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Gender, Health, and History in Modern East Asia$
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Angela Ki Che Leung and Izumi Nakayama

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9789888390908

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888390908.001.0001

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Providing Reassurance and Affirmation

Providing Reassurance and Affirmation

Masculinity, Militarization, and Refashioning a Male Role in South Korean Family Planning, 1962 to the late 1980s

(p.244) 9 Providing Reassurance and Affirmation
Gender, Health, and History in Modern East Asia

John P. DiMoia

Hong Kong University Press

This chapter looks at the voluntary vasectomy campaigns headed by Dr. Lee Hui-Yong at Seoul National University hospital, concurrent with ongoing family planning campaigns for much of the 1960s and 1970s. In particular, the surgery was first tested on a range of civilian subjects before becoming specifically attached to the Home Reserve Army (Yebigun), a body created in the late 1960s in the aftermath of a North Korean incursion and direct assault on the Blue House, or presidential residence. In a wonderful bit of irony, the hyper-masculinist rhetoric of the period asked South Korean males to stand for the nation, to father children and nurture them, and at the same time, to curb their reproductive urges after a proscribed number of children. Carrying into the 1970s, reservists received additional incentives (access to apartments, education for children, reduced reserve periods) for compliance with the “voluntary program. The logic and zeal of the program was such that numbers continued to peak into the 1980s and early 1990s, even as South Korea underwent democratization and the transition to pro-natal initiatives.

Keywords:   Masculinity, Vasectomy, Sterilization, Andrology, Family planning

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