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DMZ CrossingPerforming Emotional Citizenship Along the Korean Border$
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Suk-Young Kim

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231164825

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231164825.001.0001

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Imagined Border Crossers on Stage

Imagined Border Crossers on Stage

(p.17) 1 Imagined Border Crossers on Stage
DMZ Crossing

Suk-Young Kim

Columbia University Press

This chapter showcases a comparative analysis of stage plays by influential dramatists from both Koreas. Sin Go-song's Ten Years and Yu Chi-jin's Thus Flows the Han River were published in 1958, in Pyongyang and in Seoul respectively. They both feature recent memories of border crossing during the Korean War (1950-1953) as a prominent dramatic device to reveal the dangers of emotional ties among family members who are no longer citizens of the same Korea. Working faithfully with their respective official state ideologies within a broader international Cold War politics, both plays address the necessity to maintain draconian control over the constantly shifting wartime border. The stage space was used to dramatize public anxiety over the nature of the demilitarized zone (DMZ)—an uneasy reminder of an unfinished past and an uncertain future—as it is portrayed most profoundly in the plays' characterizations of border crossers as dangerous infiltrators.

Keywords:   stage plays, Ten Years, Thus Flows the Han River, border crossing, Korean War, Cold War politics, wartime border, border crossers

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