Nahyeseok Street, the mixture of woman’s rights and Suwon
Writer: Soyeon Park
If you have been to Ingye-dong, the most dynamic district in Suwon, you might have heard of Nahyeseok Street. Even though there is always full of people, it is hard to get information about who she is, what she did, and how she is related with Suwon.
<Self-portrait> by Na Hyeseok <Sceneries of Na Hyeseok Street in Ingye-dong>
Na Hyeseok is renowned for her various achievements in paintings, literatures, liberalism and feminism. In the Joseon Dynasty period, women couldn’t speak out their opinions, make important choices in their lives and the only duty of women was to sacrifice for men such as father, husband, brothers and sons. At the same time, there was Na Hyeseok. She tried to reflect her feministic ideas in her creations like articles, poetries, and paintings.
When she studied abroad in Japan, she actively worked at “Women’s World”, the press organization composed of female international students and published the novel <Kyeonghee> stating that woman is also the same human as man by using an autonomous female character. Also, she made drastic proposal to require four qualifications for marriage toward her fiancé. In the middle of traveling after marriage, she met the other guy and it made them to divorce with each other, but she ended up parting from both of them. Even though the negative recognition about divorce was rampant in that period, she published <the Written Confession about divorce>, which is sophisticatedly describing discernments for making a decision about getting divorced, her ex-husband’s narrow-minded attitudes, and prevalent male egoism in that times.
While protesting against the male chauvinistic ideas in that period, she also devoted her life into independence of Joseon Dynasty from Japan. She participated at March First Independence Movement and continuously stated liberalism on that time. Despite her various efforts for independence and feminism, she is not as highly appraised as she deserves and many people don’t even know whether Na Hyeseok is a woman or man. To raise her reputation and fame and exhibit the relationship between Suwon and Na Hyeseok, we need to make more people acknowledge about the greatest female writer Na Hyeseok and her achievements.