Now on My Way to Meet You: TV show aims to bring North and South Korea closer
In this paper, we ask how Now on My Way to Meet You is to be understood within the contexts of South Korean society, its evolving media. But this is Now On My Way To Meet You, one of the most popular, primetime shows on South Korean TV, and which exclusively stars North. A talk show with a panel of women from North Korea who are now South Korean citizens. Tags Nam Hee-seok, Park Eun-hye, On My Way to Meet You, variety.
Hackneyed shots of goose-stepping soldiers are included as well, carrying with them the implicit subtext that the decisions of an uncaring regime to prioritize military needs extended the scale of disaster.
The video returns to discussion of the Arduous March period through the memories of the panelists, and does not stint on a continued backdrop of sentimental music to tug at viewer heartstrings. The show takes advantage of personal tales of food deprivation and malnutrition to render the suffering viscerally affecting; Jo hangs his head in dismay when he hears from a panelist that of the forty children in her school class, fully fifteen could not attend school because of hunger.
Now on Our Way to Meet Who? The inherent contradictions in the core characteristics of Imangap become perhaps most evident when one examines the strategies used for the final minutes of each episode. In a recent paper, however, Oh Indeed, dominant media representations of North Koreans in South Korea fail to acknowledge that a substantial percentage of border-crossers actively select both the time and place of their departure from North Korea, and that they do so to meet specific life goals, such as obtaining education in South Korea, and utilize the human capital they have available to access opportunity in China and South Korea Kim In this section a regular panelist, or, more frequently, a third party, explains what she or even, occasionally, he has achieved since arriving in South Korea, and how.
For example, Episode 41 introduces a woman who owns and operates a Korean restaurant with a menu of dishes, and Episode 46 presents another who, driven by the desire to provide her young daughter with a better life, worked night and day to build up a micro-empire of convenience stores. The lurching between the two poles highlights the broader uncertainties that underpin Imangap. The talbuk seuteori of Lee Sun-sil in Episode 28 is anomalous for a variety of reasons.
Refugees rarely come from the North Korean capital, and those that do find themselves viewed with suspicion within their community, facing assumptions that that they must have done something wrong that made them feel a need to escape the showpiece capital Green and Park Lee answers that the money she earned from her daily work with the military had become insufficient to buy even a kilo of rice on the open market.
Defector TV: the North Korean escapees who sparked a reality show craze
Furthermore, she suffered from domestic violence at the hands of her husband. The high emotional tenor of the narrative, which is packed with tragic events, continues as Lee reveals how she had to give birth on the street near a train station in a Ryanggang Province border city.
Menacing sound effects are added, and periodic cutaways engage empathy for the pathos of her narrative: Lee explains how she was eventually able to cross into China for good. Sharp intakes of breath from others in the studio audience, however, elevated in the mix, greet the news that she immediately fell victim to human traffickers, and was deceived into selling her child for a trivial sum. The narrative then moves to South Korea, whereupon Lee attempts to convey the ongoing nightmare that her life has become as a result of her experience of defection, repatriation, torture and the loss of her child in China.
The display of the gift also cements a narrative moral framework. At this point Lee turns away from the host and directly to the camera and apostrophizes her absent daughter, underscored by subtitles that follow her words and make an explicit connection between her incompleteness and that of the nation: I want to see you wherever you are. Like the heart of your mother who longs for unification to happen soon, please wait for unification and your mother.
At a more personal level, however, narratives in Geu sarami bogo sipda are characterized by more ambiguous and abstract senses of separation, in that many people are trying to reconstruct dim memories of how they came to be separated from other family members. In Imangap separation is recent and sharp, the grief often searingly fresh. Presentation of a gift to an absent loved one.
The caption reads "A box of rice cakes filled with yearning for a daughter.
Now On My Way to Meet You - Wikipedia
Cameras are also positioned differently: Talbuk seonggong stories rarely speak of the time spent in North Korea, whereas a talbuk seuteori is about little else. For example, one successful woman reveals that she has hundreds of bank accounts, the better to build her savings, and presents her many bankbooks as evidence.
The tale of Kim Su-jin in Episode 46 offers a representative example of talbuk seonggong. Kim explains her desire to appear on the show as she begins to speak: Nonetheless, she says nothing about her former life in North Korea or her defection process. Rather, she focuses solely on her arrival in South Korea with very little, and her subsequent step-by-step building of a profitable convenience store business.
She relates how after she left Hanawon, the state-run resettlement training center for North Korean defectors, she received a government-allotted apartment from the South Korean government, as do other refugees, and then worked at her first job as a gas station attendant for three months. During this period she claims that both she and her young daughter felt content. Perturbed that this state of affairs suggested that she was not fulfilling her duties as a mother properly, Kim soon persuaded the owner of a small convenience store to let her manage the establishment, and has since gone on to operate a string of similar stores.
The shift represents a rejoinder to many of the critiques cited earlier in Oh These new elements in the show are now presenting a vision of how the integration of that community into South Korean society might be achieved. Conclusion Imangap has yet to escape controversy. Given heavy-handed government media initiatives promoting a limited vision of immigrant integration and South Korean multiculturalism, active Ministry of Unification support for the production of Imangap and other shows concerning North Korea hardly inspires confidence that a balanced portrayal of North Korean people, including those who have made their way across the border, will result.
