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Korean Masculinities and Transcultural Consumption

Yonsama, Rain, Oldboy, K-Pop Idols

Sun Jung

Publication Year: 2011

South Korean masculinities have enjoyed dramatically greater influence in recent years in many realms of pan-Asian popular culture, which travels freely in part because of its hybrid trans-nationalistic appeal. This book investigates transcultural consumption of three iconic figures — the middle-aged Japanese female fandom of actor Bae Yong-Joon, the Western online cult fandom of the thriller film Oldboy, and the Singaporean fandom of the pop-star Rain. Through these three specific but hybrid contexts, the author develops the concepts of soft masculinity, as well as global and postmodern variants of masculine cultural impacts. In the concluding chapter, the author also discusses recently emerging versatile masculinity within the transcultural pop production paradigm represented by K-pop idol boy bands.

Published by: Hong Kong University Press, HKU

Series: TransAsia: Screen Cultures


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List of Figures

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p. viii

Notes on the Usage of the Korean Language

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p. ix

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1. Korean Popular Culture and Transcultural Consumption: Globalized Desires between “Ours and Others”

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pp. 1-33

South Korean popular culture has circulated globally since the late 1990s. Broadly, its global popularity can be observed in two major cultural phenomena: Hallyu (한류, 韓流), which is more evident in the Asian region; and cult fandom of the Korean genre film, which is more evident in the West.² The literal translation of Hallyu is “Korean Wave” and this term refers to the regional popularity of South...

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2. Bae Yong-Joon, Soft Masculinity, and Japanese Fans: Our Past Is in Your Present Body

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pp. 35-72

On April 4, 2004, a new word, “Yonsama,” appeared in the headlines of many entertainment and sports newspapers in Japan and South Korea: “Welcome Yonsama! 5,000 fans at Haneda Airport,” “Yonsama has arrived! Over 5,000 go crazy,” “Yonsama paralyzes Haneda Airport,” “Japan’s middle-aged women’s infatuation with Yonsama,” “Yonsama beats Beckham!” (Herald Kyungje 2004; J. W. Cho...

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3. Rain, Global Masculinity, and Singaporean Fans: Fly Anywhere, Click Anytime

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pp. 73-117

South Korean singer and actor, Rain, was selected as one of “the world’s most influential 100 people” by Time magazine (Walsh 2006).² The article, by Brian Walsh, calls him “The Magic Feet from Korea” and describes him as a performer with “[an] angelic face, killer bod, and Justin Timberlake–like dance moves” and one who “has ridden the crest of Hallyu, or the Korean wave, the Asia-wide obsession for...

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4. Oldboy, Postmodern Masculinity, and Western Fandom on Film Review Websites: Time between Dog and Wolf

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pp. 119-162

In 2006, the South Korean action thriller, Oldboy, was ranked 118th in IMDb.com’s top 250 films (G. C. Yoon 2006). This high ranking is significant when considering the fact that most users of IMDb.com are English-speaking Westerners. Indeed, Oldboy’s high ranking on the website reflects the popularity of South Korean genre films overseas and, in particular, in Western countries since the early 2000s. Around...

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5. K-Pop Idol Boy Bands and Manufactured Versatile Masculinity: Making Chogukjeok Boys

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pp. 163-170

In this concluding chapter, I look at some of the most recent developments in South Korean popular culture, using the example of idol boy bands and their manufactured versatile masculinity. I argue that, in addition to mugukjeok or the effort to make South Korean stars Asianized and/or globalized and to play down their Korean specificity, another characteristic is increasingly demanding of...


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p. 171


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pp. 173-183

List of Media Productions

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pp. 185-187


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pp. 189-212


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pp. 213-221

E-ISBN-13: 9789888053636
Print-ISBN-13: 9789888028665

Page Count: 232
Illustrations: 12 b/w illus.
Publication Year: 2011

Series Title: TransAsia: Screen Cultures
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OCLC Number: 743276066
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Korean Masculinities and Transcultural Consumption