This study sought to identify the development process of Korean animation industry, a sector that has so far been highlighted from a univocal perspective. Oral history was adopted as the main research method. I have investigated animation profession ...
This study sought to identify the development process of Korean animation industry, a sector that has so far been highlighted from a univocal perspective. Oral history was adopted as the main research method. I have investigated animation professionals who have been engaged in the industry from the 1950s to the 1990s and recorded their voices on the experience to search for Korean animation industry. I considered the animation department of Tongyang Broadcasting Company(TBS), Seki Corporation, Daewon Animation, and Seoul Movie as the key axes in the Korean animation history.
Based on the results of this research, I confirmed the following:
First, the starting point of Korean animation dates back to the Japanese colonial period of the 20th century rather than to the period after independence from Japan. As a follow-up study, it is urgent for us to interview Japanese Animation professionals and look deeper into the archive in Japan. Second, the history of Korean animation should be understood in the context of the relationship among South Korea, the United States and Japan. The 1960s when the triple alliance among the United States, South Korea and Japan, was forged, in particular, is an inflection point in the history of Korean animation.
From this point of view, I singled out the following entity as the major parts of Korean animation history after the independence from Japan. First, a creative group led by SHIN Dong-Hun. His acquaintances testified that he learned animation himself by reading English animation books in Japanese translation. Also I pay attention to the animation department of Tongyang Broadcasting Company, which was established after the signing of the Treaty on Basic Relations between the Republic of Korea and Japan. Director YIM Jung-Kyu applied for the animation department of Tongyang Broadcasting Company after having seen the recruitment notice in the JoongAng Ilbo. He testified that Morikawa Nobuhide had instructed him on how to animate in the department. A few members of the animation department of Tongyang Broadcasting Company seems to have joined in the production of SHIN Dong-Hun's "Hong Gil Dong."
I would like to emphasize Toei Animation’s role in Korean animation history. Since the signing of the Treaty on Basic Relations between the Republic of Korea and Japan, Toei Animation has established relations with Daewon Animation, Se-Young Animation, and Kyoyuk Animation. It seems that producer CHO Bong-Nam, who worked for KBS, had played a major role in this process. It was testified that Toei Animation considered Daewon Animation, Se-Young Animation, and Kyoyuk Animation as its South Korean subsidiaries. Nippon Animation, the predecessor of Toei Animation, was established in 1948 after Japan’s defeat in the Second World War. However the animators and staffs there were those who contributed to the establishment of the purported Greater Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere through animation films in the war. An animation industry official in Japan testified that Toei Animation may have built a partnership with South Korea after the signing of the Treaty on Basic Relations between the Republic of Korea and Japan regarding the extension of the system that had been operating in during the Second World War.
In the meantime, the Korean animation industry has also established a direct relationship with the United States owing largely to Nelson SHIN. He is an important figure in understanding the relationship between animation industries in the United States, Japan and South Korea.
In carrying out this research, I realized that Toei Animation should be highlighted more. Since the signing of the Treaty, South Korean animation has been promoted and fostered as a high-tech sector as well as a manufacturing industry.