Academic journal article The Qualitative Report

Three Adaptations of the Japanese Comic Book Boys over Flowers in the Asian Cultural Community: Analyzing Fidelity and Modification from the Perspective of Globalization and Glocalization

Academic journal article The Qualitative Report

Three Adaptations of the Japanese Comic Book Boys over Flowers in the Asian Cultural Community: Analyzing Fidelity and Modification from the Perspective of Globalization and Glocalization

Article excerpt

East Asia has been a cultural community for a long time. With the generation of the East Asian media market, the characteristics of cultural community became more evident. During the process of globalization, a wide variety of cultural products were adapted and readapted into a brand new text all around the world. The three adaptations of the Japanese cartoon Boys over Flower in Japan, Korea and Taiwan can be good examples of adaptations in a local area. When connecting these adaptations to globalization, fidelity in the adaptation can be understood as emphasizing the shared values and the constructed community spirit between cultures. On the contrary, the modifications in the adaptation can be interpreted as organizational gatekeeping according to the differences in cultural values or the structures of media industry. Therefore, this study will analyze how the narratives in the three adapted texts show fidelity and modification, which represent the shared values in the audience community as well as the differences in the cultural values and industrial structures of each country.

Literature review

The landscape of cultural exchange in East Asia

In the past, despite their close geographical proximity and cultural compatibility, East Asian countries have largely suppressed cultural exchanges for political reasons (Park, 2004). East Asian countries including China, Korea, and Japan began to promote intercultural exchanges relatively recently (Park, 2004). Since the 1980s, East Asia has experienced growing influences of regional media industries: media industries of Hong Kong in the 1980s, those of Japan in the 1990s, and those of Korea in the 2000s (Shim, 2006). In the 1980s, Hong Kong noir films and chivalry films reflected "orientalism" according to Said's (1979) term, which refers to mystifying the Asian traditional cultures, most of which were lost by Asians throughout "westernization." Japanese pop culture including idol stars, manga and animation especially thrived in the 1990s. Contrary to Hong Kong, Japanese cartoonists and animators eliminated their cultural distinctiveness to get popularity in the global market (Iwabuchi, 1998).

Since the late 1990s, the influences of Korean popular culture have been growing in East Asia (Shim, 2005). The circulation of popular culture in Asia is becoming much more active through this "Hallyu," which means the "Korean wave." Korean pop culture has borrowed and imitated the best essence of Western popular culture throughout the 1990s, thus many Korean artists and experts criticized those cultural phenomena as cultural imperialism engendered by globalization. However, young Korean artists and producers have tried to recreate them for the Korean audiences. Now, Korean cultural commodities are greatly different from American and other western countries' products. Therefore, many researchers found that Asian audiences of Korean cultural product share Asian values. For example, Lin and Tong (2008) stated that Korean dramas reconstruct Asian traditional femininities to Asian female audiences. The Korean wave has been an ongoing topic in Asia for more than ten years. Now, it has arrived to a stabilized stage.

Some scholars had criticized the three countries' cultural domination in the local area as another type of imperialism. For example, Lii (1998) stated "Hong Kong's film industry has succeeded not only to resist foreign domination, but also to invade neighboring countries, thus creating a new type of imperialism" (p. 123). In addition, progressive intellectuals and cultural studies practitioners in South Korea criticize the mainstream opinions about how the Korean wave don't have the proper cross-cultural sensibility and concern for inter-regional dialogue, and willfully commodify the culture (Lee, 2008). However, it cannot be denied that the landscape of East Asian cultural circulation could be shaped throughout the three big cultural influences. …

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