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Re-/Constructing Korean Identity The Minjung Culture Movement

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Chapter Summary

The minjung artists, obliged to the political program of the movement, devoted their creativity as a means of communication in service to the common goal. A volume with woodcuts of Hong Song-Dam, published in 1990 in Korea contains 50 prints originating over the past decade and gathered under the title "Kwangju". In these pictures Hong portrays the horror of the Kwangju massacre of 1980. Next to traditional festivals and customs, the liberating and life-enhancing resources of the religions that are practiced by Koreans are of special interest to minjung artists. Shamanism, Buddhism, Christianity and Tonghak, a new religious movement, are those that are dealt with in this chapter. The cultural-religious motifs are the expression of a cultural renaissance, which revives Korean tradition and adopts it along the lines of the political agenda of the minjung movement, referencing the hopes for liberation inherent in this tradition.

Keywords: Korean identity; Kwangju massacre; minjung culture movement; Shamanism



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