuyo, OISHI

(Graduate school of Human-Environment Studies, Kyushu University)

Key words:


After 1990s, critiques for national bounded folklore and trance-national ethnographies have emerged. In studies of folklore history, research of trance-national folklore has emulated. Especially, research of relationship of Korean folklore and Japanese colonialism has deepened. But examination of succession and discontinuation of colonial folklore and post colonial folklore, and relation of Japanese folklore and Korean folklore has not done enough.

This essay explore the process of establishment of Korean folklore and relationship of Japan by search the formation of concept “Sesi-Pungsok(Seasonal customs)” in Korea.

The process of formation and break of the concept of “Sesi-Pungsok” is as follows.

In the era of late Joseon Dynasty, under the crisis of nation for colonization, Korean intellectuals began to try to identify national culture. In this age, they began to pay attention to Korean Seasonal customs. But this attempt was interrupted by Japanese colonial government. The theoretical and systematical research for Seasonal customs has begun after 1920s. And until now theoretical and systematical approaches to seasonal customs processed three stages.

The first stage is about 1930s that Korean folklore became active. Seasonal customs were of traditional concern by Korean nationalist and colonial government. And Korean seasonal customs were wrote “Nenchu-gyoji” in Japanese by government officials. In this era dualistic discourses of modern/traditional were established.

The second stage is the era of begins of cultural policy of Park ChungHee president. Korean folklore was expected to construct national identity by the government. The ethnographical nation-wide research started in 1968. In this time survey items of “Sesi-Pungsok” was added. And the objects of survey were traditional one. So under the dualistic discourse, the objects of survey were limited. And the same time the concept of “Nenchu-gyoji” in Japanese folklore has introduced to Korean folklore.

The establishment of Korean folklore was attained 1) to research the part of traditional part of modern/traditional dualistic discourse, and the part of “Hanguk(Korea)” in geographical area. 2) to do field work, and 3) to survey and classify total of Korean traditional life by administrative division and folkloristic systems.

There is two reasons to refer to the Japanese concept. 1) In colonial era modern/traditional dualistic discourse and folklore term “Nenchu-gyoji” and technology of research was established to correspond to geographical area of Korean Peninsula. 2) To make the discourses of nation-state it was useful to recycle colonial discourses and technologies of research.

Now is the are of the third step after 1990s. For the governmental support in Kim Dae-joong cultural policy, “Sesi-Pungsok” researches have developed, but elaboration of folklore research make difficult to modern/traditional discourse to correspond to national discourse. This brings reconsideration of “Sesi-Pungsok”.