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The Korean Popular Culture Reader

From the publisher’s website:

Over the past decade, Korean popular culture has become a global phenomenon. The “Korean Wave” of music, film, television, sports, and cuisine generates significant revenues and cultural pride in South Korea. The Korean Popular Culture Reader provides a timely and essential foundation for the study of “K-pop,” relating the contemporary cultural landscape to its historical roots. The essays in this collection reveal the intimate connections of Korean popular culture, or hallyu, to the peninsula’s colonial and postcolonial histories, to the nationalist projects of the military dictatorship, and to the neoliberalism of twenty-first-century South Korea. Combining translations of seminal essays by Korean scholars on topics ranging from sports to colonial-era serial fiction with new work by scholars based in fields including literary studies, film and media studies, ethnomusicology, and art history, this collection expertly navigates the social and political dynamics that have shaped Korean cultural production over the past century.


Jung-hwan Cheon, Michelle Cho, Youngmin Choe, Steven Chung, Katarzyna J. Cwiertka, Stephen Epstein, Olga Fedorenko, Kelly Y. Jeong, Rachael Miyung Joo, Inkyu Kang, Kyu Hyun Kim, Kyung Hyun Kim, Pil Ho Kim, Boduerae Kwon, Regina Yung Lee, Sohl Lee, Jessica Likens, Roald Maliangkay, Youngju Ryu, Hyunjoon Shin, Min-Jung Son, James Turnbull, Travis Workman


Preface | Youngmin Choe
Introduction: Indexing Korean Popular Culture | Kyung Hyun Kim

Part 1. Click and Scroll

  1. The World in a Love Letter | Boduerae Kwon
  2. Fisticuffs, High Kicks, and Colonial Histories: The Ambivalence of Modern Korean Identity in Narrative Comics | Kyu Hyun Kim
  3. It All Started with a Bang: The Role of PC Bangs in South Korea’s Cybercultures | Inkyu Kang
  4. As Seen on the Internet: The Recap as Translation in English-Language K-Drama Fandoms | Regina Yung Lee

Part 2. Lights, Camera, Action!

  1. Regimes within Regimes: Film and Fashion Cultures in the Korean 1950s | Steven Chung
  2. The Quasi Patriarch: Kim Sûng-ho and South Korean Postwar Movies | Kelly Jeong
  3. The Partisan, the Worker, and the Hidden Hero: Popular Icons in North Korean Film | Travis Workman
  4. Face Value: The Star as Genre in Bong Joon-ho’s Mother | Michelle Cho

Part 3. Gold, Silver, and Bronze

  1. Bend It Like a Man of Chosun: Sports Nationalism and Colonial Modernity of 1936 | Jung Hwan Cheon
  2. “She Became Our Strength”: Female Athletes and (Trans)national Desires | Rachael Miyung Joo

Part 4. Strut, Move, and Shake

  1. Young Musical Love of the 1930s | Min-Jung Son
  2. Birth, Death, and Resurrection of Group Sound Rock | Hyunjoon Shin and Pil Ho Kim
  3. The Popularity of Individualism: The Seo Taiji Phenomenon in the 1990s | Roald Maliangkay
  4. Girls’ Generation? Gender, (Dis)Empowerment, and K-pop | Stephen Epstein and James Turnbull

Part 5. Food and Travel

  1. South Korean Advertising as Popular Culture | Olga Fedorenko
  2. The Global Hansik Campaign and Commodification of Korean Cuisine | Katarzyna J. Cwiertka
  3. Back Seung Woo’s Blow Up (2005–2007): Touristic Fantasy, Photographic Desire, and Catastrophic North Korea | Sohl Lee


Entry on here.

* Where the book is available from a number of sources, they are prioritised as follows: (1) Amazon UK site, or for the more recent uploads (2) Amazon US site (3) Other sites in US or Europe, including second-hand outlets (4) LTI Korea, where the title is advertised as available from there (5) Onlines stores in Korea. Links to and Amazon UK site contain an affiliate code which, should you make a purchase, gives a small commission to LKL at no additional cost to you.