Abstract: This article reassesses the issue of colonial collaboration in the Japanese empire by examining the rise of cinematic coproductions between Japanese and Korean filmmakers. By the late 1930s, colonial Korea's filmmaking industry had been fully subsumed into the Japanese film industry, and regulations were established that required all films to assimilate imperial policies. The colonial government's active promotion of colonial "collaboration" and "coproduction" between the colonizers and the colonized ideologically worked to obfuscate these increasing restrictions in colonial film productions while producing complex and contentious desires across the colonial divide. The very concepts of "collaboration" and "co production" need to be redefined in light of increasingly complex imperial hierarchies and entanglements. Taking the concept of "code-switching" beyond its linguistic origins, this article argues that we must reassess texts of colonial collaboration and coproduction produced at a time when Korean film had to "code-switch" into Japanese—to linguistically, culturally, and politically align itself with the wartime empire. The article argues that recently excavated films from colonial and Cold War archives, such as Spring in the Korean Peninsula , offer a rare glimpse into repressed and contested histories and raise the broader conundrum of accessing and assessing uneasily commingled colonial pasts of Asian-Pacific nations in the ruins of postcolonial aftermath.
Cross-Currents: East Asian History and Culture Review – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: May 22, 2013