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Youth for NationCulture and Protest in Cold War South Korea$
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Charles R. Kim

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780824855949

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824855949.001.0001

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4.19 as Authorized Protest

4.19 as Authorized Protest

(p.137) Chapter Five 4.19 as Authorized Protest
Youth for Nation

Charles R. Kim

University of Hawai'i Press

April 19th erupted in response to the corruption, misgovernment, and electoral violations of the Syngman Rhee regime. This chapter documents the ways in which students utilized school-based resources and the script for extraordinary vanguard action in staging the surprising protests of February, March, and April 1960. The vanguard schema, as a cornerstone of South Korea’s postcolonial discourse, furnished student demonstrators with nation-centered legitimacy that was bolstered by the victimization of high school student Kim Chuyŏl. Confirmation that Kim had been killed in the brutal police suppression of an early protest sparked the final – and most intense – round of student demonstrations in mid-April, including the massive protest in Seoul on April 19. The fierce public outcry forced Syngman Rhee to resign from office on April 27. By way of closing, this chapter reveals that actions and interpretations of April 19th reproduced the core ideological division between authorized liberal nationalism and unauthorized communism.

Keywords:   April Revolution, discourse, flashbulb memory, ideology, narrative, nationalism, protest theater, social movement, students, youth

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