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From Changgyeonggung to Changgyeongwon: The Spatial Appropriation of Changgyeonggung Palace during Japanese Colonial Rule of Korea and the Use of Yi Royal Household Museum as a Narrative Tool

Part 1 Dissertation 2022
Chaehyun Cho
Newcastle University | UK
Changgyeonggung, the former palace of the Joseon Yi dynasty, was converted into a pleasure ground while Korea was a protectorate of Japan in early 20th century. Japan then purposely used the palace to disseminate its colonial propaganda, even before its official annexation of Korea. Why did Japan appropriate this palace complex, what was its hidden intention? What did it mean to turn a venerated palace into a modern leisure facility?

This dissertation unpacks the different layers of Changgyeonggung’s appropriation and traces the charged colonial logic behind it. To unravel the various factors that informed this process, I draw inspiration from the already prolific humanities literature on the practices of seeing and framing in the Western colonial context and demonstrate how the authority asserted by the Japanese was contingent on controlling the gaze and shaping the views of the palace.

Next, I focus on the Yi Royal Household Museum within Changgyeongwon. By examining tourist guides prepared for Japanese and foreign visitors, I reveal how the Japanese formed a narrative re-framing their colonial logic. My analysis of the visual and verbal discourses uncovers unexamined aspects of Japan’s "involvement" in restructuring Changgyeongwon, and the nature of its coercive relationship with Korea.

Chaehyun Cho

Christos Kakalis
Zeynep Kezer
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