The aim of this study is to examine how heroic characters with supernatural powers are portrayed, and what shortcomings and desires are present in the societies they are born into, with reference to television series with superheroes such as <I Hear Your Voice>, <While You Were Sleeping>, and <Strong Woman DoBongSoon> out of many motifs of Korean television fantasy series. The common feature of the superheroes represented in these three dramas is that they are viewed as monsters symbolizing vigilance and alienation instead of being regarded as typical heroes that are the object of praise and admiration. All three dramas criticize the corruption and limitations of bureaucratic powers such as the judiciary, prosecution, and police. The protagonists showcase their heroics by correcting such problems and helping the weak and the victimized by using their supernatural powers. At the same time, they broach uncomfortable topics, highlight truths that some may wish to hide, and also argue the concept of ‘normality’ and the ‘world of naturalness’. For this reason, they are treated as monsters and alienated. Despite being called upon to solve the problems in reality, the deficiencies and contradictions of our society are also revealed by them. The idea of expressing the repressed desires in reality, is similar to the attributes of fantasy in that it criticizes and overthrows reality in order to meet the desires. This study verified not only the subversive characters of fantasy, but also the limitations when such attributes were combined with the characteristics of the medium of television shows. The significance of this study is to give attention to a genre that had previously been neglected by Korean productions but is now gaining traction, and also to suggest many tasks for researching more subdivided and diversified fantasy dramas in the future.
Recently, the cinema industry faced a crisis on the rise of various media platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, IPTV, and Kakao Page. The rate of film release in the theater has become ever shorter, and the secondary consumption of film through IPTV, tablet, PC, or mobile has seen a drastic increase. In the midst of this new media-geography, the most significant change in recent years would be the rise of the ‘fantasy film’ genre. This paper explores the conditions and characteristics of fantasy films in the way in which the genre has been constituted, and delves into particular aspects that its contents contain. This is an attempt to understand the sociology of the birth of a new genre. In this process, this paper will ask two frequently raised questions in regard to this genre. The first is to ask whether we can discern fantasy from reality, and the second is to examine whether the fantasy genre implicates certain social subversion. These two questions aim to discover how fantasy forms a relationship with reality and what this means. To do so, this paper will trace the genealogy of the fantasy film genre in Korea and analyze recent big hits such as the <Along with the Gods> series as the model case of digital fantasy film. Through this exploration, this paper will be able to provide a new sociology of the fantasy film production and consumption in the 21st century Korea.
This article analyzes ‘book traveler’ stories as a new sub-genre of Korean fantasy web fiction. Formal innovation is revealed as the major motivation of Korean fantasy web fiction’s narratives. Furthermore, the imagination of social resistance was presented as the formal devices of the genre. These theses were performed during the analysis of the two characteristics of the genre. In this genre, the main character is the writer or reader of fantasy stories. He moves into a novel he is describing or reading. The original novel, which was entered by the main character, is a space characterized by the custom of a typical fantasy genre. Therefore, the main character actually experiences cliché, typical genre devices and plots. The most important action for the main character here is to ‘bend’ the custom of the original. Therefore, this genre is in the form of the main motive being the refraction of typology. Meanwhile, the main character is not the central character of the original, but a secondary figure. The central character of the original book is usually from the ruling class, which monopolizes the good resources of society. At this time, the genre creates a subversive situation in which the social underdog goes beyond the social power through plots that overwhelm the central figure. It converts the reader’s social desire into a genre device. To summarize, the latest trend in Korean web novel fantasy has captured scenes of renewed Korean genre literature practices. It sensitively reflects the social context of the contemporaries and the reader’s desire. Thus, the Korean web novel fantasy has reflected both its internal conditions and its social context.
By analyzing the characteristics and meaning of dystopia in Korean juvenile science fiction, this study aims to search for the principles of juvenile literature responding to the contradictions of scientific technologism in collusion with state capitalism, and to consider its limitations and significance. This study focuses on the juvenile science fiction in which children or teenagers fight against system dystopia functioning as a setting of the story. System dystopia consists of ‘fake utopia’ and ‘concentration camps’ holding those excluded from this ‘fake utopia’. Young people whose right to life are violated under the system dystopia escape from concentration camps and fight against political power. We don’t have many novels that have focused on environmental dystopia, but a nomadic subject is found in works set on Earth after environmental pollution or nuclear explosion. In short, juvenile dystopia science fiction deepens the contradictions of the hierarchical society based on scientific technologism, criticizing the repressive, material-oriented and differential educational realities of our society. They hope that children or teenagers will act as a resistance that sees through the deception and hypocrisy of the social system. These works are significant in that they expose the biopolitics strategy of political power in collusion with industrial capitalism and induce us to reflect on it. However, it seems to be the limit of humanism to equate human life with nature and to warn of dangers of technology, machinery, and material civilization as the counterpart. This paper has the significance of taking a general survey of juvenile dystopia science fiction since the 2000s, and revealing the writers’ perception of scientific technologism and its limitations.
