Sunday, October 13, 2013

GTA Gyeong Seong

For those Korean history buffs out there, SNL Korea made a sequel to their "GTA Joseon" skit called "GTA Gyeong Seong," which showcases a hypothetical GTA game that takes place during the Japanese colonization of Korea. Check it out: it's also pretty hilarious, even if you don't understand the language . . .

For those of you who don't know, back in the pre-WWII days after the Meiji restoration, Japan had managed to build up a pretty impressive empire in a relatively short period of time. And like most empires, they decided they wanted to expand and had their sights set on their nearest neighbour -- the Korean peninsula. It just so happened that there was a peasant uprising in Korea (then called Joseon) at the time (this was around 1894). Eventually the rebellion got too much for the Joseon government to handle and they petitioned their old buddy China to send military aid. It took China a little while to respond, and Japan ended up catching wind of the situation and decided this was a pretty good opportunity to get a foothold on the peninsula.

A painting of the donghak rebels.
So Japan hopped over to Joseon and essentially quelled the rebellion alongside Joseon forces. It was all rather successful; only, after the whole business of the rebellion was settled, Japan didn't leave. Instead Japan built up a significant presence on the peninsula and started exercising its power to change a number of things. It started out with trading and the opening of ports and what-not but eventually resulted in the full annexation of Korea in 1910 (this whole process was fairly gradual, but explaining all these events in detail would take several posts). This brings us to Korea's Japanese colonial period, which lasted from 1910 to about 1945. During this time, as with most colonial regimes, many injustices were committed against the colonized, and Korean people were regularly exploited for the benefit of the Japanese motherland. If you've ever wondered why Korea doesn't seem all that fond of Japan, then this is a good time to start reading about.

Some Korean independence fighters posing in Manchuria. 
Anyway, Gyeong Seong was the name of Seoul during the Japanese occupation and the SNL Korea sketch is based on that, which is why the police and army guys are all speaking Japanese and wearing Japanese imperial uniforms. I love historical comedy and this particular sketch is quite entertaining, though quite a bit more esoteric than the last one. Check it out, though!

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