There is no anti-Japanese modern art, only pro-Japanese stigma remains

“Our pansori singers cannot sing Chunhyangga with Chunhyang, who is completely different from the Chunhyang of Chunhyangga, enshrined as a portrait.”

On August 1, Korean musicians held a press conference at the Namwon City Council and said, “The new portrait of Chunhyang is very different from the real one. She released a statement urging that she should be redrawn and enshrined as the noble Chunhyang in Chunhyangga. Three years ago, the city of Namwon demolished a portrait painted by Kim Eun-ho (1892-1979), a pro-Japanese painter. On May 25 of this year, a commotion broke out when the new portrait was unveiled at the enshrinement ceremony held ahead of the Chunhyang Festival in Namwon. It was introduced as “a statue of an 18th century woman around the age of 17 who came out to ride on a swing with her grooming on one day,” but citizens responded that it was closer to a middle-aged woman. Local civic groups, at the center, insisted on returning to the original portrait (the portrait enshrined in 1931, before Kim Eun-ho painted it), and even Korean musicians protested, saying, “We need to draw it again.” Where will you find the ‘noble Chunhyang in Chunhyangga’ that no one has ever seen? Namwon City, which tried to liquidate the ‘pro-Japanese remnants’ with a budget of 170 million won, found itself in a difficult situation.

The controversy over the portrait drawn by a pro-Japanese artist began in 2005 when civic groups in Jinju, South Gyeongsang Province, forcibly removed the portrait (copy) of Nongae enshrined in Jinjuseong Uigisa. This portrait was also drawn by Kim Eun-ho, and the reason was, “Does it make sense that a pro-Japanese artist drew the portrait of Nongae, a representative anti-Japanese activist who threw herself into the river while hugging a Japanese general to save the country?”

Release the standard portrait painted by pro-Japanese groupsThe sparks were sparked by a portrait of Admiral Yi Sun-sin painted in 1953 by Jang Woo-seong (1912-2005). This portrait was designated as Standard Portrait No. 1 in 1973 and was also used in the design of the 500 won coin. A standard portrait refers to a portrait designated by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism for uniformity in the production of statues or portraits of seonhyeon. For the same reason, the standard portrait of King Sejong (No. 2), painted in 1973 by Kim Ki-chang (1913-2001), was also embroiled in controversy.

Kim Eun-ho was the last portrait painter of the late Joseon Dynasty and was the best portrait artist of his time who painted ‘Abstract portrait of a portrait of a descendant of King Jongjong’. He opened a Hwasuk ‘Nakcheongheon’ in Kwon Nong-dong’s house in front of Changdeokgung Palace and raised numerous disciples. Jang Woo-seong, who is credited with establishing the standard of Korean literati painting, and Kim Ki-chang, who overcame his hearing impairment and later introduced his own style called ‘fool’s landscape’, are from Nakcheongheon. Lee Yu-tae (1916-1999), who drew the standard portrait of Yi Hwang (No. 4), which appears on the 1,000-won banknote, was also alumni of them.

Among the 100 standard portraits designated since 1973, including Lee Hwang painted by Lee Yu-tae, a total of 16 standard portraits painted by Kim Eun-ho and three disciples. Considering that these works are used in various materials such as banknote designs, bronze statues, and textbooks, it can be expected that the lifting of the standard portrait will have a considerable impact.

The Art World Murder Club and the Bondage of ‘Anti-National Actors’The absolute criterion for judging pro-Japanese is the ‘Dictionary of Pro-Japanese People’ published in 2009 by the National Research Institute. The list of 24 artists in the field of art included in this dictionary is as follows. 

Koo Bon-woong, Kim Kyung-seung, Kim Ki-chang, Kim Man-hyung, Kim Yong-jin, Kim Eun-ho, Kim In-seung, Kim Jong-chan, Noh Soo-hyun, Park Young-sun, Park Won-soo, Bae Sung-seong, Son Eung-seong, Shim Hyung-gu, Yoon Hyo-joong, Lee Kun-young, Lee Guk-jeon, Lee Bong-sang, Lee Sang-beom, Lim Eung-gu, Jang Woo-seong, Jeong Jong-yeo, Ji Seong-ryeol, Hyun Jae-duk (in alphabetical order). 

Initially, 26 pro-Japanese artists were selected by the Pro-Japanese Personal Dictionary Compilation Committee, but Jeong Hyeon-woong and Song Jeong-hun were omitted due to the bereaved family’s petition and explanation. Afterwards, when the pro-Japanese dictionary app was created, Hyun Jae-deok, a writer who defected to North Korea, fell out and became the final 23 people.

Once the bridle of ‘pro-Japanese anti-national actors’ is put on, the writer and work in question are hit hard enough to be denied in their entirety. For example, the works of sculptor Kim Gyeong-seung (1915-1992) are being demolished one after another. The statue of Ahn Chang-ho in Dosan Park in 2003, the statue of Ahn Jung-geun in Namsan Mountain in Seoul in 2010, the statue of Yi Sun-sin at the National Assembly Building in Yeouido in 2015, and the statue of Jeon Bong-joon in the Hwangtohyeonjeok in Jeongeup, Jeonbuk in 2021 have been removed or replaced. It is only a matter of time before the 4·19 Revolution Monument in Suyu-dong and the statue of MacArthur in Incheon Freedom Park are demolished.

