Reconsidering Transnational Cultural Flows of Popular Music in East Asia: Transbordering Musicians in Japan and Korea Searching for "Asia"

By Shin, Hyunjoon | Korean Studies, Annual 2009 | Go to article overview

Reconsidering Transnational Cultural Flows of Popular Music in East Asia: Transbordering Musicians in Japan and Korea Searching for "Asia"


Shin, Hyunjoon, Korean Studies


After the South Korean government ban on Japanese culture was lifted in 1998 with the so-called Opening to Japanese culture (Ilbon munhwa kaebang) policy, cultural flows between Japan and South Korea (hereafter "Korea") both increased in size and became diverse in content, form, and context. Among these cultural flows, which became not only legal but also visible, flows in popular culture have been more abundant than those in "high" culture or "folk" culture. Popular culture flows go beyond cultural exchange in the classical sense; they are often "borderless," or at least engage in border-crossing, making it less easy to discern what a "national cultural flow" is. In this article, I will attempt to distinguish between the meanings of these kinds of flows through the case of popular music in Korea and Japan.

It is tempting to engage the border-crossing and transnational cultural flows of popular music between Korea and Japan through a concept of globalization, as recent studies on Asian popular music and its transnational cultural flows mostly tend to do, although the meaning and definition of globalization varies from scholar to scholar. Most of the research to date on Asian popular music has been interested in the local consumption of global texts or cultural appropriation and hybridization between the West and Asia (as the non-West). For example, some scholars observe indices of globalization in Korean popular music as an "appropriation of foreign style" and "linguistic hybridization." (1) In these analyses, "appropriation" and "hybridization" are understood as cultural processes defined by the interaction between the West (global) and non-West (local).

It is not my intention to disprove former studies on Korean popular music and Asian popular music in general or to suggest that they are without value. I do want to note, however, that these analyses overlook some important phenomena that have been taking place since the 1990s. In short, they lose sight of the "dynamic interaction among countries in the non-West." (2) In contrast, the paradigm called "trans-Asia cultural traffic" places more emphasis on transnational cultural flows that occur within different parts of Asia, rather than those that take place between the West and Asia. This paradigm gestures toward a more nuanced approach to the recent flow(s) of Asian popular culture without discarding the concept of globalization, but instead giving it a new impetus.

Research about popular music in Asia based on this paradigm has recently emerged. Eun-young Jung, a Korean ethnomusicology scholar, uses a notion of "transnational cultural traffic" in her analysis of the interaction between Japanese and Korean popular music. (3) What is most interesting is how she takes note of the "'presence' of Japan in Korea's popular music and culture" during the period when Japanese popular culture had officially been banned; Japan's so-called illegal presence cannot be explained without a consideration of transnational flows. (4) A recent unpublished work by Japanese cultural studies scholar Yoshitaka Mori offers insight into the specific case of Korea-Japan. By reconceptualizing the concept of hybridization, Mori gives it new meaning by attending to the transnational character of cultural interaction between Japan and Korea. He deconstructs the whole history of Japanese popular music as a "hybrid" one by arguing that "transnational music 'production,' as broadly conceived, precedes national production." (5)

For the purposes of this article, I assume a trans-Asia perspective. However, since my topic is not transnational flows in general, but instead the particular interactions that have taken place between migrant musicians who have crossed borders literally and figuratively, I will use the concept of "transbordering," which differs from ordinary forms of relocation as a more "globalized" phenomenon. It is "at once global and local." I argue that in cultural industries such as the music industry, international collaboration has provided and will continue to provide the material conditions for transbordering. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Reconsidering Transnational Cultural Flows of Popular Music in East Asia: Transbordering Musicians in Japan and Korea Searching for "Asia"
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.