Thursday, January 31, 2008 at 5:30 PM
produced by Yu Hyon-mok.
Running time: 79 minutes
When an army of giant mecha attack, young martial-arts champion Kim Hoon must pilot Robot Taekwon V to defend the planet! Inspired by Mazinger Z, a Japanese anime popular in 1970s Korea, Robot Taekwon V was the country’s first full-length animated feature and the first to be digitally restored (1976).
- Gallery Talk
Thursday, February 7, 2008
Our Toys Our Selves: Robot Taekwon V and South Korean Identity
Aaron Han Joon Magnan-Park
Professor of Film, Television and Theatre, University of Notre Dame
Children growing up in South Korea in the1970s faced an overwhelming barrage of cultural influences from the United States and Japan, the nations that, for Koreans, defined the prevailing images of the successful modern industrialized state during the Cold War era. President Park Chung-Hee was determined to bring South Korea into their ranks and, as a means of achieving this goal, adopted an export-driven industrialization policy that laid the economic foundations for the country's rise to its present status as the 11th largest economic power in the world.
However, merely emulating the American and Japanese models of economic and technological progress could not instill within the Korean population a long-term self-sacrificing work ethic. Rather, the nation needed a Korean-specific hero who could create a vision of a forward-looking, technologized South Korea independent of the type of technological advances that the United States and Japan could already provide.
Kim Cheong-gi's 1976 animation feature-film Robot Taekwon V signaled a significant contribution in advancing the image of an independent South Korea through the persona of a Korean-specific robot that effectively stands guard against enemies of superior numbers and with access to advanced technology.
This presentation illustrated how the Korean-specific features of Robot Taekwon V encouraged South Korean audiences to celebrate a Korea-centric paradigm of heroism that negated the United States and Japan and more importantly, exorcised the North Korean threat.
About the Presenter
Aaron Han Joon Magnan-Park is an assistant professor in the Department of Film, Television and Theatre at the University of Notre Dame. He specializes in pan-Asian cinema, sound theory, international action cinema and post-colonial theory. He has previously taught at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand, Illinois State University, Wesleyan University, University of Iowa, American University of Paris and the University of Paris IV-Sorbonne.