Database for Animation Studies


The Korean Socio-Political Context of the 1970s in Robot Taekwon V (1976)

As one of the masterpieces of early South Korean animation, the film Robot Taekwon V has instilled hopes and dreams in a younger generation of Koreans since the late 1970s when it was released, while critics have cited Robot Taekwon V as being influenced by American pop culture, particularly the Disney animation style, and have accused it of plagiarizing the designs of the popular Japanese animation Mazinger Z. In the 1970s, the Korean government actively promoted economic development for the ‘modernization of the country’ under the military regime’s inculcation of anti-communism. Robot Taekwon V was produced with the intent of being an anti-communist tool and, further, it sought the nationalism of postwar South Korea and promoted the country’s confidence in the future that eventually resulted in rapid economic development. This socio-political context is portrayed both in the form of a ‘gigantic robot’ and in the use of non-Korean appearances for Korean characters. Considering these aspects, the author examines how Robot Taekwon V navigates the intricacies of the postwar ideological framework, manages foreign cultural influences and suggests transnationalism through its character design and narrative.

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Animation: An Interdisciplinary Journal
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