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Rules of the House: Family Law and Domestic Disputes in Colonial Korea

From the publisher’s website:

A free ebook version of this title is available through Luminos, University of California Press’s Open Access publishing program for monographs. Visit to learn more.

Rules of the House offers a dynamic revisionist account of the Japanese colonial rule of Korea (1910–1945) by examining the roles of women in the civil courts. Challenging the dominant view that women were victimized by the Japanese family laws and its patriarchal biases, Sungyun Lim argues that Korean women had to struggle equally against Korean patriarchal interests. Moreover, women were not passive victims; instead, they proactively struggled to expand their rights by participating in the Japanese colonial legal system. In turn, the Japanese doctrine of promoting progressive legal rights would prove advantageous to them. Following female plaintiffs and their civil disputes from the precolonial Choson dynasty through colonial times and into postcolonial reforms, this book presents a new and groundbreaking story about Korean women’s legal struggles, revealing their surprising collaborative relationship with the colonial state.

Sungyun Lim is Assistant Professor of Modern Korean and Japanese History at the University of Colorado Boulder


1. Widows on the Margins of the Family
2. Widowed Household Heads and the New Boundary of the Family
3. Arguing for Daughters’ Inheritance Rights
4. Conjugal Love and Conjugal Family on Trial
5. Consolidating the Household across the 1945 Divide

Entry on here.

* Where the book is available from a number of sources, they are prioritised as follows: (1) Amazon UK site, or for the more recent uploads (2) Amazon US site (3) Other sites in US or Europe, including second-hand outlets (4) LTI Korea, where the title is advertised as available from there (5) Onlines stores in Korea. Links to and Amazon UK site contain an affiliate code which, should you make a purchase, gives a small commission to LKL at no additional cost to you.