Music and Politics in the May 18 Gwangju Movement, South Korea Open Access

Lee, Sang-Eun (2010)

Permanent URL:


Music and Politics in the May 18 Gwangju Movement, South Korea
By Sang-Eun Lee
May 18, 1980 marked the beginnings of a democratic movement in Gwangju, a city in the southwestern region of South Korea. Comprising primarily of residents of the Gwangju area, this movement was the community's protest against the country's military regime, under the dictatorship of General Jun Doo Hwan from 1980 to 1988. Music played an important role in this movement in terms of sustaining the spirit of resistance, affirming the movement's significance in the context of other international protest events, and in educating the general Korean population, particularly the younger generation born after the movement, about an important period in Korean political history that eventually marked a shift from military dictatorship (1980-1993) to civil democracy (from 1994 onwards). Furthermore, music that was composed after the movement helped to legitimize May 18 Gwangju movement and helped the movement become an international event through Gwangju annual concert, sponsored by The May 18 Memorial Foundation. In this way, music helped to transform the meanings and values of the May 18 Gwangju movement from an event in southwest Korea to a nationally, and even internationally recognized movement.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Title Page



Table of Contents

List of Figures


Chapter 1: Music During the May 18 Gwangju Movement...14

Chapter 2: Music After the May 18 Gwangju movement...29

Chapter 3: Gwangju Annual Concert...47



Works Cited...70

List of Figures

Figure 1: Gwangju City Hall in 2009...1
Figure 2: Art Exhibition in Gwangju City Hall...2
Figure 3: Protesting in Gwangju May 18, 2009...2
Figure 4: Commemorative Concert 2009 in front of City Hall...3
Figure 5: Score of Get Away Jun Doo Hwan...15
Figure 6: Score of Battle Hymn of the Republic...17
Figure 7: Score of The Song of May...21
Figure 8: Score of Jindo arirang...25
Figure 9: Score of Korean National Anthem...26
Figure 10: Twosa Hwebo on May 20, 1980...31
Figure 11: Dong-A Il Bo (National Newspaper) on May 27, 1980...31
Figure 12: North American Coalition for Human Rights on July 1980...32
Figure 13: Score of Old Soldier's song...34
Figure 14: Score of Oh, Gwangju, the cross of the people...37
Figure 15: Score of March for My Lady...39
Figure 16: Score of Exemplum in Memorium Kwangju...42
Figure 17: Glissando Technique in Yun Isang's Exemplum in Memorium Kwangju...43
Figure 18: The 2009 Gwangju Annual Concert Skit...49
Figure 19: Human Rights Performance Art by Ming Nin in 2009...51
Figure 20: The 2009 Gwangju Annual Concert (Ahn Chi Hwan's Performance)...52
Figure 21: The 2009 Gwangju Annual Concert (Shin Young Bok's Talk Show)...55

About this Honors Thesis

Rights statement
  • Permission granted by the author to include this thesis or dissertation in this repository. All rights reserved by the author. Please contact the author for information regarding the reproduction and use of this thesis or dissertation.
  • English
Research field
Committee Chair / Thesis Advisor
Committee Members
Last modified

Primary PDF

Supplemental Files