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  • In the Colonial Zone of Contact: Kisaeng and Gangster Films

    Jinsoo An

    Chapter from the book: An, J. 2018. Parameters of Disavowal: Colonial Representation in South Korean Cinema.


    Chapter 4 traces the development and incorporation of the kisaeng courtesan and the gangster boss as the two most popular tropes in the colonial imagination. The emergence of film cycles that feature such socially marginal characters occurred after South Korea’s 1965 normalization with Japan. As such, these films proceed through an alternate matrix of social interaction and conflict between Koreans and Japanese and typically unfold in an urban center of culture, commerce, and leisure. The chapter traces the displacement of the era’s larger political tension in films onto a compressed zone of proximity where Japanese encroachment could be checked and restrained from entering the autonomous zone of commerce and business of Koreans.

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    An, J. 2018. In the Colonial Zone of Contact: Kisaeng and Gangster Films. In: An, J, Parameters of Disavowal. California: University of California Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/luminos.51.e

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    Published on June 8, 2018


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