Transformation of the Concept of Kyoyang (Self-Cultivation) in Korean Print Media, 1896–1936

in Contributions to the History of Concepts
Ah-reum Kim Center for Language Learning, Hokkaido University, Japan

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The Korean concept of kyoyang (self-cultivation) conceives different layers of meaning corresponding to the enlightenment and reform project in the early modern and colonial periods of Korean society. This article traces the historical trajectory of kyoyang published in Korean vernacular magazines and newspapers by Korean reformists, the main media intellectuals who appropriated Japanese and Western ideas of enlightenment, nationalism, and culturalism. It reveals the way the reformist media intellectuals employed kyoyang to define the nature of modern print media while simultaneously transforming the concept, providing resources for enlightening the populace. Accordingly, kyoyang, once assumed by a few literary men under the influence of Neo-Confucianism, was shifted to encompass the commoners, envisioning the enlightened national subjects who embody contradictory qualities.

Contributor Notes

Ah-reum Kim is an adjunct lecturer in Center for Language Learning at Hokkaido University and PhD Candidate in Interdisciplinary Information Studies at The University of Tokyo. ORCID ID Email:

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