Arirang: How did the folk music promote solidarity during a period of colonization and diaspora

Jeongwon Yang, Sun Hee Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The paper discusses how a form of folk music had promoted solidarity during a diaspora. Through examining a case of Arirang, a Korean folk music, it demonstrates how the specific elements of folk music instigated national sentiment of "han" and a shared cultural identity. It also deals with a particular period of Japanese colonization, which lasted from 1910 to 1945, and its colonial policies to annihilate Korea historical and cultural root which portrays how the role of folk music had expanded under an imperialist regime. Furthermore, the paper claims that during the Japanese colonization period, New Arirang, a modernized version of the folk song, Arirang, was a unifying medium among Koreans who were displaced to different countries as laborers under the Japanese rule. By exploring how the folk song had been modified into a modern version and had served a different cultural function during a political turmoil, the paper emphasizes the role of soft power and folk culture in a politically and culturally fractured society. The paper concludes that Arirang raised a solidarity among the people of a colonized nation, by awakening their cultural root based on its attributes as a folk music, being a cultural tool for the Japanese resistance movement, and reminding a wide spectrum of colonized people from ordinary farmers to displaced laborers and political activists of national sentiment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10599-10609
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Applied Business and Economic Research
Issue number15
StatePublished - 2016


  • Arirang
  • Colonization
  • Diaspora
  • Folk music
  • Solidarity


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