초록 close

The Korean word haengbok 행복 (幸福in Chinese characters), meaning “happiness,” was newly coined during the state’s modern times. Haengbok and its rival terms hyangbok 향복 (享福in Chinese characters), meaning “bliss,” began to appear in usage from the Gabo Reform and was used sporadically, yet never established a clear usage nor acquired popularity among people until a turning point in 1910. Until then, haengbok had been mainly a statist term and rarely used in an individualized or private way, but in the 1910s, became popularly used, being associated with private intimacy differentiated from the public sphere on the one hand and with pleasure separated from labor and daily routine on the other hand. The colonial power of the 1910s and its media, the Maeil sinbo (Daily News), played a special role in the course of isolation and privatization of happiness in Korea. Colonial happiness began to be reappropriated in the midst of overwhelming new values such as freedom, justice, and humanity upheld in the March First Independence Movement of 1919, and during the early 1920s, it was widely used as a public and dynamic concept. The concept of happiness then took the path of introspection and privatization, and in this latter course there was no attempt to engage in active discourse on its individualization.