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Sing Modern Chosǒn: Korean Jazz Song in the 1930s

Eujeong Zhang, Dankook University
Eu-jeong Zhang
Tuesday, May 6, 2014 - 3:30pm
Allen Auditorium, Allen Library

In the first half of the 20th century, Korean popular songs included T’ŭrot’ŭ, Sin-minyo (folk songs), Manyo (comedic songs) and Jazz song. Of these, Jazz song signified genuine Jazz as well as songs influenced by Western music. Unlike contemporary T’ŭrot’ŭ music, Korean Jazz song—which “modern girls” and “modern boys” enjoyed in the first half of the 20th century—has rarely received attention from either scholars or general public until now. As hymn and military band music show, however, Western music affected Korean music before Japanese music did. The 1930s was called “the golden age of the record” because a lot of records were released during that time. This presentation examines the definition and representative Jazz works. In addition, I will present several contemporary Jazz song covers from the 1930s.

Eujeong Zhang is Associate Professor in the Center of General Education at Dankook University. She received her PhD in Korean Literature from Seoul National University, with a focus on popular Korean music during the Japanese colonial period, and specializes in oral literature, popular music, and popular culture. Her books include Oppa nŭn p’unggakchaengi ya: taejung kayo ro pon kŭndae ŭi p’unggyŏng (Minŭm in, 2006), Tapang kwa k’ap’e, modŏn poi ŭi ajit’ŭ (Sallim, 2008), Kŭndae taejung kayo ŭi chisok kwa pyŏnmo (Somyong, 2012), and Kŭndae taejung kayo ŭi maech’e wa munhwa (Somyong, 2012). Dr. Zhang received the Platform Cultural Review Awards for her review of Yu Jaeha (Korean singer) from Incheon Foundation for Arts & Culture in 2009 and in November 2013 produced the album, 장유정이 부르는 모던 조선: 1930년대 재즈송 ZHANG Eujeong Sings Modern Jo-Sun: Korean Jazz Songs in the 1930s.

This event is sponsored by the UW Center for Korea Studies. For more information, please call 206-543-4873, email or visit

To request disability accommodations, contact the Disability Services Office at least ten days in advance of the event: 206-543-6450 or email