Education About Asia: Online Archives

YMCA Yagudan: (YMCA Baseball Team)

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Although much that is written about Korean popular culture has revolved around Korean television drama, pop music, and film, a less explored arena is the relationship between sports and popular culture and history and popular culture. The film YMCA Baseball Team, a historical drama, presents the arrival of baseball in Korea in 1905 by showing how Koreans encountered and learned to play this new sport. Humor and physical comedy are used to highlight the ways in which Koreans learned about the new game, and how they eventually came to make it their own. At the same time, the film explores a more complex historical topic of Japanese colonialism and nationalism through baseball. One of the most valuable lessons that could be organized around this film is that contemporary popular culture is not just about “today” but about the past, and about how the past is still part of contemporary popular culture.