In the 1950s the prevailing discussions within South Korean society were about the formation of a nation-state and the process of post-war reconstruction. Composers were no exception to this trend, and most of the leading composers of the 1950s participated in the rebuilding of the country with their music through Kungmingaech’angundongch’ujinhoe (The Association for the All-Citizen Singing Campaign, 國民皆唱運動推進會). Partaking in the All-Citizen Singing Campaign was an opportunity for the composers to be involved in cultural politics and broaden their relationship with
audiences rather than using their music for art’s sake. Interested in boosting the nation’s morale during the difficulties of reconstruction, these composers turned their attention to the genre of shinminyo (new folk songs, 新民謠). It is generally believed by scholars that shinminyo, a hybrid popular music type derived from Korean folk songs, tended to be consumed as limited musical entertainment in the 1950s, without serious engagement in contemporary social
issues. However, a close look into the music from the campaign provides a new understanding of shinminyo in the 1950s: composers considered shinminyo an important contemporary genre whose indigenous Korean musical elements made it a valuable tool for musical nationalism. In order to contextualize these discussions, I
analyze articles in newspapers and magazines along with the music itself. In this paper, the book Inaemom Pach’iri (Devotion to the Country), which was published by the Association for the All-Citizen Singing Campaign in 1958, is introduced and explained in detail. By looking closely at this songbook in addition to referencing discourses
in the 1950s and previous research on the singing campaign, this analysis provides a new insight into the significance of the campaign from a musical and cultural perspective.