Joint Security Area (JSA) is a South Korean film which deals with the relationship between North Korea and South Korea. In the film, two North Korean soldiers are murdered near the border. Sophie, an officer from the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission, investigates the incident. With evidence and information, she tries to find the truth of the incident. In JSA, the incident takes a place in 1999. North Korea and South Korea have been divided after the Korean War ends in 1953. Although around 50 years passed after the division, its influences remain and the film describes them. This paper is going to argue how JSA deal with the North Korean people and prospects of Korean reunification with referring to other resources.
First of all, with comparing to Know Your Enemy: Japan, I am going to argue how JSA describes the North Korean people. Know Your Enemy: Japan is a documentary film made in 1945, in order to encourage hostility toward the Japanese people. The film emphasizes the “oneness” of Japanese people. For example, the film uses scenes of the Japanese people working hard while a narrator explains that everyone in Japan has the same ambition to conquer the world. Thus, because the film suggests all Japanese have the same willing to conquer the world, everyone in Japan is described as the enemy. In War Without Mercy, Dower affirms that The War Department deleted references to “free-thinking” Japanese from Know Your Enemy: Japan and emphasized the point that the Japanese people are “an obedient mass with but a single mind” (19-20). Thus, in order to reduce sympathy for the Japanese people, The War Department purposely omitted from Know Your Enemy: Japan the description of the Japanese people controlled by their leaders. Know Your Enemy: Japan describes the Japanese people as strange and different from “us.”
Conversely, JSA describes the North Korean people as not different from the South Korean people. In other words, unlike Know Your Enemy: Japan, the film does not try to reduce sympathy to North Korea. The film portrays the North Korean people as usual human beings, like the South Korean people. They have their own emotion, mind, and “free-thinking” in JSA. For example, while one North Korean officer tries to kill South Korean soldiers, Oh Kyung-pil, a North Korean soldier, saves South Korean soldiers even though they are enemies. In addition, North and South Korean soldiers play games, talk about their lovers, exchange their addresses, and take a picture together. JSA depicts no difference among them. Thus, while Know Your Enemy: Japan describes that the Japanese people are different from “us” in order to reduce sympathy to them, JSA portrays the North Korean people as similar to “us.” JSA suggests that there is no different nationality between North Korea and South Korea.
Secondly, I am going to argue how JSA describes the prospects for Korean reunification. In the film, South Korean soldiers and North Korean soldiers have friendship. Oh...