The purpose of this paper is to explore the foundation and position of children’s literature by taking a close look at how radio programs for children had been realigned from the time Korea was liberated from the Japanese colonial rule until the post-war restoration period.
First, children’s programs were among the regular radio programs during the liberation period. For example, <Children’s Time> which was reinstated in October 1945 was broadcast for fifteen minutes in kindergartens and primary schools across Seoul. Songs for children took center stage with considerable amount of stories and plays for children. It is noteworthy that female writers made strides during this period. Since October 18, 1946, when the American programming system was introduced, a signal music began to be used and <Toddlers’ Time> was newly broadcast. <Children’s Time> offered a variety of sub-programs to help young audience enhance the level of their culture, but existing creative works lost some ground. In particular, a pilot program 『Ddolddori’s Adventure』 resulted in a great success for which many competent writers worked together. The problem was that after about four years of broadcasting, good follow-up program was not produced, whose broadcasting was even suspended following the outbreak of the Korean War.
Second, radio broadcasting was crippled in the middle of the Korean War and programs for children were broadcast again only after the broadcasting reorganization on December 16, 1951. During this period, <Stories from Grandmother> presented by the United Nations Command was translated and broadcast everyday, while wartime children’s songs were played on <Children’s Time> mainly by the children’s songs clubs of the military and police. As the number of writers for radio programs was not enough, other genres lost more ground and became more of the purposed literature.
Third, radio programs for children during the post-war restoration period continued to change year after year. In 1953, <Toddlers’ Time> which focused mainly on children’s songs in the process of three rounds of reorganization, weakened, while <Children’s Time> continued to supplement its sub-programs but revealed unstability in its operation. At the time, creation of children’s literary works gradually increased but the share of literary writers was relatively small, which made it difficult to guarantee the quality and value of the works. In 1954 when the nation began to be stabilized, <Children’s Time> was broadcast longer and a series of new programs were introduced while <Toddlers’ Time> was scrapped. It was during this time when two of the popular quiz shows <What is this?> and <Children’s Play Series> started. Many professional writers also joined hands, enhancing the position of children’s literature and adding more weight to these programs. This trend continued until 1955. Meanwhile, the Christian Broadcasting Station, opened in 1954, began to regularly broadcast <Children’s Time> with a stable broadcasting format. Its sub-programs arranged religious works, dialogic plays with scientific themes and serials with a fixed schedule. As opposed to serials, most of which were adapted stories, creative works went on the air for short programs, where a lot of renowned writers of children’s stories and radio broadcast writers participated, expanding the scope for children’s broadcast programs. Given the discussions above, it is hoped that problems in some broadcasting stations will be fixed while the foundation can be laid for studying children’s literature in earnest.