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Collaboration and Subversion—Reconsidering Colonial Era Cinema in “Tuition”(1940), online program

Frame from the movie "Tuition" (1940)


This online workshop centered around a discussion of the film Tuition, a late colonial period coproduction developed by Korean filmmakers under the jurisdiction of Japanese authorities. This film, long considered lost until it was rediscovered in China and restored by the Korean Film Archive in 2014, presents a rare and fascinating look into life in colonial Korea during a time of mass wartime mobilization. While certainly not bereft of nationalist (i.e., pro-Japanese) sentiment, the film is far from a straightforward piece of propaganda and even contains some unexpected elements that might be deemed subversive in relation to Japanese colonialism. We considered such questions as: How does the film depict colonial modernity and the role of Japanese education in fostering imperial subjects? What does the film say about the nature of cultural production under colonialism? Should this film be considered a work of Japanese cinema or Korean cinema or both?

This online program was open to current K-12 teachers. High school social studies, language arts and film studies teachers may find the content to be relevant for their classrooms. Participants needed to watch Tuition (approximately 90 minutes) prior to the workshop.

Date and Time

Tuesday, February 7, 2023 from 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm (PST).

Program Leader

Nathaniel Heneghan is an independent scholar, poet, playwright, and punk rock drummer based in Seattle, WA. He received his PhD from the University of Southern California, and his research examines the evolution of Zainichi Korean representation in literature and film from the colonial period to present. His current project explores notions of confession and “coming out” in recent Zainichi cultural production.

Program Benefits

  • Free 4 WA OSPI Clock Hours
  • Online access to the film
  • Online resources

This workshop was offered to K-12 educators free of charge thanks to a generous grant from the Freeman Foundation to the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA), and it was sponsored by the University of Washington’s East Asia Resource Center.