Dear Soldier + Chosun, Our Rear Base

Dear Soldier Cropped

Dear Soldier. 1944, Dir, Bang Han-jun, Korea.

With Kim II-hae, Lee Geum-ryong

Dear Soldier is probably one of the most uncomfortable film to have survived from this period. One of a series of propaganda film designed to encourage young Korean men to join the army, the film presents an image of a benevolent and paternalistic Japan seeking to care for its colonial subjects. The film presents an idealised vision of the Japanese military experience which was, in reality, marked with abuse, brutality and racism. Made in 1944, when the Japan was clearly losing the war, Dear Soldier is an ideal example from a film industry that had been completely subsumed into making propaganda. With no Korean spoken and images that bear little resemblance to the state of Korea and Japan of the time, Dear Soldier operates as a reminder of the awful reality of colonial occupation.

Chosun, Our Rear Base, circa 1935, Dir Unknown

One of several newsreels to be found in the Gosfilmofond Archive, Chosun, Our Rear Base was typical of the newsreels that would have screened before any feature film. Promoting the ideology known as naisen ittai in Japanese or naeseon iche in Korean, in short, ‘Japan and Korea as one body’, Chosun, Our Rear Base, presents a Korean nations working to support the Japanese Colonized. Clear examples of propaganda, these newsreel bear little resemblance to reality.

KCCUK, 25 Feb 2019 7:00 pm

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