From foreign bride to ‘Korean’ mother: Managing feelings in modern South Korean marriages

Amalya Layla Ashman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapterpeer-review


This chapter considers how contemporary government policy has shaped the experiences of female marriage migrants to South Korea by projecting gender stereotypes and emotional expectations, more at home in the colonial era (1910–1945), to promote the ‘suffering Korean mother’ as an ideal expression of love in marriage. The chapter traces the discourse on love in modern South Korean history, beginning with the public debate on jayu yŏnae (free love) and jayu kyŏlhon (free marriage) in the 1920s. It argues that the government’s bureaucratic intervention today into the private lives of its citizens is an extension of neo-Confucian clan authority, which reveals a continuation of conservative values diminishing romantic love (sarang) in marriages in favour of affection (chŏng) and suffering (chŏnghan).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCourtship, Marriage and Marriage Breakdown
Subtitle of host publicationApproaches from the History of Emotion
EditorsKatie Barclay, Jeffrey Meek, Andrea Thomson
Place of PublicationNew York
ISBN (Electronic)9780367824228
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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