This study examines how Japanese scholars as well as the public accepted Korean classical novels from the latter part of the Joseon dynasty until the 1920s. During this time, Japanese used translated and published Korean classical novels to learn and understand the Korean language and culture. The first person who transcribed Korean classical novels was Amenomori Hoshu 雨森芳洲, an interpreter who also learned the Korean language by transcribing classical novels such as Sukhyangjeon (The Tale of Sukhyang) and Yi Baek-gyeong jeon (The Tale of Yi Baek-gyeong). He also used Korean classical novels when he was teaching Korean to Japanese apprentices training to become interpreters. Korean classical novels were used continuously as Korean learning materials by Japanese scholars, interpreters, students, and so on. As the interest in Korean classical novels increased, Choe Chung jeon (The Tale of Choe Chung), Im Gyeong-eop jeon (The Tale of Im Gyeong-eop), and Chunhyangjeon (The Tale of Chunhyang), among others, were translated and published. Scholars such as Nakarai Tosui 桃水野史, Takahashi Toru 高橋亨, and Hosoi Hajime 細井肇 continued to translate Korean classical novels. These scholars also published several classical novels up until the 1920s. They contain a total of 15 pieces, which are representative examples of Korean classical novels. Hosoi claimed that learning Korean classical novels was important to learning more about the Joseon dynasty. After receiving Korean classical novels through the transcription, translation, and publication process, Japanese scholars studied them earnestly. This article systematically traces this early period when Korean classical novels first became the subject of study among Japanese.
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