The article focuses on the student activism experience of the 1990s and 2010s and on the accumulation of everyday experiences created by the conditions of the 2010s against the backdrop of differences in how the composition of ‘we’ is portrayed in oral narrative. What stands out in the 90s oral narratives on student activism experiences, which were compiled in the 2010s, is the distancing of the culture of student activism at that time. In the words of speakers who experienced university life in the 1990s, the culture of student activism at the university was created through private relationships, and was, needless to say, considered ‘natural’. At the same time, however, the ‘natural’ is said to be ‘abnormal’ or ‘strange’ in the context of the 2010s in which it is being talked about, and is meant to be an experience with a certain distance from the present speakers. This aspect is associated with the conditions under which the experience of the 90s is being described in the 2010s. The present, which explains past experiences to speakers, was explained after the 2016 candlelight protest and Gangnam Station femicide protest, and is described as a world that is qualitatively different from before, and is located as an opportunity to create a critical distance from past experiences. This qualitative change, which raises suspicions about the homogenous “we”, is based on a newly acquired sense of gender sensitivity, living since the mid-2010s, when gentler issues were the biggest topic in Korean society, among others. In the 2010s, the composition of ‘we’ is no longer understood as a community of people who share any commonality, but as individuals who unite despite numerous differences. This reveals the experiences of those who have already embodied this in their everyday senses in the 2010s. The ‘we’ they formed should have nothing to do with private relationships, nor was homogeneity considered the most prominent group, so it was nothing that could explain the ‘me’ at the time of the demonstration and outside of the venue. It was in that context that the relevant experience was described in a cautious manner throughout. This, in turn, raises the need to ask and understand a new sense of student activism and, moreover, social movements and the sense of unity as ‘we’. It should also be asked who is the main body of the movement and what is the use of asking it. Soon, the need and meaning of defining the fixed identity of ‘we’ in the movement should be questioned. Therefore, it should be asked what fixed positions or coordinates can really represent someone’s position.
This paper examines how the cinematic representation of the Japanese military “comfort women” stimulates ‘imagination’ in the realm of everyday life and in the memory of the masses, creating a common awareness and affect. The history of the Japanese military “comfort women” was hidden for a long time, and it was not until the 1990s that it entered the field of public recognition. Such a transition can be attributed to the external and internal chronopolitics that made possible the testimony of the victims and the discourse of the “comfort women” issue. It shows the peculiar status of the comfort women history as ‘politics of time’. In the same vein, the cinematic representations of the Japanese military “comfort women” can be found in similar chronopolitics. The ‘comfort women’ films have shown the dual time frame of the continuity and discontinuity of the ‘silence’. In Korean film history, the chronotope of the reproduction of “comfort women” can be divided into four phases: 1) the fictional representations of “comfort women” before the 1990s 2) documentaries in the late 1990s as the work of testimony and history writing, 3) melodramatic transformation in the feature films in the 2000s, and 4) the diffusion of media and categories. The purpose of this article is to focus on the first phase and the third phase in which the issue of ‘comfort women’ is represented in the category of popular fiction films. While the “comfort women” representations before 1990 were strictly adhering to the framework of commercial movies and pursued the sexual exploitation of “comfort women” history, the recent films since the 2000s are experimenting with various attempts in the style of popular imagination. Especially, the emergence of ‘comfort women’ feature films in the 2000s, such as Spirit’s Homecoming, I Can Speak, and Herstory, raise various questions as to whether we are “properly” aware of issues and how to remember and present the “cultural memory” of comfort women. Also, focusing on the cinematic representation strategies of the 2000s “comfort women”, this article discusses the popular politics of melodrama, the representation of victims and violence, and the feature of ‘comfort women’ as meta-memory. As a melodramatic imagination and meta-memory for the historical trauma, the “comfort women” drama shows the historical, political, and aesthetic gateways to which the “comfort women” problem must pass. As we have seen in recent fiction films, the issue of “comfort women” goes beyond transnational relations between Korea and Japan; it demands a postcolonial task to dismantle the old colonial structure and explores a transnational project in which women’s movements and human rights movements are linked internationally.
This essay examines the questions that existing high-teen related studies are missing: “What is high-teen?”. It is a foreign language originated from Japanese, spoken only in Japan and Korea among the post-war pan East Asian pop culture scenes. High-teen is based on the ‘teenager’ formed in the United States. It should be understood not just as a subcategory of popular culture but as an important ideological allegory of post-war Japanese politics. To learn this concept, this essay archeologically researches the origin of high-teen’s meaning and analyses the political meaning of the early high-teen contents of Ueda Hirao which related to postwar politics and ideology in Japan. Existing research regarding high-teen tends to be limited to the peripheral and fragmentary areas. On the other hand, this paper will be the beginning of a discussion on high-teen in a more expanding perspective as an East Asian postwar history.
This paper examines a social and cultural history of horror films through the keyword “technology”, focusing on The Spark of Fear: Technology, Society and the Horror Film (2015) written by Brian N. Duchaney. Science fiction film is closely connected with technology in film genres. On the other hand, horror films have been explained in terms of nature/supernatural. In this regard, The Spark of Fear, which accounts for horror film history as (re)actions to the development of technology, is remarkable. Early horror films which were produced under the influence of gothic novels reflected the fear of technology that had been caused by industrial capitalism. For example, in the film Frankenstein (1931), an angry crowd of people lynch the “monster”, the creature of technology. This is the action which is aroused by the fear of technology. Furthermore, this mob behavior is suggestive of an uprising of people who have been alienated by industrial capitalism during the Great Depression. In science fiction horror films, which appeared in the post-war boom, the “other” that manifests as aliens is the entity that destroys the value of prosperity during post-war America. While this prosperity is closely related to the life of the middle class in accordance with the suburbanization, the people live conformist lives under the mantle of technologies such as the TV, refrigerator, etc. In the age of the Vietnam War, horror films demonize children, the counter-culture generation against a backdrop of the house that is the place of isolation and confinement. In this place, horror arises from the absolute absence of technology. While media such as videos, internet, and smartphones have reinforced interconnectedness with the outside world since the 1980s, it became another outside influence that we cannot control. “Found-footage” and “torture porn” which were rife in post-9/11 horror films show that the technologies of voyeurism/surveillance and exposure/exhibitionism are near to saturation. In this way, The Spark of Fear provides an opportune insight into the present day in which the expectation and fear of the progress of technology are increasingly becoming inseparable from our daily lives.