A Study on 1960s and 1990s Japanese Pop Culture Discourses: Koreans’ Long...

A Study on 1960s and 1990s Japanese Pop Culture Discourses: Koreans’ Long-established Ambivalence about Japan and their Solution to Handle It

Jimin Jung, Yonsei University


Throughout the history of Korea’s cultural development, Japan has played a very distinctive role.One effect of Korea’s colonial experience under Japan (1910-1945) was for Korea to conceal and deny that many parts of its cultural development had been influenced by Japan -- not only as a colonial power but also by its proximity as a neighboring state. In an effort to deflect criticism of the 1965 treaty that would normalize relations between Korea and Japan, President Park Chung-hee also imposed an embargo on Japan’s pop culture imports. This embargo, which lasted from 1965-1998, created a contradictory practice in which Japanese products would be unofficially imported while being officially criticized and labeled as “vulgar.” These examples show not only the Park regime’s means of control, but also Koreans’ long-established ambivalence about Japan and their solution to handle it. We can see that the common factor in all of these examples is Korean nationalism. Through Japan’s case in Korea, this study ultimately aims to determine how nationalism affects transnational culture by examining discourses on Japanese pop culture around the 1965 treaty and the 1998 lifting of the embargo. Lastly, extending the discussion, this study will compare the discourses on the Japanese wave of the 1960s and the Korean wave of the 2010s in order to examine their commonalities and differences.