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Tourist Distractions: Traveling and Feeling in Transnational Hallyu Cinema

From the publisher’s website:

In Tourist Distractions Youngmin Choe uses hallyu (Korean-wave) cinema as a lens to examine the relationships among tourism and travel, economics, politics, and history in contemporary East Asia. Focusing on films born of transnational collaboration and its networks, Choe shows how the integration of the tourist imaginary into hallyu cinema points to the region’s evolving transnational politics and the ways Korea negotiates its colonial and Cold War past with East Asia’s neoliberal present. Hallyu cinema’s popularity has inspired scores of international tourists to visit hallyu movie sets, filming sites, and theme parks. This tourism helps ease regional political differences; reimagine South Korea’s relationships with North Korea, China, and Japan; and blur the lines between history, memory, affect, and consumerism. It also provides distractions from state-sponsored narratives and forges new emotional and economic bonds that foster community and cooperation throughout East Asia. By attending to the tourist imaginary at work in hallyu cinema, Choe helps us to better understand the complexities, anxieties, and tensions of East Asia’s new affective economy as well as Korea’s shifting culture industry, its relation to its past, and its role in a rapidly changing region.

Youngmin Choe is Assistant Professor of East Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Southern California and the coeditor of The Korean Popular Culture Reader, also published by Duke University Press.


Introduction. Distracted Attractions

Part I. Intimacy

  1. Feeling Together: Pornography and Travel in Kazoku Cinema and Asako in Ruby Shoes
  2. Affective Sites: Hur Jin-ho’s April Snow and One Fine Spring Day

Part II. Amity

  1. Provisional Feelings: The Making of Musa
  2. Affective Palimpsests: Sudden Showers from Hwang Sun-won’s Sonagi to Kwak Jae-yong and Andrew Lau’s Daisy

Part III. Remembrance

  1. Postmemory DMZ: Joint Security AreaYesterday, and 2009 Lost Memories
  2. Transient Monuments: Commemorating and Memorializing in Taegukgi Korean War Film Tourism

Conclusion. K-hallyu: The Commodity Speaks in Kang Chul-woo’s Romantic Island, Bae Yong-joon’s A Journey in Search of Korea’s Beauty, So Ji-sub’s Road, and Choi Ji-woo’s if

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