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Study on the Theatrical Censorship of North Korea during the Korean War through Panel Discussion of Journal『Chosunmunhak』

Jun Jeenee 1

1이화여자대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This thesis aims to examine the ways of criticism in North Korean literature and the post-censorship system for the North Korean theater called ‘Happyunghoi(合評會)’ during the Korean War in an effort to shed light on the relationship of the methods of criticism and censorship to the flow of contemporary North Korean dramatic literature. In this study, the North Korean censorship system and texts of theaters in the period of the Korean War were researched to supplement the history of research on wartime dramas and North Korean theaters. Happyunghoi that appeared in a journal titled 『Chosunmunhak(朝鮮文學)』 after the liberation of the nation was a way of literary censorship that was in the form of a discussion meeting. The creators of literary works were asked to attend the meeting, and the ultimate goal of it was to further their self-criticism. This meeting took place more actively in the area of theater owing to vigorous mutual criticism and self-criticism among the participants, and it was considered especially important in this field in which there wasn't yet a lot of criticism. It should be noted here that what was suggested by different participants in the meeting was sometimes conflicting though the ultimate goal of it was to stir up the self-criticism of writers, and another noteworthy fact was that sometimes their suggestions weren't in line with Kim Il-sung's doctrine about wartime literature. Happyunghoi was definitely a coercive meeting and part of a cruel criticism project in that the creators of literary works had to attend it and to generally follow the advices of other participants. In fact, however, there were problems that might be controversial enough yet couldn't smoothly be resolved to reach a particular conclusion, and controversial issues still took place even after the war repeatedly. Specifically, some demanded that the reality of the war be realistically described but the story line be intriguing enough, or that conflicting situations be clearly be described but not concretely, which couldn't be realized at the same time. The demands of various participants couldn't all be satisfied in a single text, and the contradictory requests sometimes resulted in undermining the consistency of the text. The North Korean dramas during the war showed the way that the North Korean government controlled the arts and literature, and they also showed that it's impossible to edify contemporary people and to propagate the thought of the North at the same time.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.