UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A study of the development of sunjong manhwa by Hwang Mina, Kim Hyerin and Choi In-Sun Yoon, Yeowon


The main purpose of this thesis is to examine how today's sunjong manhwa (Korean girls' comic) writers are striving to free their works from the influence of shojo manga (Japanese girls' comic) that was predominant in the sunjong manhwa of the last few decades. The concept of the girls' comic is presumed to originate in Japan. To go over this issue specifically I have chosen to talk about the works of three Korean sunjong manhwa writers who are especially popular among today's readers. Before exploring the works of these three writers, the first two chapters address the history of the relationship between Japanese comics and Korean comics in general and the history of relationship between Japanese girls' comics and Korean girls' comics in particular. In Chapter Three, I review the aforementioned three writers and their works. The first writer, Hwang Mina, is like a godmother figure in the sunjong manhwa world who opened up the new possibilities for the sunjong manhwa''?, uniqueness. Hwang Mina had difficulty defining the ethnicity of her manhwa in her earlier works. Nevertheless, going through various stylistic stages in her work has enabled her to mature her idea of manhwa. The second writer, Kim Hyerin's case is slightly different from Hwang Mina's. Kim Hyerin does not believe in the theory of the autogenesis of cultural products. Instead she thinks it is very natural that ideas should be borrowed back and forth, including cross cultures. In fact, she tries to apply her theory of 'absorption-maturity-fermentation' to her works. The fact that the Japanese originated the concept of comics, her works are not Japanese any longer since she has developed it into her own style. The last writer, Choi In-Sun has written only a small number of short manhwa so far. Nevertheless, she plays a very important role in today's sunjong manhwa world as she has come up with very unique and distinctive styled works. Borrowing the theory of absorption-maturity-fermentation, I argue that the works of each writer represent a stage in this process. The progression that has been made from Hwang Mina's early works to the works of Choi In-Sun reflects how today's sunjong manhwa has become a firmly established subculture genre in the Korean manhwa world.

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