Thursday, June 25, 2020

The Korean war as depicted by "Gobau"

Today marks the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War (or the 149th anniversary (+ 15 days), by some reckonings). I recently came across this 11-year-old Japan Focus article by Andrew Salmon about the art of 18-year-old Kim Song-hwan, who would later become the author of the newspaper cartoon "Gobau," about the era when he was hired as a war artist by the ROK Ministry of Defense. His drawings and watercolours are often stark and uncompromising in their depiction of what the war wrought upon Korean society. Kim Song-hwan went on to become perhaps the Korean newspaper cartoonist of the latter half of the 20th century, penning his "Gobau" cartoon for 45 years, as Colin Marshall wrote.

As I've mentioned before, Gobau was also featured in the cartoons US ambassador Philip Habib sent in a cable to the State Department in March 1973, months after the advent of the dictatorial Yusin constitution. According to Habib, they were just about the only public source of criticism, mild as it was, of government policy at that time. Habib's cable, which was part of  a collection of such cables at the National Assembly Library website, can be read here.

Update, June 29:

Robert Neff's article on the participation of Ethiopia's Kagnew Battalion in the Korean War is well worth reading.

1 comment:

The Sanity Inspector said...

I really wish you would get on Twitter, even if it's only to post links to your blog posts!