Korean popular music in-between: Identity strategies between Japanese style and American standards in the 1960s | Intellect Skip to content
1981
Resonating across Oceanic Currents: Maritime Histories of Popular Music in and from Japan, 1920s-60s
  • ISSN: 2051-7084
  • E-ISSN: 2051-7092

Abstract

This article explores collective experiences of Japanese popular music within the post-Second World War South Korean society along with related identity strategies – and – from postcolonial perspectives and discuss what characterizes ‘Japanese-ness’ as a musical, industrial and social product. In the context of strategies to eradicate it from the urban spaces, cultural industry and memories and bodies of Korean people, Japanese-ness – labelled under the monike waesaek was proscribed as a cultural remnant of imperialism, militarism and colonial dominion and thus, a harmful influence on its public. South Korean popular songs categorized as waesaek music within this model were subject to social criticism and gentrified in the music marketplace as trot. On the other hand, Americanization was an important strategy used to construct a new ‘Korean-ness’ separate from the Japanese-ness lingering within the country from its colonial past. Japanese-ness in popular music in post-war South Korea continually changed as it was re-imagined and re-constructed in parallel with musical, social and industrial changes in South Korea. Each of these strategies carries its own corresponding paradoxes, and Korean-ness and Japanese-ness are cast in sharp relief as distinct cultural products while still containing those paradoxes. This article argues that these strategies, both global and local in scope, highlight the fact that post-colonialism cannot be explained merely by the relationship between one colony and one empire but rather evolves in a global and local milieu, in which multiple empires and colonies are intertwined.

Funding
This study was supported by the:
  • KAKENHI (Award 19K13876)
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2024-04-26
2024-05-27
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