Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Feeling Asian Modernities

Feeling Asian Modernities: Transnational Consumption of Japanese TV Dramas

Edited by Koichi Iwabuchi
Copyright Date: 2004
Pages: 340
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Feeling Asian Modernities
    Book Description:

    The recent transnational reach of Japanese television dramas in East and Southeast Asia is unprecedented, and not simply in terms of the range and scale of diffusion, but also of the intense sympathy many young Asians feel toward the characters in Japanese dramas, so that they cope with their own modern lives by emulating the lives on screen. Through the empirical analysis of how Japanese youth dramas are (re)produced, circulated, regulated, and consumed in East and Southeast Asia, each chapter in this volume variously explores the ways in which intra-Asian cultural flows highlight cultural resonance and asymmetry in the region under the decentering processes of globalization. Key questions include: What is the nature of Japanese cultural power and influence in the region and how is it historically overdetermined? How is it similar to and different from "Americanization" and other Asian cultural sub-centers? What kinds of images and sense of intimacy and distance are perceived through the reception of Japanese youth dramas?

    eISBN: 978-988-220-130-9
    Subjects: Anthropology

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Contributors
    (pp. xi-xvi)
  5. Note on Japanese Names
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  6. Introduction: Cultural Globalization and Asian Media Connections
    (pp. 1-22)
    Koichi Iwabuchi

    In the latter decades of the twentieth century, the drastic development of communication technologies and the concurrent emergence of global media corporations have facilitated the simultaneous transnational circulation of information, images, and texts on a global scale. Various (national) media markets have been penetrated and integrated by the powerful missionaries of global consumer culture such as News Corp., Disney and Sony. However, cultural globalization does not just mean the spread of the same products of Western (mostly American) origin all over the world through these media conglomerates. The development of new patterns of regional media consumption has become no less...

  7. I Encoding Japanese (Post-)Trendy Dramas

    • 1 The Representation of Femininity in Japanese Television Dramas of the 1990s
      (pp. 25-42)
      Ito Mamoru

      In the 1990s, the Japanese media industry grew rapidly, both in terms of the range of consumable media and the number of choices within these media products. Within this development of Japan’s information environment, there was a downward trend in the audience ratings television programs received, to the extent that the number of so-called “mega hit” programs that attained high ratings declined in numbers (See Tomura 1991; Ito and Fujita 1999). Due to the diversification of viewer lifestyles, tastes and interests, and, above all, to the multiplication of media products, the audience became segmented and fragmented. Programs that transcended gender...

    • 2 Empowering Love: The Intertextual Author of Ren’ai Dorama
      (pp. 43-68)
      Eva Tsai

      Scenes from the prime-time television dramas in Japan synchronize with the rhythms of the larger cultural milieu. They represent rituals, trends, and sentiments in real time, sometimes at a hyper-real speed. The hectic schedule of new drama production and syndication restrictions make television dramas in Japan abundant and yet, paradoxically, transient. In a discussion about Japan’s strict copyright laws, dramas are likened to ephemeral goods and described as shōmohin (goods to be consumed) and kieyukumono (things to vanish) (Suzuki and Maeda 1997). However, as technology (e.g., VCR, VCD, internet), business (e.g., video rental, DVD sales), and circumstantial changes (e.g., regional...

    • 3 Producing (Post-)Trendy Japanese TV Dramas
      (pp. 69-86)
      Ōta Tōru

      Ōta Tōru is a prominent television drama producer at Fuji TV. He has produced many phenomenally popular dramas, such as Tokyo Love Story, The 101st Proposal, and All Under One Roof. This chapter is an edited composition of his speech on 23 November 2001 at the International Conference, “Feeling Asian Modernities: Transnational TV Consumption in East/Southeast Asia,” which was held at International Christian University, Tokyo.

      I am Ōta Tōru from Fuji TV. Thank you for inviting me. Today, I’d like to focus on three points in my talk. My first point will be on how the “trendy drama” came to...

  8. II Translocal Readings in East/Southeast Asia

    • 4 Ganbaru and Its Transcultural Audience: Imaginary and Reality of Japanese TV Dramas in Hong Kong
      (pp. 89-106)
      Lisa Yuk-ming Leung

      The “Japanese wave” has been a euphemism for the recent success of Japanese media products across Asia. Ever since the release of phenomenally popular television programs such as Tokyo Love Story and Long Vacation, Japanese idol dramas have swept throughout Asia — Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, China, Singapore, and Thailand. This chapter examines the reasons for this transnational popularity, which has been unconvincingly likened to a “Japanization” of Asian cultures, as well as the effects the dramas have on their local audiences in various countries. Rather than employing the lines of traditional “cultural imperialism” theories, this chapter employs audience studies to...

    • 5 The Desired Form: Japanese Idol Dramas in Taiwan
      (pp. 107-128)
      Yu-fen Ko

      Following the 1991 broadcast in Taiwan of Tokyo Love Story, a Japanese television drama series commonly referred to as an idol drama, contemporary Japanese culture has come to be a dominant influence over Taiwan’s youth culture. Images of Japanese pop stars and singers were soon to crowd Taiwan’s television screens and record stores in the years that followed. Within a decade, the term ha-ri (Japan-mania or Japanese fever) has turned into an everyday word that indicates a formation of consumer culture: fashion, commodities, tourism, manga (comic books), magazines, and television shows. On the one hand, Japanese culture is hailed as...

