Kisaeng is Female Entertainer on Goryeo and Joseon Dynasty era

Kisaeng is Female Entertainer on Goryeo and Joseon Dynasty era – Kisaeng designation, Gisaeng or ginyeo (기녀), is a woman who works as an entertainer in Korea at the time of the Goryeo Dynasty and Joseon Dynasty.

Kisaeng work to entertain the king and nobles. Thought to arise since the time of the Goryeo Dynasty, Kisaeng generally are entertainers who legalized the government, which also engage in many other occupations. Most kisaeng employed in the palace, the other and spread throughout the country.

Kisaeng trained rigorously and generally very proficient in the arts such as dance, painting, and poetry and rhyme. Even so they are often overlooked because of the low social status.

Kisaeng work in many fields besides entertaining, such as in the fields of medicine and sewing. In some cases, kisaeng also worked to help soldiers at a military center. Kisaeng in history and fiction, plays an important role in the traditional culture of Korea in the past.


History of Name Kisaeng

It is not clear beginning kisaeng history. Rarely books of ancient history who wrote a long explanation about kisaeng. Notes pertaining kisaeng can be found in the book of Goryeo-sa and the Annals of the Joseon Dynasty and folk tales handed down by word of mouth since the time of the Joseon Dynasty.

Some theories are investigating the origins kisaeng proposed by Dasan and Yi-ik, historian from the Joseon era. Kisaeng possibility Silla era begins when a group of talented women recruited into wonhwa (warriors) to fight.

There is also a second theory which states that kisaeng originated from the early days of the Goryeo Dynasty when many remnants of the Baekje displaced people throughout the country. It is unclear whether the nomadic way of life still practiced by community groups Baekje or because the country is not yet stable condition.

Taejo, the first king of Goryeo make this group of people as slaves because the government feared would compromise the security of the country. Although no remaining evidence is quite accurate, the possibility of the kisaeng emerge from this slave class.

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Social class of Kisaeng

Since the Goryeo and Joseon Dynasty, kisaeng Cheonmin classified into classes, the lowest class in society with the butchers and a slave. Social status is derived, so the children of kisaeng also is Cheonmin, and the daughter of kisaeng certainly will be kisaeng anyway.

Start Goryeo Dynasty, government offices in each district of the kisaeng store data for easy supervision. The same applies to the other slaves. Kisaeng only be free of its position if paid enough money to the government, it usually can only be done by rich patrons, mostly employees of government offices.

Many kisaeng very talented in making poetry and a number of written sijo kisaeng remaining. Their work often depicts the pain and breakup, similar to the theme of the poem written by scholars in exile. In addition, some works kisaeng most famous poems written to convince the nobles to spend the night together.

Sijo then known as poetry kisaeng, while noblewoman focuses on gasa works. Kisaeng employed in local government offices known as gwan-gi, with a distinguished status of another slave who was also employed at the palace. They are recorded separately on census data.

Kisaeng also considered to be located higher than the slaves even though they all went into class Cheonmin. Therefore, it is sometimes said to “have a body in the lower classes, but think like royalty.”

Career of a Kisaeng

Kisaeng career mostly very short, flat peak at age 16 or 17, and a few are above 22 years. Only a few kisaeng can be a career longer than that age. For that kisaeng received minimal training since the age of 8 years. All kisaeng, even that did not work as entertainers are required by law to retire at age 50.

The prospects are best in order kisaeng durable in his career was to become the wife of a high government officials. But for that, they should be freed first of their class, where only a few officials or employees in Joseon were able to spend enough money. After his career faded, the kisaeng most will work in taverns.

In the late Joseon period, the system established 3 levels. The highest level is owned by haengsu, singing and dancing at parties upper-class citizens.

Kisaeng haengsu not allowed to entertain until they are 30 years old. But they can also work in other fields such as making clothes and dispensing drugs to reach the age of 50 years. Haengsu generally work in the palace and called seonsang. They are also responsible for training new kisaeng-kisaeng in each district. Kisaeng lowest level is samsu. Samsu forbidden dances and sang songs by haengsu.

This system is like the class division of society of the Joseon Dynasty, collapsed at the end of the 19th century. During the period of his career, some kisaeng able to acquire considerable wealth. However, they must pay for their own food, clothing and cosmetics. ,

Become A Kisaeng

Women can be kisaeng in various ways, most is the daughter of kisaeng who inherited her mother’s status. Others were sold to gijeok by poor families who are not able to maintain their children.

They even this comes from Cheonmin class (slave), but sometimes there are also poor families with higher status to sell their children in this way. In some cases, even the aristocratic class women (yangban) will be kisaeng for violating the norms of politeness.

The Government took part in advancing education and culture, beginning with ratification gyobang training institutions or hermitage palace devoted music and dance training for kisaeng-new kisaeng (gwonbeon). This system is growing rapidly in the late Joseon period.

Pyongyang city is famous for schools of music and dance are the most qualified to the Japanese occupation where there are still some who continue to operate.

Everyday life of Kisaeng

As a slave government, the lives of the kisaeng very arranged. They are monitored by the officer carrying out the control and protection against them, called hojang.

Hojang monitor registration, ensuring that kisaeng not escape. Kisaeng must first notify you if there is a request entertaining hojang of nobility. Kisaeng required to follow the inspection 2 times a month and accompanying them officials who visited the district. They also have to report the activity of teaching music and dance.

Kisaeng highest leadership in each gyobang held by kisaeng haengsu. When there is a problem that occurs between a kisaeng with guests, or when a kisaeng accused of committing a crime, kisaeng haengsu usually to mediate to resolve the issue.

In addition, most kisaeng have gibu or “husband kisaeng”, which provides protection and economic support, as they buy their daily needs. Gibu generally are former soldiers of war or a palace servant.

Gibu increasingly emerged in the late Joseon period. Kisaeng settlement at the end of the Joseon period is usually located in the city center, market, or places with beautiful scenery that include garden and pool.

Role of Kisaeng in Politics and Diplomacy

Kisaeng play an important role in the politics of Joseon. They are hired to entertain guests from neighboring countries, as well as accompanying them when he was touring the country.

Because it often has a place of business or settlements in the city, kisaeng among those most knowledgeable about the information and critical events. Therefore, they are often a key source of information.

For example through information collected by kisaeng, the rebel army of Hong Gyeong-rae can easily seize the fort Jeongju in the 19th century. While many cities in Japan seized Korea during the Japanese invasion in the 16th century, kisaeng important role to collect information and entertain the general war.

One kisaeng named Non-gae will remember his courage to kill some of the leaders of the Japanese invasion. At the beginning of the 20th century, some kisaeng participate in Korea Kemeredekaan movement as a freedom fighter.

Kisaeng a home Daegu, Aengmu, known as a major contributor to the National Debt Repayment Movement in the early 20th century. About 50 people kisaeng Jinju origin have participated in the demonstration of March 1st Movement of 1919.

Modern Kisaeng

Very few homes or hermitage traditional kisaeng operating in Korea, because the perpetrator traditions and dances have been forgotten forever.

Some companies or business associations in South Korea sometimes invite foreign business partners to kisaeng home, but the place is not like in the ancient times, but with a more modern interpretation.

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1 Response

  1. December 1, 2015

    […] Read Also : Kisaeng is Female Entertainer on Goryeo and Joseon Dynasty era […]

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