Adventure stories and geographical imagination in Japanese and Korean children's magazines, 1925–1945

Hyunjung Han, Peter Cave (Translator)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Adventure stories were a feature of children's magazines between 1925 and 1945, both in Japan and in colonial Korea. These stories expressed very different visions, depending on the audience, the period, and the purposes of individual authors. Japanese adventure stories in the bestselling magazine Shōnen kurabu portrayed heroes who ranged widely across the seas, articulating a vision of Japanese as outward-looking explorers of far-flung regions, which resonated with Japanese imperialism. In contrast, adventure stories in Korean magazines focused on adventures in and around Korea, reflecting the relative constraints of the colonial subject, as well as an exploration of Korean identity that was strongly linked to the land of Korea itself. The stories of Bang Jung-hwan in the magazine Orini depicted young Koreans rescuing kidnapped friends and relatives, symbolically representing the restoration of the lost nation by the hands of Koreans themselves. On the other hand, the later adventure story of Kim Nae-Seong portrays Korean heroes who are also subjects of the Japanese empire. Although the children's adventure story as a genre has often been associated with imperial expansion, its use in both Japan and Korea shows that adventure stories could also be used to express alternative visions of identity for the colonized.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-120
Number of pages22
JournalJapan Forum
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 16 Sept 2015


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