A political cartoon often contains a substantial amount of information that serves to create a particular hypothesis about a historical event. It frequently expresses ideas far more clearly and concisely than words and functions as a powerful tool of communication. It is often intended to affect public opinion or to influence foreign policy, and operates as potentially powerful propaganda. As a result of advances in printing technology, political commentary in journalism flourished at the end of the nineteenth century. In particular, commentary in the form of cartoons spread throughout Europe and even to Meiji Japan through European artists and correspondents. During the latter half of the nineteenth century, political cartoons offered broad analyses of foreign policies toward Korea as well as concise depictions of real events in Korean history. This article examines the historical events that influenced political cartoons and the images of Korea as reflected in cartoons published between 1876 and 1898. This study seeks to enhance the understanding of Korean power politics in a vivid and accessible way and to build momentum toward the use of political cartoons as primary source material.
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