ISSN : 1229-0076
This article examines the dreams recorded by O Huimun (1539-1613) during the period of the Japanese invasion of Joseon in the lunar year 1592 to gain an insight into the interior life of a member of the yangban class in sixteenth-century Joseon. The largest category of these dreams concern people who were absent through death or separation due to the war, particularly members of his own family, such as his elderly mother, wife, children, and his deceased father. O Huimun’s dreams of people almost invariably invoke heartfelt sadness in the diary’s author and frequently result in the reported shedding of tears. Other dreams were interpreted by the author as being more symbolic in nature, and in these cases, O Huimun would often attempt his own interpretation or even record the opinions of other members of his refugee household and acquaintances. This article will examine a broad selection of the dreams recorded in “Imjin namhaeng illok” and “Imjin illok,” which comprise the first volume of Swaemirok (Record of a Refugee) covering the lunar year 1592, and categorize them in accordance with the traditional dream categories outlined in the Zhou li (Rites of Zhou 周禮) in order to demonstrate how dreams and dream interpretation functioned as a form of psychological support for a Joseon yangban steeped in Neo-Confucian rationalism.