Andrew David Jackson, Colette Balmain

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


In 2014, a cyber-attack on Sony Pictures led to a number of as-yet unreleased feature films appearing on online download sites. The ostensible cause was the Sony Pictures’ film The Interview (dir: Rogen and Goldberg, 2014) about an assassination attempt on the leader of North Korea (or the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, DPRK), Kim Jong-un. When FBI investigations traced the cyber-attack to DPRK hackers, a DPRK spokesman denied involvement, condemning the USA as ‘hostile’ (BBC News 2014). The incident reveals important aspects of media understanding concerning the two Koreas. South Korea’s Hallyu culture – a new wave of film, popular music, TV drama and online gaming – has brought the country significant international attention and has instilled much national pride. The hacking incident brought the DPRK considerable exposure, too, although the exposure was negative and unrelated to any DPRK cultural output. The cyber-attacks underline the fact that in terms of popular culture South Korea attracts western media attention for the right reasons while the DPRK attracts attention for all the wrong ones: South Korea’s creativity, innovation and profitability is pitted against the DPRK’s belligerence and propensity for destruction, and while South Korean screen cultural product is acclaimed globally, DPRK ouput remains an unknown quantity.

Screen culture – cinema, TV, pop music videos and computer gaming – plays a vitally important political function relating to the continued division of the Korean peninsula into two mutually antagonistic states.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationKorean Screen Cultures:
Subtitle of host publicationInterrogating Cinema, TV, Music and Online games
EditorsAndrew David Jackson, Colette Balmain
Place of PublicationOxford UK
PublisherPeter Lang Publishing
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9783035307825
ISBN (Print)9783034318228
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


  • Popular culture
  • North Korea
  • South Korea

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