Imangap is broadcast under the auspices of the staunchly conservative Dong-A media conglomerate, and criticism of the show has been launched by Hankyoreh, the standard-bearer of the left, for converting North Korean reality into entertainment Choe Certainly, the daily Dong-A Ilbo, and its ideological brethren, the Chosun Ilbo and Joongang Ilbo, are drawn to material about talbukja: The ongoing repetition of these details has experienced a noteworthy recrudescence in such everyday practices as television consumption since the demise of the Sunshine Policy.
This phenomenon reminds us of the functioning of banal examples of collective identity formation Billig in South Korea that rely upon North Korea as an Other against which visions of the nation can take shape, even as its demographics evolve. Our analysis of segments from the show partially reinforces concerns about a lack of balance in representation: Imangap plays up the namnam bungnyeo trope, depicts North Korea alternately as a quaint backwater and a ruthless dictatorship, and seeks to arouse sympathy for the people of North Korea even at the expense of accuracy.
For these reasons, among others, some talbukja, including a former panelist interviewed by one of the co-authors, feel that the show ought to leave the s and early s in particular where they are: The informant avoids appearing on the show now, citing concerns over the image of defectors and the defection process that it fosters. And yet, as the juxtaposition of talbuk seuteori and talbuk seonggong suggests, it is equally possible for Imangap to give more balanced, nuanced and non-judgmental portrayals of North Koreans.
The show has proven that it does not inherently require that defectors be portrayed as downtrodden victims, the better to emphasize the evils of the North Korean government. In short, Imangap evinces palpably schizophrenic attitudes.
On one hand, it clearly wishes to highlight a dongjilseong homogeneity of the peoples of the two Koreas. In contrast to Misuda, its presentation of its panelists as intriguingly exotic objects of desire can also draw on imaginations and displays of linguistic, cultural and genetic commonality to foster closeness.
Like such programs as Love in Asia, then, Now on My Way to Meet You contributes to developing a discourse of diversity that both acknowledges and supports changes in the fabric of South Korean society during the second decade of the 21st century. An essential difference, however, lies in the ability of Imangap to call upon sites of shared cultural memory as glue for binding North Korean migrants more tightly to the host community. This strategy intersects with the namnam bungnyeo trope to, quite literally, engender a hierarchical Othering tajahwa that emphasizes the yawning gap that remains between North and South and encode it as a difference between a strong masculine nation seeking to play the role of protector and its weak feminine counterpart.
The two overarching approaches are scarcely compatible. This schizophrenia is not merely a product of media manipulation, although such manipulation is a concern. Rather, it points to deeper societal quandaries. In the last 15 years, South Korea experienced a decade of the Sunshine Policy, under which previously unimaginable depictions of North Korea and North Koreans emerged.
More recently, the country lived out five years of rigidly conservative government, with the prospect of five more under the current administration. This latter era has seen a return to suspicion of North Korean motivations at the highest levels of South Korean government, and with just cause; Pyongyang has frittered away much of the lingering sympathy it retained in South Korean society through repeated provocations.
Ultimately, fluctuations in media images of North Koreans have not brought South Korea closer to coming to terms with its internal social divisions, much less the division with its northern neighbor.
The inability of Imangap to convey a unitary approach toward North Korea is a reflection of not just contestation but confusion and ambivalence in South Korean society.
The Sunshine Policy may have opened up new vistas for screen representations of North Koreans in South Korea, but it did not answer a more serious question: Associate Professor Stephen J. He has published widely on contemporary Korean society, popular media and literature and has translated numerous works of Korean and Indonesian fiction. Recent full-length publications include Complicated Currents: Green is a Ph.
D candidate studying North Korean society and economics at the University of Cambridge. He has been studying and writing about the country for more than 10 years, and recently translated and edited NK People Speak,a translation of in-depth interviews with North Korean citizens Zeitgeist, New Cinemas 8 1: During each episode, while guests share horrifying stories about life in the Northsuch as being starved and forced to wet themselves when they were children training for mass games, or living off garbage, or about their experiences of being tortured, four male celebrities off-to-the-side comment and occasionally make cheeky comments.
Torture and the tele In one episode last year, when asked by the whos who had seen a public execution, all 14 guests replied in the affirmative. Then the State Security soldiers brought them to the two tall stakes that were already there and tied them up and the six soldiers started shooting. Whimn The show, which has been on air sincehas made bona fide celebrities out of some of the defectors. Perhaps the most famous is Yeonmi Park who used her profile to become an activist on the global state and penned an international best seller about her experiences.
Similarly, it was only a few years ago that Chanyang Joo was fighting for survival after escaping from the North and being imprisoned in China. There are nearly 30, defectors from North Korea living in the South, mostly in the country's capital, Seoul. Life in the free world can be an immense challenge for Northerners who have never encountered many simple things like coffee machines or different sorts of bread. Whimn The response has not only been huge ratings but an outpouring of emotion from Southerners.
Family ties The show also helps Northerners find and reconnect with long-lost family members.