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Korean Masculinities and Transcultural Consumption

Korean Masculinities and Transcultural Consumption: Yonsama, Rain, Oldboy, K-Pop Idols

Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 232
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  • Book Info
    Korean Masculinities and Transcultural Consumption
    Book Description:

    South Korean masculinities have enjoyed dramatically greater influence in recent years in many realms of pan-Asian popular culture, which travels freely in part because of its hybrid trans-nationalistic appeal. This book investigates transcultural consumption of three iconic figures — the middle-aged Japanese female fandom of actor Bae Yong-Joon, the Western online cult fandom of the thriller film Oldboy, and the Singaporean fandom of the pop-star Rain. Through these three specific but hybrid contexts, the author develops the concepts of soft masculinity, as well as global and postmodern variants of masculine cultural impacts. In the concluding chapter, the author also discusses recently emerging versatile masculinity within the transcultural pop production paradigm represented by K-pop idol boy bands.

    eISBN: 978-988-8053-63-6
    Subjects: Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-vii)
  3. List of Figures
    (pp. viii-viii)
  4. Notes on the Usage of the Korean Language
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. 1 Korean Popular Culture and Transcultural Consumption: Globalized Desires between “Ours and Others”
    (pp. 1-34)

    South Korean popular culture has circulated globally since the late 1990s. Broadly, its global popularity can be observed in two major cultural phenomena: Hallyu (한류, 韓流), which is more evident in the Asian region; and cult fandom of the Korean genre film, which is more evident in the West.² The literal translation of Hallyu is “Korean Wave” and this term refers to the regional popularity of South Korean cultural products such as cinema, television drama, popular music, and fashion within Asia. The origin of Hallyu can be traced back to the success of the South Korean television drama, What Is...

  6. 2 Bae Yong-Joon, Soft Masculinity, and Japanese Fans: Our Past Is in Your Present Body
    (pp. 35-72)

    On April 4, 2004, a new word, “Yonsama,” appeared in the headlines of many entertainment and sports newspapers in Japan and South Korea: “Welcome Yonsama! 5,000 fans at Haneda Airport,” “Yonsama has arrived! Over 5,000 go crazy,” “Yonsama paralyzes Haneda Airport,” “Japan’s middle-aged women’s infatuation with Yonsama,” “Yonsama beats Beckham!” (Herald Kyungje 2004; J. W. Cho 2004a; Nikkan Sports cited in J. W. Cho 2004b; D. M. Park 2004; D. J. Lee 2004; Sankei Sports 2004). Many of these newspapers devoted their front pages to describing the welcome given to the South Korean actor, Bae Yong-Joon (BYJ), by the 5,000...

  7. 3 Rain, Global Masculinity, and Singaporean Fans: Fly Anywhere, Click Anytime
    (pp. 73-118)

    South Korean singer and actor, Rain, was selected as one of “the world’s most influential 100 people” by Time magazine (Walsh 2006).² The article, by Brian Walsh, calls him “The Magic Feet from Korea” and describes him as a performer with “[an] angelic face, killer bod, and Justin Timberlake–like dance moves” and one who “has ridden the crest of Hallyu, or the Korean wave, the Asia-wide obsession for that country’s pop culture.” Walsh writes:

    Yet even if Rain, whose style virtually clones American pop, fails to make it in the US, the trend he represents is here to stay....

  8. 4 Oldboy, Postmodern Masculinity, and Western Fandom on Film Review Websites: Time between Dog and Wolf
    (pp. 119-162)

    In 2006, the South Korean action thriller, Oldboy, was ranked 118th in’s top 250 films (G. C. Yoon 2006). This high ranking is significant when considering the fact that most users of are English-speaking Westerners. Indeed, Oldboy’s high ranking on the website reflects the popularity of South Korean genre films overseas and, in particular, in Western countries since the early 2000s. Around that time, South Korean genre films were becoming known on the international film festival circuit and were acknowledged by Western fans on online film-related websites.¹ For instance, since Oldboy won the Grand Prix in 2004 at...

  9. 5 K-Pop Idol Boy Bands and Manufactured Versatile Masculinity: Making Chogukjeok Boys
    (pp. 163-170)

    In this concluding chapter, I look at some of the most recent developments in South Korean popular culture, using the example of idol boy bands and their manufactured versatile masculinity. I argue that, in addition to mugukjeok or the effort to make South Korean stars Asianized and/or globalized and to play down their Korean specificity, another characteristic is increasingly demanding of attention. This is chogukjeok (cross-or trans-national[ity], 초국적, 超國籍), or the tendency to retain national specificity while deploying it as part of a transborder and multinational cultural figuration. It appears that such tendency is widely practiced and eagerly developed in...

  10. Appendix
    (pp. 171-172)
  11. Notes
    (pp. 173-184)
  12. List of Media Productions
    (pp. 185-188)
  13. References
    (pp. 189-212)
  14. Index
    (pp. 213-221)