Japanese Fandom and the Korean Wave: Transforming Japan-Korea Relations, Race, Ethnicity, and Gender through Popular Culture

Event Type: 
Event Date: 
Monday, November 11, 2013 - 17:00
Hellems 252

[CAS Speaker Series] A lecture by Millie Creighton, Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology, University of British Columbia.

This presentation looks at the popularity of the Korean Wave (Hallyu or Hanryu, involving flows of Korean popular culture such as film, drama, singing groups) in Japan and some of the potential social changes or challenges it inspired. Tracing the introduction and rise of the Korean Wave through television dramas in Japan, and subsequent Japanese drama tourism to Korea, the talk explores how the ‘ethnic erotic economy’ for women within Japan (once emphasizing White Western males) shifted to Korean men, and how the intensive fandom of so-called middle-aged Japanese women challenged age, race, ethnic, and gender hierarchies within Japanese society while giving voice to a category who previously felt unempowered and little listened to or noticed. In addition to age and gender challenges, the presentation addresses issues of minorities and communities of ‘ethnic others’ in two countries once strongly proclaiming identities based on homogeneity now attempting to understand ‘multiculturalism’.  Looking at more recent ramifications of the Korean Wave in Japan, the talk addresses its place in Japan’s on-going work, leisure and entertainment culture of established adults, while exploring how it is linked to explorations of ‘gender bending’ in both societies, particularly among youth. The talk also addresses how the popularity of the Korean Wave in Japan, as well as the backlash against it, raises issues of difficult political and cultural relations between Japan, South Korea, North Korea, and at times China. 

This event is sponsored by the Center for Asian Studies, the Korea Foundation, the Northeast Asia Council of the Association for Asian Studies, and the President's Fund for the Humanities.

Japanese Fandom and the Korean Wave


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