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East Asian Pop Culture

Analysing the Korean Wave

Edited by Beng Huat Chua ,Koichi Iwabuchi

Publication Year: 2008

This volume provides, collectively, a multi-layered analysis of the emerging East Asian media culture, using the Korean TV drama as its analytic vehicle.

Published by: Hong Kong University Press, HKU

Series: TransAsia: Screen Cultures


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pp. vii


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pp. ix-xi

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Introduction. East Asian TV Dramas: Identifications, Sentiments and Effects

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pp. 1-12

In an anthology published in 1995 with the title, ‘to be continued … Soap Operas around the world’ (Allen 1995), the only Asian country that rated an entry (Rofel 1995) was an analysis of the People Republic of China (PRC) TV’s drama, ‘Yearning’...

I. Television Industry in East Asia

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1. The Growth of Korean Cultural Industries and the Korean Wave

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pp. 15-31

Since the 1980s, Korea had been under daunting bilateral (largely from the United States) and multilateral pressures to open its markets, in the name of globalization, in various sectors including the cinema and television. These global economic dynamics influenced Korea Inc.’s industrial formations....

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2. Renting East Asian Popular Culture for Local Television: Regional Networks of Cultural Production

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pp. 33-51

The rise of a visible circulation of East Asian popular culture from fashion, music, film, comics, to television dramas, has an impact on our everyday lives in East Asia. English-language and non-English language newspapers, magazines, talk shows, online gossip and entertainment news are often filled with stories about Asian celebrities or stars involved in various films, music...

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3. Mediating Nationalism and Modernity: The Transnationalization of Korean Dramas on Chinese (Satellite) TV

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pp. 53-69

News has been out recently that some kindergartens in USA are teaching Mandarin to American kids. Footage of American kids writing Chinese characters is the finest epitome of the extent of cultural global flows (and hybridity) at our era of intense media and cultural circulation. Ultra-forwardlooking parents commented: ‘By the time these kids grow up, China would...

II. Transnational-Crosscultural Receptions of TV Dramas

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4. Structure of Identification and Distancing in Watching East Asian Television Drama

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pp. 73-89

Flows of television drama series across national, cultural and linguistic boundaries in East Asia are by now a routine affair. The presence of imported TV programmes in every urban location within the region is now so ubiquitous that they are no longer ‘remarkable’ as they have become part of the daily diet of television audiences throughout the region. This ‘East Asian’ media space has been ‘characterized as a self-aware but non-consensual force field...

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5. Re-Imagining a Cosmopolitan ‘Asian Us’: Korean Media Flows and Imaginaries of Asian Modern Femininities

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pp. 91-125

The new millennium witnessed increasing transnational flow of Korean popular cultural content including TV dramas, movies and pop songs and Korean stars have been remarkably well received in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and other East and Southeast Asian societies. This sudden frenzy about Korean pop culture in Asia has been regionally dubbed ‘the Korean Wave’...

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6. Winter Sonata and Cultural Practices of Active Fans in Japan: Considering Middle-Aged Women as Cultural Agents

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pp. 127-141

On the day before Christmas Eve in 2003, I visited my parents in Tokyo. My mother, 65 years old, suggested that we should watch a TV drama together, by saying cheerfully that the hero was so handsome and the story was so romantic and so on. This was my first encounter with a Korean drama,...

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7. Touring ‘Dramatic Korea’: Japanese Women as Viewers of Hanryu Dramas and Tourists on Hanryu Tours

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pp. 143-155

Korean pop culture has been spreading since the end of the 1990s, and the big boom of the Korean drama, Winter Sonata, brought a cultural and social phenomenon called the Korean Wave, or Hanryu, to Japan in 2004. As of 2005, Korean pop culture seems to have definitely taken root in Japan, and it is diversifying and changing. Examination of the Korean Wave indicates...

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8. Popular Cultural Capital and Cultural Identity: Young Korean Women’s Cultural Appropriation of Japanese TV Dramas

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pp. 157-172

In 2004, the Korean government finally wrapped up the program that it had begun in 1998 of unlocking its doors to Japanese popular culture. It removed restrictions on Japanese movies and songs that had been previously banned to those under the age of 17, especially Japanese TV dramas that can now be accessed via cable or satellite TV channels. It took six years for the Korean government to completely generate its policy of openness towards Japanese...

III. Nationalistic Reactions

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9. Mapping Out the Cultural Politics of “the Korean Wave” in Contemporary South Korea

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pp. 175-189

This chapter deals with the so-called “Korean wave” or Hanryu as a highly complex and multilayered formation that is composed of real, imagined, and hybrid cultural practices, a diverse range of lived experiences, and sets of powerful discourses which exist at national, translocal, and transnational levels. By Hanryu or the Korean wave, I refer to the varied and uneven reception...

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10. Rap(p)ing Korean Wave: National Identity in Question

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pp. 191-216

The recent popularity of Korean dramas in East Asia in recent years has been described by the media as the “Korean wave,” and in Taiwan as “the invasion of the Korean wave” (hanliu laixi). This chapter unpacks the meanings of “the invasion of the Korean wave” by examining three genres of public discourses on the Korean wave. Public discourses presume different addressees and adhere to different cultural, rhetorical, and stylistic conventions to evoke...

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11. Existing in the Age of Innocence: Pop Stars, Publics, and Politics in Asia

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pp. 217-242

Although it is not without historical precedences, the 1990s and 2000s have seen a heightened effort by cultural promoters in Asia to bring together big and familiar names from the region to make and market a variety of media and cultural commodities. In 2004, Pepsi put nine popular Hong Kong and Taiwan stars in a multi-market, region-wide advertising campaign. Around...

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12. When the Korean Wave Meets Resident Koreans in Japan: Intersections of the Transnational, the Postcolonial and the Multicultural

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pp. 243-264

In the last decade, East Asian media flows and connections have intensified. Media markets have rapidly expanded and transnational partnerships have been closely formed among media corporations which pursue marketing strategies and joint production ventures spanning several different markets. The circulation of popular culture is no longer limited to the national borders...


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pp. 265-278


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pp. 279-303


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pp. 305-307

E-ISBN-13: 9789888052226
Print-ISBN-13: 9789622098923

Page Count: 320
Publication Year: 2008

Series Title: TransAsia: Screen Cultures

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Television programs -- Korea (South).
  • Popular culture -- Korea (South).
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