Korean National University of Arts, Republic of Korea
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This study examines the reasons why the Western-style porch was excluded and the Japanese-style Kenkan was settled when these types of entrances were first introduced to modern Korean houses. The birth of Hyun-gwan is the result of a series of experiments on various porch styles conducted in the process of modernizing Korean houses. For example, Western-style porches, which are widely accepted in many public buildings of the time, did not fit the old Korean tradition of taking off shoes at home and thus disappeared from Korean houses. Meanwhile, the Japanese-style Kenkan that better fit the traditional habits of Koreans took root on Korean soil more easily and still leaves traces in the form of Hyun-gwan. The Kenkan—the word indicating the border between the family world and its outside—has been settled in the house of Japanese Samurai in the early 17th century and has become the unique feature of Japanese houses since then. As the Samurai house has become the archetype of Japanese salarymen's houses in modern era, Kenkan remained as an important part of them. After World War II, although Kenkan has been criticized as an authoritative element of Japanese traditional housing form, it never disappeared. Without knowing its history and connotation, many Koreans come and go through Hyun-gwan everyday. This study looks at the trace of how the Japanese distinctive housing element Kenkan is applied to Korean houses and has been settled as Hyun-gwan.