『대한매일신보』 논설의 신학문 교육론에 반영된 전통 인식
Examined in this article, is earlier people’s view of traditional education and culture, which is well reflected in the editorials for education published through the Dae’han Mae’il Shin’bo (The Korea Daily News) around the time of the Eulsa-Year Treaty (1904-1906). The reason for this examination is to find out how Korean people’s modern perspective upon traditions actually formed in a time when Japan was violating Korean sovereignty step by step and the intellectuals’ enlightenment movement was picking up speed and when Korean culture was making more and more contact with Western Civilization daily. To the authors of the editorials examined here, who argued that Koreans should engage in new academic studies in order to found a ‘civilized’ independent country, the traditions and reality of Korea were very negative things. But to be absolutely specific, this criticism was actually within the trend of the time itself, which tended to pursue superficial aspects of traditional academicism, and therefore failed to adapt to the continuously shifting new environment. The editorial authors believed that there were still many terms in which traditional academicism could contribute to the foundation of a civilized and independent new country for the Korean people. They believed that not only the new studies that came from the outside, but also studies from traditional academicism, should be taught in schools, albeit in a condensed and modified form. They were fairly critical of the present reality of Korea, which was being subjected to Japanese imperialism due to Korea’s weak state, but they were also proud of Korea’s past culture. And while considering the officials of the Dae’han Imperial government extremely incompetent, they had faith in the Koreans’ general talents and inherent capabilities. They argued that with the individuals’ capability enhanced through education, a civilized country could be established, and the sovereignty of the country would be restored. The authors’ negative perception of the value of traditional studies and their pride in past culture laid the foundation of the future for which they emphasized the importance of the “Korean Spirit.” And from the belief that individuals’ enhanced capability could lead Korea to civilization and sovereignty, we can see that the enlightenment movement aiming for sovereignty restoration must have played an instrumental part in weakening the traditional consciousness of social classes.