[KS] Re: Korea-mania in China

michael Robinson mrobinso at indiana.edu
Wed Oct 3 21:56:39 EDT 2001

With regard to the distinction of Western popular culture being simply
"produced" by Koreans...the assumption being it is the Western pop that is
the attraction, this would assume some reified concept that there is
something as pure as Western ppular culture.....I suppose the referent is
rock/popular music....or fashion.  Dichotomizing Western pop from some other
styles of poular culture seems to follow along the old saw of popular (are
re referring to "mass"?) culture first emerged int he West therefore is
priviledged as only western culture....something that can be mearly
immitated.  The distinction to me seems spurious.  Korean popular culture
becomes Korean in the doing, that is if it needs to be designated as Korean
at all.  I'd like to hear more weigh in on this interesting phenomenon.
What of popular cultural interchange, fads, etc. that began with the
original evolution of an East Asian modernity and involved more than simply
East Asian borrowing something Western. ?

----- Original Message -----
From: "Eugene Y. Park" <parkey at benfranklin.hnet.uci.edu>
To: <korean-studies at iic.edu>
Sent: Wednesday, October 03, 2001 5:28 PM
Subject: Re: Korea-mania in China

> Dear All,
> Just recently I was talking about the same phenomenon with some
> academics in Korea.  I proposed, rightly or wrongly, that perhaps South
> Korea is now in a position to export its own pop culture.  In response,
> another professor suggested that young kids in the PRC and Vietnam are
> not so much attracted to things South Korean as western/pop cultural
> productions that "happen to be" produced by South Koreans.
> Is this a useful disctinction?  I remain undecided.
> Gene
> ---------Included Message----------
> Date: Wed, 03 Oct 2001 09:51:36 -0400 (EDT)
> From: <cra10 at columbia.edu>
> Reply-To: <korean-studies at iic.edu>
> To: <korean-studies at iic.edu>
> Subject: Korea-mania in China
> Dear all,
> I recently returned from Beijing and was struck by the rampant craze
> there for all things (South) Korean. The Chinese term, "Da Han liu,"
> is freely translated as "Korea-mania" in, for example, the nightly
> South Korean pop music hour on the music video channel "V". "Hanguo
> (Hanguk)," as opposed to "Chaoxian (Choson)," restaurants are
> ubiquitous and seem quite popular. And so on. Something
> similar is apparently happening in Vietnam, whose young
> people have also recently gone crazy over South Korean pop
> culture. In the case of China, this obviously is related to the
> burgeoning economic and political relations between the ROK and the
> PRC, the political incorrectness of showing too much affection for
> Japanese and Taiwanese pop culture (and thus Korea wins by default),
> and other issues. But I wonder if anyone has looked seriously into
> this and has attempted to explain why the craze has taken off so
> dramatically at this point in time. This seems to me a fascinating
> phenomenon of intra-Asian cultural relations, and probably the first
> instance of such a major export of Korean culture into the continent
> in modern history. Any thoughts on this would be appreciated.
> Sincerely,
> Charles K. Armstrong
> Assistant Professor of History
> Columbia University
> ---------End of Included Message----------
> ***************************************
> Eugene Y. Park
> Assistant Professor of Korean History
> University of California, Irvine
> Department of History
> Irvine, CA 92697-3275
> Ph. (949) 824-5275
> Fax (949) 824-2865
> ***************************************

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