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Korea Society Talk on Robo Taekwon V

This entry is part 25 of 70 in the series SF in South Korea

Plenty of SF readers who come through here aren’t necessarily interested in Korean history and culture in general, so it’s unlikely they’d be listeners to the Korea Society Podcast. However, for those who have an interest in global SF and pop culture, there’s a podcast you might want to check out over there.

It’s a recording of a talk given way back in February 2008 by Aaron Han Joon Magnan-Park, a prof at Notre Dame. The talk is titled “Our Toys, Our Selves: Robot Taekwon V and South Korean Identity.” (That’s a direct link to the MP3, so if you want, you can right-click and save it, instead of listening to it stream online.)

The talk discusses the role of taekwondo in the building of national identity, the military, and nationalist propaganda, speculates the role of anti-communist government directives in the rhetoric of the film, and discusses the relationship between industrialization initiatives contemporaneous to the film and some of the science-fictional technologies depicted.

(I happen to have a copy of two versions of the film, which were “subtitled in English for children to develop their English abilities.” I haven’t watched either version all the way through, but I’ll have to do so eventually.)

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