"I don't go there for the war criminals": The Korean Wave, Japanese Isolationism, and Cultural Power on the International Stage

Curator's Note

In this is a video presentation, I analyze Japanese reactions to the Korean Wave, focusing primarily on a flash-in-the-pan moment in 2005. The Korean Wave, or Hallyu, describes the media and cultural exports that gained momentum at the end of the 1990s and the beginning of the 2000s, describing K-pop, television shows, movies, and dance groups. The relationship between the Japanese and Korean entertaining industries is fraught for a number of reasons, and the ambivalence of attitudes is seen in both the economic and critical success of Korean entertaining in Japan as well as the anti-Korean sentiment that it has stirred in that same country. The content of both entertainment industries is often closely connected, adapting and remaking the same stories for their home markets. This becomes all the more contentious as both Japan and Korea vie for access to global markets, often achieved through licensing and distribution agreements with Western nations. In many ways, the Korean Wave can be read as analogous to the forced end of Japanese isolationist policy coupled with the transference of symbolic cultural capital on the international stage and accompanied by a shift in economic capital from Japan to Korea. Thus, a study of transnational media circulation must attend to the politics and ideological constructs of nation states because the actors in these contexts are often engaged with issues of identity, power, economics, and politics. Transmedia scholarship must attend to representation and adaptation, of course, but it must do so with a full understanding of what’s at stake. A full transcript with PowerPoint slide markers can be found on my academia.edu page: https://wpi.academia.edu/JenniferdeWinter



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