The June revolution of 1987 marked the end of long military rule in Korea. Korea began to strive towards democracy and diversify culturally. Socialism had failed and the dominance of capitalism around the globe became undeniable. Under such circumstances, literature paradoxically attacked philosophies that saw literature as a vehicle of social change. Literature began to lose its focus after decades of raging against an autocratic government. As the idea of a market economy expanded to include culture and information products, lifestyles also underwent changes. These changes turned the Korean cultural market into a self-regulating entity that pioneered its own market. In this process, literature was subsumed into the cultural market.
A literature of political imagination, which dominated the previous era, was relatively weakened, diminishing literature’s political and educational responsibility that had been the hallmark of Korean contemporary literature. In a world where there was nothing left to expose or be enraged about, literature had to re-examine its place in the world. The realm of a personal life thus far veiled behind group ideology emerged in the unfamiliar environment of an information-based society and routines of capitalism. New themes of personal worlds and the problems of living a cultural life emerged in the 1990s. Colorful themes such as a re-examination of the inner world, feminism and sexuality, exploring life in the city, relationships to popular culture, the digital environment, and cyberspace appeared for the first time. This signifies more than just an expansion of themes and topics but a diversification of literary awareness. A revolt broke out against literature’s responsibility to be an objective depiction of reality.