Abstract

Between 1926 and 1936, cinema in colonial Korea was a vibrant business, involving the production of domestic films and the distribution and exhibition of American, British, Chinese, French, German, Italian, and Russian films. During this decade, the first golden age of American cinema in Korea, Hollywood films overwhelmingly dominated the Korean market. Korea was an important territory that Hollywood used in its overall global expansion campaign. Amid this globalization operation, the Government-General of Chōsen’s film censorship apparatus was a financially self-sustaining operation. It paid for its operation by profiteering from the application of more than 6,700 American and 630 other countries’ feature and nonfeature films, a vast majority of which were approved with minor, if any, censorship changes. The Government-General’s systematization of film censorship policies was intended to obstruct Communist, revolutionary, and later, socialist themes rather than “Western” themes—at least until the late 1930s, when the Japanese Department of Home Affairs began banning the import of American films and the Government-General intensified the suppression of Korean culture.

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