As such, the ‘pro-Japanese personal dictionary’ is a kind of sanctuary that no one can refute, as well as a killing department in the art world. However, it is argued that the standards for defining pro-Japanese artists are neither fair nor fair. Art critic Hwang Jeong-soo, who is the author of ‘Painters in Gyeongseong, Walking in Modern Times’ and ‘Japanese Painters Drawing Joseon,’ said, “To be fair, the same standard should be applied to everyone, and to be fair, the situation of the times and individual circumstances should be equally considered. He said that the pro-Japanese personal dictionary was arbitrarily selected based on limited data. It was also pointed out that the dictionary has not been re-evaluated at all, even though many new historical materials have been discovered in the 15th year since its publication.

Draw a picture from the rear to repay the kindness of the countryWhen art researchers in the modern period criticize pro-Japanese artists, the most problematic words are Chae-gwan-bo-guk (彩菅報國), Chae-pil-bo-guk (彩筆報國), Hwa-pil-bo-guk (畫筆報國), and Chonghu Art (銃後美術). Chae-Gwan, Chae-Pil, and Paintbrush all refer to ‘painting brushes’, meaning ‘to repay the favor of the country by drawing pictures’, and ‘Chonghu’ refers to the rear. Gu Bon-woong (1906-1952), a Western-style painter, was pointed out as a representative pro-Japanese artist by writing in the Maeil Shinbo in 1940, “Chaepil’s Confession of Patriotism.” However, it is more reasonable to view it as a language used daily during the Pacific War.

Mr. Hwang Jeong-soo showed an article about the actual practice of ‘Chae-gwan-bo-guk’. On August 10, 1943 of the Maeil Shinbo, ‘To the sincere consolation of the consolation staff under Kim In-seung of the Tokyo Art Association, who visited the Gyeongseong Military Hospital to comfort the white-clad warriors who were waiting and devoted to treatment with sketches for the day of re-repairing. The white-robed warriors forgot the heat and received consolation through art,’ and a list of 11 members of the consolation group were published. The leader, Western painter Kim In-seung (1910-2001), is the older brother of sculptor Kim Gyeong-seung, and both brothers are listed side by side in the pro-Japanese dictionary. At this time, oriental painters Cho Joong-hyun and Lee Yu-tae also participated.

Another important criterion for distinguishing pro-Japanese artists is whether or not they participated in the 1939 ‘Sino-Japanese War War Records Exhibition’, the ‘Bando Art Exhibition’ held twice in 1942 and 1943, and the ‘Decision Art Exhibition’ in 1944. An exhibition created to praise militarism and promote a war atmosphere during the Pacific War, Jo Jung-hyun and Lee Yu-tae exhibited and won prizes, but for some reason they were not identified as pro-Japanese artists.

Mr. Hwang Jeong-soo said, “There are about 70 Korean artists who have won prizes at the Gyeoljeon Art Exhibition, but unfortunately or fortunately, only the title is conveyed, but there is no painting plate. “It is an overly arbitrary and subjective criterion that if you win a big prize, you are actively pro-Japanese and if you win only one, you are passive pro-Japanese, or if you win in all three places, you are pro-Japanese and if you win only one place, you are not,” he said.

Anti-Japanese artist Kim Bok-jin, nationalist artist Park Soo-geun…In April, the Cheongju Museum of Art announced that Kim Young-won, who sculpted the statue of King Sejong in Gwanghwamun Square, was selected as the winner of the 1st Kim Bok-jin Art Award in 2023. Who is Kim Bok-jin (1901~1940)? Kim Bok-jin, a native of Cheongju, majored in sculpture at the Tokyo Fine Arts School, and has the record of being the first Korean to win a prize in the sculpture section of the Imperial Art Exhibition in 1924. After returning to Korea, he won several prizes in Joseon art exhibitions and became a major player in the Korean sculpture world. While working as an art teacher at his alma mater, Baejae High School, he played a leading role in founding the Joseon Proletarian Art Alliance (KAPF) along with his younger brother Palbong Kim Ki-jin, and was arrested . He served 5 years and 8 months in prison. His posthumous achievements were recognized, and in 1993 he was posthumously awarded the Patriotic Medal of the National Order of Merit. This is Kim Bok-jin, who is admired as an unrivaled ‘anti-Japanese artist’. However, it is not widely known that he made statues of Kim Dong-han, a subjugator of the independence army, Lee Won-ha, a “patriotic man” who died while bowing to the palace, pro-Japanese leader Park Yeong-cheol, and fiercely pro-Japanese Kim Yun-bok.

Western painter Jeong Hyun-woong (1911-1976), who was left off the pro-Japanese list at the last minute, consistently exhibited at Joseon Art Exhibitions from 1927 to 1940 and won awards, but he was active in the leftist movement in the space of liberation and defected to North Korea during the Korean War, so not many works remain. . Instead, he left more traces of pro-Japanese pro-Japanese than anyone else by drawing covers and illustrations for pro-Japanese magazines such as ‘Light of the Peninsula’, ‘New Generation’, ‘Little People’ and ‘Broadcast Ji-woo’ for a long time.

