Smutty comic books are out. Animated cartoons will disappear from television screens. Too much golfing is frowned upon, and so are television dramas that have suggestive or immoral love themes.
All of these are elements of a sweeping cultural housecleaning being pressed with a puritanical zeal in South Korea, either by government edict or with official encouragement.
Coupled with the widespread-ad purges of politicians and high government officials, the cultural crackdown is bringing vast changes in the life of South Koreans, who have known censorship and guided scholarship most of their lives, but who have never before faced anything so sweeping.
Much of the housecleaning is anti-Western in tone, devoted to weeding out foreign influences and replacing them with native ones. Historians are advised to minimize foreign sources for their writings and emphasize Korean works.
"Scholars in Korea are using too many quotations from foreign sources and are reluctant to use good sources of our own," Seoul National University Prof. Lee Sang Chu said on a television panel show prepared under government auspices. "We must get out of the trend of depending on foreign powers."
The cultural purification campaign is traceable to South Korea's military-backed Special Committee for National Security Measures, which has run the country since May. Its edicts have resulted in the arrests of thousands of politicians and office holders and the temporary detention in education camps of more than 30,000 small-time hoodlums and gangsters.
Those arrests were followed by the major cultural changes, supposedly enacted voluntarily by organizations in the mass media, publishing, universities, and other fields. Even popular singers are not immune. A group of them recently resolved at a "purification rally" that entertainers would "lead the van in creating a bright society in a bright era."
Culture and Information Minister Lee Kwang Pyo describes the dismissal of thousands of government employes and some of the cultural changes as a necessary reformation of a society that suffered increasing "corruption" in recent years. "We need a housecleaning operation to prepare for the new order," Lee said in an interview.
Television stations were showing too much of the Western imports, such as serial dramas and space-age movies, and producers had begun closely copying Japanese television family serials, visible on screens in the southern part of the country accessible to Japanese broadcasts, Lee said. He has encouraged producers to change and expects there will be more distinctly Korean productions next month.
Lee said he does not regard the "Westernization" of Korea as a serious problem. "But I do worry about too much Westernization in our social life," he added. "Like the television dramas, and there are lots of films imported from America."
One theme that reappears in the new cultural line is a virtual ban on depicting life in a way that accentuates class divisions. Three weeks ago Lee's ministry canceled the registration of 172 weekly and monthly publications said to be "obscene, vulgar, and instigating social confusion and creating a mood of class consciousness." Many of them were smutty comic books, but the edict also had an ideological edge. Magazines published by recognized journalists and at least one prominent dissident went out with the mass-circulation books.
Lee explained that there was concern that a "communist ideology" might penetrate the younger generation with emphasis on class divisions. He acknowledged that the country faces a problem of "relative poverty" despite its remarkable economic gains in the 1970s.
The South Korean press already has pledged a self-cleansing operation that would elminate "harmful elements" and promised to "put national interests above all else." About 250 writers have been dismissed and a new "education" campaign for journalists initiated.
Many of the fired journalists had protested press censorship by martial law authorities. Their ousting goes far beyond the occasional dismissal, on government orders, of journalists unpopular with the regime of the late president Park Chung Hee.
Big business interests have been left largely unscathed by the anti-corruption campaign but commercial leaders have been warned to avoid the sort of lavish entertainment and leisure activities that might incite criticism from those left behind in the country's economic revolution.
Long evenings in Seoul's famous kisaeng houses, where pretty hostesses served and sometimes provided sexual favors, are now frowned on. So is the excessive playing of golf, and businessmen report that most of the courses are empty these days.
"Business leaders have agreed to behave more moderately by avoiding the overexposure of their wealth," Cultural Minister Lee said, "but we don't propose to take away their wealth."
Television stations have agreed not to show programs that give detailed descriptions of luxurious urban lives because is is feared they would foster class divisions.
Television networks will switch to cultural shows and science-related ones. Under guidelines adopted by the Korean Broadcasting Association, each television network will be restricted to one 25-minute serial drama each day.