Get ready to learn about some Korean history that shaped the country with this list of best Korean historical documentaries. When the Korean entertainment industry is winning hearts everywhere, it is the best choice to learn about the country and culture. Documentary series and films are the ones that enhance the knowledge of any topics and themes.
If you dive deep into the big Korean wave, learning about the country’s history and culture is best. Here are some historical documentary shows that will enrich your knowledge of Korean history, people, and culture. The list consists mostly of war and people’s experiences and what the country went through in the past. Here are six documentaries that are available to stream on various streaming sites.
6 Korean Historical Documentaries to Learn More About Korea:
1. Korean War in Color (2001)
About Korean War in Color:
Just like the title suggests, the 2001 documentary film contains color footage. There is footage from the 1950s that includes some important historical moments of the Korean War. It includes the Inchon invasion, winter at the Chosin Reservoir, the rise and fall of Seoul, the bombing raid on a North Korean industrial complex, and many more bombing scenes with soldiers in action.
- Writer: Christopher Cassel
Korean War in Color is available to stream on YouTube.
2. Unforgettable: The Korean War (2010)
About Unforgettable: The Korean War
In this one-hour documentary TV series, the Korean war veterans share their experiences in the so-called “forgotten” war. Many young men were sent off to America to defend their country against the Red armies of North Korea. The documentary includes archival footage and interviews of the veterans that recall the past experiences of the war between two countries that never ended.
- Director: Tom Kleespie
You can buy Unforgettable: The Korean War from Amazon and stream it on YouTube.
3. The Battle of Chosin (2016)
About The Battle of Chosin:
The battle of Chosin Reservoir is one of the bloodiest and most intense battles of the Korean War. The documentary contains interviews with more than 20 veterans, mainly from America and their horrible experiences of battle in the cold temperature.
When the American-led UN was leading and marching North Korea, they suddenly got a surprise attack from the People’s Republic of China, led by Mao Zedong. First Marine Division and a few thousand army soldiers suddenly found themselves outnumbered and surrounded by large Chinese troops in the Chosin reservoir. The documentary also features archival footage and analysis from historians that uncover the 17-day-long horrible battle of the UN army in the cold sub-arctic temperature.
- Director: Randall MacLowry
Stream it on Amazon Prime and PBS.
4. Factory Complex (2014)
About Factory Complex:
As it reflects the current lives of women workers in Cambodia and Vietnam, the documentary reveals the resemblance of the Korean women working in poor environments 40 years ago. When South Korea saw a sudden economic development, it shocked the whole world. The secret behind this is the harsh working experience of marginalized female laborers.
This documentary unveils the oppression of female workers who worked in the textile industry in the 1960s. The documentary also includes stories of flight attendants, cashiers, and some regular workers of the present day. As the current situation of Cambodian and Vietnamese female workers resembles the Korean labor history, it is apparent that times have changed, but the labor form still remains the same.
- Director: Im Heung-soon
You can stream it on Kanopy.
5. Dear Pyongyang (2005)
About Dear Pyongyang:
In this documentary, a daughter of Korean-Japanese descendant, Yang, tries to understand his father’s devotion to the country of North Korea. Her father was an extreme communist who believed in Marxist ideologies and a pro-North movement in Japan. In the 1970s, he sends his three sons to Pyongyang, North Korea.
As the only daughter in the family, she had to stay home in Japan. But North Korea’s economic condition worsened, and they had to survive. The documentary shows Yang’s multiple visits to Pyongyang to her brothers and films the daily life of the secretive country. He also recorded her father’s ideological views of the country and regretted his poor choice.
- Director: Yang Yonghi
Stream it on Amazon Prime.
6. Jeronimo (2019)
The documentary focuses on the life of a Korean-Cuban man named Jeronimo Lim Kim, who joined the Cuban Revolution alongside his classmate Fidel Castro. His parents are Korean immigrants freed from indentured servitude in the early 1920s. He joined the Cuban Revolution, worked with Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, and became a successful government official in the Castro regime.
However, in his later life, he dedicated himself to rediscovering his ethnic root and understanding his Korean-Cuban identity. After his death, his legacy lived on among the young people of Korean-Cuban descendants.
- Director: Joseph Juhn
You can stream it on Amazon Prime.