Thank You for the Music

After World War II ended, and with it Japan's 36-year occupation of the Korean peninsula, a sturdy bamboo curtain descended in the Sea of Japan. South Korea banned the import of just about all things Japanese, from transistors to seaweed. Most of those restrictions were retired upon diplomatic normalization in 1965, but one was maintained: South Koreans were not allowed to buy Japanese pop music, view Japanese films or otherwise enjoy Japan's rising output of popular culture.

The curtain is finally lifting. Last week Seoul announced the ban would be removed on Jan. 1, 2004 (although a decision...

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