Reflecting on Japan-Korea relations through the Korean wave: Fan desires, nationalist fears, and transcultural fandom
Keywords:K-pop fandom, Korea-phobia, Shin-Ōkubo, Xenophobia
The reception of K-pop in Japan must be contextualized within the postcolonial relationship between Japan and Korea. Studying fan discourse and discourse about fans reveals that the Korean Wave (that is, fandom around Korean popular culture) has produced various desires and fears among the Japanese public, suggesting that persistent Korea-phobia among conservatives stymies K-pop's soft-power potential. A longitudinal study of K-pop fans in Japan and an ethnographic investigation of Tokyo's Koreatown, Shin-Ōkubo, indicate that these fans' activities reflect the current state of Japan-Korea relations. Consuming K-pop instills attraction among fans, but this must be weighed against the potential dismissal of Korean Wave fandom by conservatives as being too feminized. This case study shows the usefulness of transcultural approaches to analyses of fans.
Copyright (c) 2021 Thomas Baudinette
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