Prior studies about ‘benshi’ during the Japanese colonial rule have a tendency to either focus on the status of benshi in the film industry and culture, or to concentrate on the regulation of colonial power over benshi. As these studies were mostly based on the press and media by the Joseon people, it was difficult to grasp the recognition of benshi by the Japanese settlers living in the colonial Joseon and the perspective of the Japanese government-general towards the regulation of benshi. There is little discussion on how the Japanese government-general ‘utilized’ the use of benshi, who was the key element to box office success, as a tool of political propaganda.
In this paper, I will review the film policy of the Ministry of Education in Japan which utilized the box office success factor ‘benshi’ for social reform and education. Then I will discuss how this movie policy of the Ministry of Education reflected upon that of the colonial Joseon, focusing on the articles of “Chosen Koron”, the magazine issued by the Japanese settlers in Joseon.