Definitions for nobi

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  1. Nobi

    Nobi is the Korean word for a system of servitude in place between the 4th and 19th centuries. It should not be confused with the Japenese word sharing the same Romanization meaning growth or lengthening. Its status diminished greatly during the latter half of the Joseon Dynasty, and it was eventually abolished with the adoption of the Gabo Reforms. Nobi can refer to both the system itself and to the people in the system. Like the slaves, serfs, and indentured servants better known in the Western world, nobi were considered property or chattel. They could be bought, sold, and given as gifts. Their owners were responsible for their care and well-being, and to a certain extent, legally responsible for their actions. In practice however, virtually no legal protection was accorded nobi. Nobi could own property in many cases, and were allowed to marry and rear children. Acceptable marriage arrangements for nobi differed according to circumstance. Occasionally they could marry commoners, or in a few cases, could become concubines to their owners. More often, however, they could only marry other nobi. Children born from nobi marriages were sometimes made nobi, or commoners, or were even abandoned altogether -- as decided by the nobi's owner.

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