London Korean Links

Covering things Korean in London and beyond since 2006

A hallyu tourism research project in Leeds

Dae Jang Geum image with Lee Young-ae

A reader at ukfan’s DJG Comic Relief forum is doing a research project on Dae Jang Geum. He’s a PhD researcher at Centre for Tourism and Cultural Change at Leeds Metropolitan University. As part of this he needs your help to perfect a cultural survey. The survey can be found here. Please email it to him at the address shown on the word document. He needs it in the next few days.

Once he has reviewed your answers to make sure the questionnaire is working OK he gets to go on a field trip: to the DJG theme park in Yangjoo City, Gyeonggi Province, where he will interview a scientifically selected sample of tourists. If only I had had so much fun when I was at university.

From the researcher, Sean Kim:

The aim of the research is to understand the relationships between Korean television dramas and tourist experiences. In particular, this research focuses on the viewing experiences of Asian audiences in relation to one serialised drama, ‘Jewel in the Palace’ and their expected touristic experiences.

The primary purpose of this pilot study is to find out if the questionnaire being used is well-organised and to ensure that the measures adopted in this research are reliable and valid. You may be assured of both confidentiality and anonymity. The information provided in this survey will also be used solely for academic purposes.

The questionnaire has an interesting focus on how much a DJG fan engages with his or her favourite characters. I guess if someone visits the DJG theme park they’ve got to be a pretty avid fan of the show, but to be guided by what a character says? Here’s question 5.1. How much do you agree with the following statement:

When a character / actor in Jewel in the Palace expressed an opinion, it helped me make up my own mind about the issue.

Another interesting feature of hallyu fandom: the biggest fans are keen to meet the stars in real life. Question 5.10 — how much do you agree with the following:

I am determined to meet my favourite character(s) / actor(s) on Jewel in the Palace in person.

I’ve come across this phenomenon through comments left at this site: There is for example Sagar from Nepal, who says he’s going to Korea next year just to meet Jeon Ji-hyun. I must say, if I had a date with JJH I’d make the effort to go to Korea to keep it. Lucky Sagar if he’s managed to get a slot in Ms Jeon’s diary. Similarly Roxane hopes to meet Rain one day.

Something slightly more disturbing though: I thought that watching DJG was meant to be an entirely wholesome experience. But here’s number 6.19 in the questionnaire, where you are asked to say how much you agree with the following statement:

I was so excited to re-enact some scenes of Jewel in the Palace in person such as re-enacting the corporal punishments including flogging and leg-screwing torture.

It appears that when you visit the DJG theme park you can really enter into the spirit of things. And while on the subject, here’s a still from the recent Hi Seoul festival, from the Donga Ilbo (HT to David Kilburn). I’ve been waiting for an excuse to post this:

Flogging at Hi Seoul


Coming soon…

  • Korea’s Grand Culture Project — stay tuned for a summary of a talk given by Professor Kim Hyeon at SOAS’s recent Korean Studies workshop
  • … and here it is

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