Sayonara Amerika, Sayonara Nippon

Korean Punk Rock

Posted in Music by bourdaghs on the March 7th, 2012

The documentary “Our Nation: A Korean Punk Rock Community” (39 min., 2002) is now available on DVD for private home viewing–and it’s just twenty bucks. You can also stream it for just $1.99. (Institutions and libraries can also purchase the film here.)

Through the eyes of two young college age fans, we journey through the underground punk rock scene. The small club “Drug” features bands with names like Crying Nut, No Brain and Weeper, and the all-female band Supermarket. To Americans the flashing lights, stomping bodies, blaring sounds and angry incantations are nothing new. But seeing it in an Asian culture known for restraint raises many questions. Sociology professor Cho Hae Joang provides a socio-historical overview of the youth subcultures in Korea, and the emergence of consumer capitalism with the concomitant economic crisis of the late 90’s.

Crying Nut subsequently went on to fame and fortune, but the film captures them and their fans at the beginning, playing in a small basement club in Seoul. I had the pleasure of introducing the film at one of its first-ever screenings at UCLA back when it was initially released, and I vividly remember the brilliant way it captured the feel of a burgeoning local music scene. Recommended.

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