Transwar Continuities of Colonial Intimacy: Korean-Japanese Relationships in Korean Cinema in the 1960s

Oct 10, 2019 | 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Su Yun Kim (Assistant Professor, Korean Studies Program, School of Modern Languages and Cultures, the University of Hong Kong; HYI Visiting Scholar, 2019-20)
Chair/discussant: Yoon Sun Yang, Associate Professor of Korean & Comparative Literature and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program, Boston University)

Co-sponsored with the Korea Institute and the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies

This presentation explores Korean cinema in the 1960s with a focus on films about Korean-Japanese intimacy. Because of the promotion of Korean-Japanese intermarriage by the Japanese colonial government, a number of films produced during the colonial period portrayed intimate Korean-Japanese relationships, including marriages, friendships, and supportive communities. Although representations of Korean-Japanese intimacy disappeared immediately after the liberation, they resurged in the 1960s. Owing to the shift in the Park Chung Hee government’s attitude toward Japan, movies shot in Japan or featuring Japanese culture passed censorship and were released in theatres. Among these Japan-themed movies, colonial intimacy was a popular topic, particularly romance between Korean men and Japanese women. This presentation highlights transwar continuities and differences in the representation of colonial intimacy in Korean cinema that were informed by colonialism, the civil war, and the Cold War.