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Japanese AnimationEast Asian Perspectives$
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Masao Yokota and Tze-yue G. Hu

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781617038099

Published to University Press of Mississippi: March 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781617038099.001.0001

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Growing Up with Astro Boy and Mazinger Z

Growing Up with Astro Boy and Mazinger Z

Industrialization, “High-Tech World,” and Japanese Animation in the Art and Culture of South Korea

(p.155) Growing Up with Astro Boy and Mazinger Z
Japanese Animation

Dong-Yeon Koh

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter examines the historical context in which Japanese animation was imported into Korea during the 1970s and 1980s, focusing on Astro Boy (2009), the Hollywood remake of Tezuka Osamu’s classic Mighty Atom (Tetsuwan Atomu), and Mazinger Z. It looks at the popularity of Mighty Atom in postwar Japan and Korea, and how it symbolized an optimistic vision of science and technology. The chapter considers the proliferation of toys and merchandise based on the Astro Boy character, and the role played by Japanese animation in Korean society, particularly during the period of Korea’s intensive industrialization and modernization. Furthermore, it analyzes the cultural and historic significance of the iconic images of Japanese animation among the generation of artists who were brought up with postwar Japanese popular culture. Finally, the chapter discusses how images of Astro Boy and Mazinger Z were appropriated by contemporary Korean artists, giving rise to the so-called Korean pop art.

Keywords:   popular culture, Japanese animation, Korea, Astro Boy, Mazinger Z, Japan, science and technology, industrialization, modernization, Korean pop art

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