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Literature and Film in Cold War South KoreaFreedom's Frontier$
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Theodore Hughes

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231157490

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231157490.001.0001

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Return to the Colonial Present

Return to the Colonial Present

Translation, Collaboration, Pan-Asianism

(p.165) 5 Return to the Colonial Present
Literature and Film in Cold War South Korea

Theodore Hughes

Columbia University Press

This chapter examines the works of Ch'oe In-hun, the first South Korean writer to offer an extended treatment of late-colonial-period imperialization and wartime mobilization. Beginning with The Square (Kwangjang, 1960) and continuing in The Tempest (T'aep'ung, 1973), Ch'oe In-hun engaged in a sustained attempt to unpack what he saw as a multilayered coloniality informing the Cold War Koreas: the intersection of statist authoritarianisms and U.S. neocolonial developmentalism with an earlier, pre-1945 colonial history of ethnonational, classed, and pan-Asian identifications. He rejects the assumption of a preexisting ethnonational subject that renders the collaborative acts that appeared briefly during the U.S. occupation as mere performance, leading him to reconsider the relation between the act of writing and the distribution of the visible and invisible that plays a central role both in the representation of North Korea and in the remembering of Japanese imperialism.

Keywords:   Ch'oe In-hun, U.S. neocolonial developmentalism, pre-1945 colonial history, Japanese imperialism, U.S. occupation, North Korea, wartime mobilization

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