Publication Details

Yecies, BM & Shim, AG, Lost Memories of Korean Cinema: Film Policy During Japanese Colonial Rule, 1919-1937, Asian Cinema, Fall/Winter 2003, 14(2), 75-90.


This article analyzes the development and enforcement of film policy and censorship regulations in colonial Korea and draws attention to their impact on the production and exhibition market of Korean cinema. The period between 1919 and 1937 is chosen for this study because it marks the release of the first Korean kino-drama film project, includes Korea’s boom of silent filmmaking and the expansion of Hollywood and Japanese distribution exchanges in Seoul, and leads to the eventual tightening of Japanese censorship by state police. This period is generally known as the ascent of Japan’s imperialistic policies. Given Japan’s occupation of Korea between 1910 and 1945, this period of Korean cinema is intertwined with the history of Japanese cinema. Key Japanese industry events and initiatives, as well as government regulations, had a significant impact on film cultures in Korea--or “Chosun” as the Japanese called its annexed Korean territory at the time.