Mediating Asian Modernities: The Lessons of Korean Dramas

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Since its inception in the late 1990s Korean dramas have become a global popular culture phenomenon, with its success still unsurpassed. The rise and rise of the Korean Wave, or Hallyu, has attracted scholarship which tried to comprehend the reasons for its continuous popularity, mostly across Asia, but also in parts of North America, Latin America, the Middle East and Europe. The overriding success of Korean dramas across Asia has been attributed to concepts around cultural similarity, but what is being "similar" warrants debate. At its heyday, K-dramas have also come to define "Asian modernity" as an evidence of the successful subversion to the hegemony of American and European popular culture. Yet at the same time, the asymmetrical and intensified trans-Asian flow of the "Korean brand" has also courted geo-political tension, as Asian polities seem to challenge the "soft power" of Hallyu dramas. The rise and rise of "China factor," along with the emerging force of global fandom utilizing social media, presents increasingly important disciplinary forces to this new "hegemony" which also set to redefine Asian modernities. This chapter traces and explores the different facts of the intricate relationship between K-Dramas and Asian modernities. While K-dramas serve as a useful inter-Asian currency, they also unexpectedly fuel geo-cultural hostilities, and complicate the soft power of transnationalized popular culture in Asia.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Soft Power of the Korean Wave : Parasite, BTS and Drama
EditorsYouna KIM
PublisherTaylor and Francis Inc.
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781003102489
ISBN (Print)9780367609122, 9780367609115
Publication statusPublished - 6 Sept 2021

Publication series

NameInternationalizing Media Studies


  • Korean drama
  • Asian
  • Transnational production
  • popular culture


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