In 2022, Bae Won-jeong, a curator at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, published a thesis titled ‘The Rookie Painter Park Soo-geun’s debut-focused on his early art activities in Chuncheon and Pyongyang’ in the 54th issue of ‘Art History Review’. Many people were perplexed when the dissertation revealed the previously unknown pro-Japanese activities of Park Soo-geun (1914-1965) before 1945.

Until now, the evaluation of Park Soo-keun (1913-1965) was that he drew the most Korean materials, centered on his works since the 1950s, developed his own unique painting method by self-taught, and above all, was free from pro-Japanese ties. However, Park Soo-geun’s activities during the Japanese colonial period revealed in the thesis were rather close to active collaborators.

Park Soo-geun, from Chuncheon, gave up going to middle school because of his poverty, but was able to continue his art career with the support of those who recognized his talent. His representative supporter was Miyoshi Iwakichi, who was the head of the Gangwon Provincial Office. After Miyoshi moved to the Pyeongnam Provincial Office, he recommended Park Soo-geun as a social science clerk in 1938, where Park Soo-geun was put into production of ‘Paper Play’, one of the means of propaganda for the national policy of the Japanese Empire. 

The story of Miyoshi and Park Soo-geun was introduced as a ‘heartwarming heartwarming story’ in the Asahi Shimbun on August 15, 1939. Park Soo-geun worked at the Pyeongnam Provincial Office until the liberation, and in 1942 he submitted ‘Working Family’ under the name of Arai Jukon (新井壽根) to the Bando Chonghu Art Exhibition and won a prize. did the back

Is the frame of pro-Japanese art still valid?Following Kim Eun-ho’s ‘Nakcheong-heon’ in 1929, Cheongjeon Lee Sang-beom (1897-1972)’s ‘Cheongjeonsuk’ opened in 1933 and began to train students in earnest. Many artists who would represent the Korean art world were born under the disciples of the two teachers who participated as judges at the Joseon Art Exhibition, but they were also criticized for being pro-Japanese artists. Lee Sang-beom’s eldest son, Lee Kun-yeong (1922~?), also exhibited ‘The Pendulum of the Development Area’ at the Peninsula Art Exhibition in 1942 and ‘Challenge’ at the Gyeoljeon Art Exhibition in 1944, setting a record for both father and son to be listed in the pro-Japanese dictionary.

In Lee Kun-young’s pro-Japanese history, the ‘Maritime Defense Art Exhibition’ held in 1945 appears. It was an unfamiliar exhibition that ended as a one-time event, but it had a strong political color as it was held at the end of the Pacific War. Park Rae-hyeon (1920-1976) stood out as a Korean winner because she is the only Korean female artist to receive the award. The ‘Yojo Training’ submitted under the name of Kido Kazuhide (木戶一秀) won the Gyeongseong Region Naval Personnel Director’s Award. After Park Rae-hyeon changed her name to Chang in 1940, she received the Governor-General’s Award at the Joseon Art Exhibition in 1943 as a ‘head’ and was special selected as a ‘workshop’ at the 1944 decisive art exhibition.

Hwang Jeong-soo says that the reason for mentioning Kim Bok-jin, Lee Yu-tae, Jung Hyun-woong, Park Soo-geun, and Park Rae-hyun is not to expose and condemn their pro-Japanese pro-Japanese스포츠토토 activities, but to correct the wrong regulations on pro-Japanese artists.

“Those who participated in the regulation of pro-Japanese artists turn a blind eye to the pro-Japanese acts of Kim Bok-jin, Jeong Hyun-woong, and Park Soo-geun, and rather take the lead in promoting them. In addition, it is absurd to exclude Jung Hyeon-woong and Song Jeong-hoon at the end, and it is not fair to look after Park Deuk-soon and Kim Joong-hyun, pretend not to know Lee Yoo-tae, Cho Joong-hyun and Ahn Dong-suk, and not consider Park Rae-hyun. Based on this background, if you try to place Kim Bok-jin at the center of ‘artists with a will to resist Japan’, describe Jung Hyun-woong as ‘the center of North Korea’s subjective art’, and treat Park Soo-geun as if he were a ‘spontaneous people’s artist’ and make it the axis of Korean art contradictory and stupid On the contrary, Kim Eun-ho, Kim Ki-chang, and Jang Woo-sung, who are difficult to see as more pro-Japanese than these, are representative of the remnants of pro-Japanese pro-Japanese that need to be liquidated, and their achievements are often ignored.”

Hwang Jeong-soo insists that the pro-Japanese debate in the art world, which has not taken a step forward since the 2009 ‘Pro-Japanese Dictionary’, should be thoroughly reexamined.

“If there is no choice but to define even Park Soo-geun as a pro-Japanese artist, the history of pro-Japanese art in Korea may have to be discarded. Now, he thinks it is time to dismantle the frame of pro-Japanese art and move toward judging the merits and demerits by focusing on art rather than political action.

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