Naebang-gasa: Song of the Inner Chambers

Naebang-gasa: Song of the Inner Chambers

Country  Republic of Korea
Repository  The Korean Studies Institute, 1997, Toegye-ro, Dosan-myeon, Andong-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do, Republic of Korea
Section  Other Documentary Heritage that Contributes to Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment
Gender Dimension  Achievements of women in history
GEM  GEM 1 – Gender Sensitive
Description  Naebang-gasa is a poetic genre written by Korean women from the 16th century onwards and mainly enjoyed by women in the Yeongnam region. Through Naebang-gasa women were able to document the reality of their lives and have their voices heard in a male dominated society. In its early stages, Naebang-gasa focused on spreading Confucian values to women (Gyenyeoga), but later developed into a form with a variety of subjects and refined rhymes.

In the 16th century writing was the preserve of the male yangban nobility who used classical Chinese characters and considered Hanguel (Korean script) to be inferior. The women used Hangeul to write Naebang-gasa which led to its use for meeting and communicating with each other. Hanguel became important for confirming women’s identity as important members of the family and the community. Ultimately the women’s use of Hanguel contributed to it gaining its status as the national script for the Korean language.

The Naebang-gasa are important documentary heritage for understanding the transition of Korea to a modern society. After Korea opened its ports to foreign trade, Naebang-gasa evolved to embrace diverse content, including lyrics reflecting national values and resistance to foreign powers.
Reference  - http://naebang-gasa.ugyo.net/en/index.do

- Photo credit: © The Korean Studies Institute
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