In “Romeo and Juliet,” Juliet is described that “she is not even fourteen.” In the Korean novel “Chunhyang-jeon,” the female protagonist Chunhyang is suggested to be 14 or 15 years old. In ancient times when the concept of teenage period was not established yet, children could be considered adults and protagonists. However, with the advent of the contemporary era, the type of love seen to be suitable for teenagers has gradually emerged, and love of Juliet and that of Chunhyang is considered to be a type of love that is more amenable for older people or grown-ups.
Under the Criminal Code, the minimum age of an adult is 15 in Northern European countries, while the corresponding age is 14 in countries of the Continental law including Korea, Japan and Germany, and 13 in France. These ages are similar to those of Juliet and Chunghyang. Probably, the reason for this is that love and crime is a result of emotion amplifying in the opposite directions, but is similar in that they both originate from emotion.
The Korean government decided to seek legislation to change the minimum age of an adult under the Criminal Code to 13 on Friday. It is difficult to reach a clear conclusion as to whether it is right to change the age to 13 due to certain fundamental difference in the body or mind between teenagers aged 13 and 14, or it is right to keep the age at 14. However, under the education system in which children enter the elementary school at age seven and the middle school at about 13, it makes some sense to argue that students who are aged 13 or older should be criminally punishable, especially when considering school violence.
The Juvenile Law itself came into being due to the introduction of the concept of teenagers under the Criminal Law, which originally only recognized children and adults. But it is necessary to develop methods of punishment, protection and correction that are categorized in more details in order to cater to teenagers who are young but not much different from adults.