    • 6 Traveling With Japanese TV Dramas: Cross-cultural Orientation and Flowing Identification of Contemporary Taiwanese Youth
      (pp. 129-154)
      Ming-tsung Lee

      Ying, a 19 year-old female undergraduate, was watching a new VCD of a Japanese TV drama with a friend when I visited her. I looked around her room. There were Sanrio dolls on her TV set, a big poster of Takenouchi Yutaka, and two photos of Hokkaido’s lavender field torn from magazine pages on the wall. Aside from textbooks, her shelf displayed magazines such as More, With, and Taipei Walker, several manga (Japanese comic books), as well as CDs of Japanese TV drama soundtracks. In addition, some Japanese traditional decorations such as noren (door screens), furin (wind bells), and omamori...

    • 7 Defining Asian Femininity: Chinese Viewers of Japanese TV Dramas in Singapore
      (pp. 155-176)
      Elizabeth MacLachlan and Geok-lian Chua

      The tendency of popular culture forms to spread to areas within geo-cultural — rather than simply regional — markets is commonly attributed to what Straubhaar calls “cultural proximity.” Cultural proximity is the notion that cultural similarities, including “shared identity, gestures and non-verbal communication; what is considered funny or serious or even sacred; clothing styles; living patterns; climate influences and other relationships with the environment” are key elements in determining preference patterns of certain imported cultural forms over others (Straubhaar 1997, p. 291). With regard to the popularity of Japanese dramas in Asia, this notion is recalled in terms such as “shared sensibilities”...

    • 8 Popular Culture and Youth Consumption: Modernity, Identity and Social Transformation
      (pp. 177-202)
      Ubonrat Siriyuvasak

      The globalization of popular culture is central to the rapid growth of consumerism worldwide. In Thailand, young people are attracted to Hollywood films, billboard chart music, world class sports, Japanese comic books and cartoons on television, and, not least, to Korean and Japanese television drama. As we move towards a new informationbased economy and digital technology, we begin to witness the magnitude of the flow of these cultural goods, which rise in conjunction with the multiple channels of distribution of large global media conglomerates. In this chapter I will focus the discussion on the increasing influence of Japanese popular culture...

  9. III VCD:: Asian Transnational Cultural Technology

    • 9 Chinese Re-makings of Pirated VCDs of Japanese TV Dramas
      (pp. 205-226)
      Kelly Hu

      What is a VCD? Most people living outside Asia are not familiar with this form of video technology. The appearance of a VCD is exactly like that of a music CD, although a VCD movie will normally require two discs, each with up to 74 minutes of playing time. Since the mid-1990s, VCDs have been widely marketed in most Asian countries, excluding Japan. Invented in 1993 and developed by a number of transnational electronics companies, including Sony, Panasonic, Philips, and Matsushita, etc., VCDs emerged in the Asian market earlier than the official release of DVDs in 1997 in the global...

    • 10 VCD as Programmatic Technology: Japanese Television Drama in Hong Kong
      (pp. 227-248)
      Darrell William Davis and Emilie Yueh-yu Yeh

      Whether tourist or resident, one confronts a surprising amount of Japanese commodity culture in Hong Kong: Japanese supermarkets, Japanese comics (manga) on newsstands, Japanese fast food, pop music, and ubiquitous Hello Kitty shops selling every kind of trinket imaginable. In electronic media, there is a huge selection of Japanese computer games, toys, and anime (animation) as well as Japanese films screening at multiplexes. In video and record shops, there are not only large sections of “J-pop,” but also handsome box sets of Japanese prime-time television called simply “yat-kek” (Japanese drama) in Cantonese.

      One feature of all this stands out: it...

  10. IV Korean Negotiations With Japan

    • 11 Cultural Contact With Japanese TV Dramas: Modes of Reception and Narrative Transparency
      (pp. 251-274)
      Dong-Hoo Lee

      The Korean government has banned the import of Japanese popular culture since its liberation from Japanese colonial rule in 1945. It was not until the late 1990s that Korea finally declared its open door policy to Japanese popular culture. Even so, Japanese TV programs, such as dramas and variety shows, are still not allowed to be broadcast in Korea. For Korea, Japan has been regarded as a “close but distant” other/oppressor. Japan’s economic success has been envied as the model or manual for incorporating Western capitalism, but Korea’s painful experience with the Japanese as colonialists cannot been easily forgotten. The...

    • 12 Korean American Youths’ Consumption of Korean and Japanese TV Dramas and Its Implications
      (pp. 275-300)
      Jung-Sun Park

      The rapid expansion of global capitalism, combined with technological development and the demise of the Cold War confrontation, has fundamentally transformed the global landscape. The ways individuals identify themselves and relate to one another have become much more complicated and multi-faceted as incessant, massive, fast, and multidirectional flows of people, materials and information across borders have tremendously increased. The growing mobility and interconnectedness of the world have challenged the notion of culture understood as the shared meanings, values and ways of life of people who live within bounded territories. Hence, the “assumed isomorphism of space, place, and culture” (Gupta and...

  11. V Afterword

    • The Cultural Intimacy of TV Drama
      (pp. 303-310)
      len Ang

      TV dramas are an integral and ubiquitous staple of the cultural diet everywhere in the world where there is a sizable television industry. In any given country around the world, dozens of TV dramas are shown on TV screens each year. They are one of the most popular television genres around, and thus the industry likes to produce and broadcast them — in the knowledge that they are able to attract large audiences. However, not all TV dramas are the same, nor are they all similarly well received. Some of them fail and are forgotten soon after. Most manage to gain...

  12. Index
    (pp. 311-322)