Author: Ju-yong ha
Journal of Publication: Kolum Kritika
Given by: Erikaye Gumabol
Hallyu has persisted long enough to attain the stature of a major influential cultural phenomenon.
Yet the primary locus of exchange appear to be discourses and dialogues produced by Koreans
and Western appreciators. What this state of affairs overrides is the reality that the first area of
impact of contemporary Korean popular culture is the region immediately outside Korea (and
East Asia): the Southeast Asian region. In order to ensure that Koreans and Southeast Asians
attain a condition of mutual understanding, scholarship on hallyu vis-à-vis its Asian audiences
will have to be facilitated and encouraged.
The Korean popular-culture trend now known as hallyu has been around long
enough, and has spread widely enough, so that it has assumed certain characteristics
that typify global long-term trends. A growing number of studies on Korean drama, K-pop music,
and Korean cinema have been conducted in the wake of such pioneering scholars
as Keehyeung Lee, Hyangjin Lee, Kyung Hyun Kim, and Jinhee Choi.
For this reason, the views of the original “foreign” consumers of hallyu are of
more importance than most scholars, even Korean ones, realize at the moment.
This is the reason why a collection of articles on contemporary Korean popular
culture deserves to focus on the responses of the scholars and audiences of the
Southeast Asian region. we may give
ourselves over to recollecting the Korean pop-culture wave via some of its most enduring products: its cinem.
From the early years, Taeyun Yu inspects and interrogates samples that impressed themselves directly on the Western imaginary, via European film festivals as well as the art-film distribution circuit.6 In “The
Matrix of S&M in Korean Cinema: Time, Space, Trauma, Power,” he recapitulates
the cultural memory of the Korean War and the Japanese occupation and relates
these to the country’s own difficult, often violent process of developmental growth,
via Ki-duk Kim’s Haeanseon [The Coast Guard] and Sunwoo Jang’s Ggotip [A Petal].
The two films serve as reminders of how a number of Korean products, while part
of the pop-culture production trend, cannot necessarily be distributed with the
same guarantees of feel-good family entertainment that accompany “typical” hallyu
output. As mentioned earlier, the identification of Southeast Asians with Korean culture plays out differently from their views of the other major cultures of Japan and China. The shape and direction of hallyu ought to take its cue from the other East Asian countries (where its popularity first spread) as well as its final distributive destination, the amorphous West. Yet in a definitive sense, its first true global audience would be Korea’s Asian neighbours, so whatever findings show up
in the larger region will be of import to Korean cultural policy, as much as hallyu
itself has also factored in the decisions of cultural administrations in the rest of
Asia. The larger and longer-term advantage would be the facilitation of dialogues and
exchanges between Korea and its neighbours. This would necessitate the use of
venues, events, and periodical publications that mark themselves as pop-culture
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