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Unformatted text preview: Article Nation-branding and transnational consumption: Japan-mania and the Korean wave in Taiwan Shuling Huang National Chiao Tung University One recent development of cultural globalization emerges in the convergence of taste in media consumption within geo-cultural regions, such as Latin American telenovelas , South Asian Bollywood films and East Asian trendy dramas . Originating in Japan, the so-called trendy dramas (or idol dramas ) have created a craze for Japanese commodities in its neighboring countries (Ko, 2004). Following this Japanese model, Korea has also developed as a stronghold of regional exports, ranging from TV programs, movies and pop music to food, fashion and tourism. The fondness for all things Japanese and Korean in East Asia has been vividly captured by such buzz phrases as Japan-mania ( hari in Chinese) and the Korean wave ( hallyu in Korean and hanliu in Chinese). These two phenomena underscore how popular culture helps polish the image of a nation and thus strengthens its economic competitiveness in the global market. Consequently, nation- branding has become incorporated into the project of nation-building in light of globali- zation. However, Japan’s cultural spread and Korea’s cultural expansion in East Asia are often analysed from angles that are polar opposites. Scholars suggest that Japan-mania is initiated by the ardent consumers of receiving countries (Nakano, 2002), while the Korea wave is facilitated by the Korean state in order to boost its culture industry (Ryoo, 2008). Such claims are legitimate but neglect the analogues of these two phenomena. This article examines the parallel paths through which Japan-mania and the Korean wave penetrate into people’s everyday practices in Taiwan – arguably one of the first countries to be swept by these two trends. My aim is to illuminate the processes in which nation-branding is not only promoted by a nation as an international marketing strategy, but also appropriated by a receiving country as a pattern of consumption. Three seemingly contradictory arguments explain why cultural products ‘sell’ across national borders: cultural transparency, cultural difference and hybridization. First, cul- tural exports targeting the global market are rarely culturally specific so that they allow worldwide audiences to ‘project [into them] indigenous values, beliefs, rites, and rituals’ Media, Culture & Society 33(1) 3 –18 © The Author(s) 2011 Reprints and permission: sagepub.co.uk/journalsPermissions.nav DOI: 10.1177/0163443710379670 mcs.sagepub.com Corresponding author: Shuling Huang, 1117 No. 1, Sec. 1, Liujia 5th Road, Zhubei City, Hsinchu County 302, Taiwan. Email: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org 4 Media, Culture & Society 33(1) (Olson, 1999: 5–6). Those exports are defined by Morley and Robin (1995) as global products that appeal to people’s shared habits and tastes. That is why Hollywood films are well received in many corners of the world. Second, local distinctiveness, often pre-are well received in many corners of the world....
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This note was uploaded on 02/29/2012 for the course MARKETING MKT 3416 taught by Professor Tamaki during the Spring '12 term at National University of Singapore.
- Spring '12