A Study on the North Korean's Modern Adaptation of the Classic Folktale

설화 <해와 달이 된 오누이>에 대한 북한의 현대적 수용 방식 고찰

  • 박재인 (건국대 통일인문학연구단) ;
  • 한상효 (건국대 통일인문학연구단)
  • Received : 2016.05.19
  • Accepted : 2016.06.22
  • Published : 2016.06.30


The North Korean animation is a puppet movie that is adapted The Brother and Sister Who Became the Sun and the Moon, a traditional Korean lore. The quality of this animation is acknowledged because of not only North Korea's considerably advanced animation technology but also the animation's retention of the folklore's traditional essence rather than intention to disseminate ideological propaganda. Nevertheless, the animation reveals the trasformation of its original purpose from general educative intentions for children to the educative concept of salvation by heaven is replaced by salvation by people and cultural education insteadof salvation by heaven. The appearance of the hero Jangsoe is the key adaptation of this animation, and it suggests the main principal of salvation lies in man rather than in heaven. Such adaptation complies with the requirements of children's literature suggested by the North Korea's literary history office. Furthemore the hero Jangsoe as the examplary figure of revolutionary self-reliance ideology and as a leader. Theory of self-reliance literature stipulates that children's literature is used for ideological education that develops people to be successors of revolutionary feats and become active workers for the construction of socialism and communism, therefore it is possible to understand the purpose of the adaptation to reflect the educational aims. This study investigates the change in meaning form the original folktale through such adaptation, and highlights problems related to limiting the meaning implied in "heaven's salvation" in the original story only to the vague meaning of religious hope. This vague implied meaning is considered as "an awareness activity to examine their own existence in the universe". With regard to this, the concept of heaven's salvation that is prevalent in the classic stories can be interpreted as a positive self-belief that enables the use of rationality in any helpless situation that cannot be understood with existing empirical knowledge. It considers that heaven expresses the power that exists in the human mind through self-viability and self-belief. This creates the power of reason in the character to fight against the evil disguised as the mother, in the absence of the real mother.


Supported by : 한국연구재단