Struggling for Recognition of Sacrifice: A Case of the Older and Politically Conservative in South Korea

A/Prof. Gil-soo Han1

1Monash University, , Australia

The 2016/17 Candlelight Protesting is known as a civil revolution against the influence-peddling over President Park Geun-hye by her 40-year-long close confidante, Choi Soon-sil, the daughter of a cult leader Choi Tae-min. President Park was impeached in March 2017. There has been a strong counter-movement that was arguing for the innocence of President Park Geunhye and the void of her impeachment. They are called the national flag group or the national flag carriers (태극기 부대). They always carry both the Korean and the American national flags (and the Israelite). They attribute much of Korean economic development to the United States and the Japanese colonialism. These groups are politically conservative and partly related to the major opposition party, Liberty Korea Party (자유 한국당) and an extreme right-wing party, Our Republican Party (우리 공화당). There have been many speculative and theoretical studies of them. The paper empirically analyses the randomly selected 45 public speeches made during the 2016-17 national flag carriers’ campaigns and after. These are the grassroots voices. The conservatives have formed a closely united political force. In the Korean context, the national flag carriers are politically isolated from the rest of the Korean people on the one hand, but they are struggling to have their diligent toils for the nation’s economic development in the 1960s to 1980s recognised.


Gil-Soo Han is an Associate Professor of Communications and Media Studies in the School of Media, Film and Journalism at Monash University, Australia. His research interests include ethnicities, migration, ethnic media, religion, and health and nationalism/citizenship in Korea.
His recent book is Funeral Rites in Contemporary Korea: The Business of Death (Springer, 2019).



The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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