Ganbaru and its transcultural audience: Imaginary and reality of Japanese TV dramas in Hong Kong

Lisa Yuk Ming LEUNG*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Book Chapters | Papers in Conference ProceedingsBook ChapterResearchpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


The "Japanese wave" has been a euphemism for the recent success of Japanese media products across Asia. Ever since the release of phenomenally popular television programs such a s Tokyo Love Story and Long Vacation, Japanese idol dramas have swept throughout Asia—Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, China, Singapore, and Thailand. This chapter examine s the reasons for this transnational popularity, which has been unconvincingly likened to a "Japanization" of Asian cultures, as well as the effects the dramas have on their local audiences in various countries. Rather than employing the lines of traditional "cultural imperialism" theories, this chapter employs audience studies to discern the way the local audience were able to translate these global dramas into the "local" everyday. From the local reading of these dramas, it aims to tease out the interjection of fantasy and reality entailed by the creation of this transcultural imaginary. Finally, this chapter attempts to question the notion of the "local audience" as a single, monocultural entity. With the comparison of the reading of ganbaru between the Hong Kong and the Japanese expatriate audiences in Hong Kong, the chapter hopes to enrich the discussion of the audience and audience studies at the time when the flow of popular cultural products within the Asian region is intensified .
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFeeling Asian Modernities
Subtitle of host publicationTransnational Consumption of Japanese TV Dramas
PublisherHong Kong University Press
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9789882201309
ISBN (Print)9789622096318
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2004


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