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Wrongful Deaths: Selected Inquest Records from Nineteenth-Century Korea

Editor: Sun Joo Kim and Jungwon Kim
Translated by: ,
Publisher: , 2014
Link to online store *

From the publisher’s website:

This collection presents and analyzes inquest records that tell the stories of ordinary Korean people under the Choson court (1392-1910). Extending the study of this period, usually limited to elites, into the realm of everyday life, each inquest record includes a detailed postmortem examination and features testimony from everyone directly or indirectly related to the incident. The result is an amazingly vivid, colloquial account of the vibrant, multifaceted sociocultural and legal culture of early modern Korea.

Sun Joo Kim is the Harvard-Yenching Professor of Korean History at Harvard University. Jungwon Kim is assistant professor of Korean history at Columbia University.


Introduction Choson Korea in Its Last Century

Case 1 An Adulterous Widower Meets a Violent Death
Yang Hang-nyon (P’yongyang, P’yongan Province, 1866)

Case 2 A Family Activist Confronts a Local Magnate
Ms. Pak (Yongin, Kyonggi Province, Late Eighteenth Century)

Case 3 A Defiant Slave Challenges His Master with Death
Yi Pong-dol (Anui, Kyongsang Province, 1842)

Case 4 Two Widows Fight
Madam Chang and Ms. Un (Yech’on, Kyongsang Province, 1842)

Case 5 A Heartless Wet Nurse Abuses an Infant
Mun Chong-ji (Chunghwa, P’yongan Province, 1866)

Case 6 A Widower Seeks Private Settlement
Ms. Chong (Yongch’on, Kyongsang Province, 1889)

Case 7 Adultery Leads to Murder
Ms. Paek (Anak, Hwanghae Province, 1897)

Case 8 An Illegal Burial Begets a Son but Kills a Relative
Kim Kap-san (Hoeyang, Kangwŏn Province, 1899)

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