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학술대회자료

조선시대 제주 해녀 울산으로 간 까닭

Why did Jeju Haenyeo go to Ulsan during the Joseon Dynasty

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During the Joseon era, Ulsan (a city located on the southeastern tip of the Korean peninsula) became home to a large population from Jeju (the largest island off the southern tip of the Korean peninsula). What could be the push factors of their migration? Interestingly, many historic documents found in the city of Ulsan provide records on the existence of migrants from Jeju. The term Dumoak from the Joseon period referred to those Jeju natives that left the island of Jeju and settled on Korea’s mainland. Being a nickname for Hallasan (the mountain located in the central part of Jeju Island), Dumoak was used to refer to the native people of Jeju residing in such places as Ulsan that made their living by diving in the coastal seas. Notably, The Census Register for the Ulsan Region, Gyeongsang Province (from the Joseon dynasty), jotted down the details of Dumoak. The state-recorded family register implies that the people called Dumoak had been isolated from the original settlers in the mainland area by the 18th century, creating a unique village of their own. In general, Dumoak were classified as Cheonin (the term that referred to lower class people in the Joseon era). As earlier mentioned, they resided in the villages they had created for themselves and married within their community. They were shunned by the original settlers on the mainland, took the responsibility of providing specialized labor for the nation, and further, had restricted options for residence in and entrance to towns other than their own. Why did Dumoak have to move to Ulsan and be treated as people of lower class in the Joseon period? The answers may lie in both the ecology related to the so-called ‘field of sea mustard’ in Ulsan and the neighboring fishing villages, as well as the relationship between the people of those villages and the haenyeo who migrated from Jeju. In detail, Jeju haenyeo were responsible for removing weeds and collecting sea mustard in the sea mustard fields in the near waters. The women divers from Jeju were paid for the afore-mentioned labor. Additionally, they were allowed to collect as much seafood as they wanted, to earn a living for themselves. This ecological background offers explanation into the reasons why Jeju haenyeo relocated their livelihood to Ulsan and the neighboring coastal villages in the Joseon era.

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