Ji-Hyun Ahn – Selling Aversion: Anti-Korean Sentiment and Rise of New Nationalism in East Asia

Ji-Hyun Ahn – Selling Aversion: Anti-Korean Sentiment and Rise of New Nationalism in East Asia


Hello every one my name is Ji-Hyun Ahn I am an assistant professor of communication in the school of IAS um so a little bit of background of myself. I define myself as a global media studies whose research interest mostly concerns racial imagination in each Asian popular culture. So my first book project which will be published as a monograph soon, examining mixed-race politics in South Korean TV. Today I would like to talk to you about my second book project titled ‘Selling Aversion: Anti-Korean Sentiment and Rise of New Nationalism in Postcolonial East Asia’. Obviously this a huge topic so I won’t be able to share very specific details about the research within in five minutes but um I’m hoping to illustrate the overview of the research, its aim, scope and contribution. So here we go. Alright so many scholars in Asian media studies have demonstrated that transnational circulation of East Asian popular culture has nurtured and created what scholars call “East Asian sensibilities” uh along the same line scholars have argued Korean Wave have been known to be a global success are Korean media and popular culture Can be useful research program to critically think about transnationalism in a global context. Um, according to the map here you see that Korean wave was hugely successful in the greater Asian region it is at least introduced or recognized in many parts of the world including North and South America, Africa, and Europe. This chart specifically shows uh the actual share of Korean TV programs in 2011. You see that almost 60% of total export shares goes to Japan, the second largest was Taiwan, the third was China. So it is fair to say that those three countries are the biggest market for Korean media and popular culture but the problem here is that those three countries are growing home for immerging anti-Korean sentiment and movement across East Asia. So basically what I’m trying to do is examine how the rise of Anti-Korean racism in East Asia reshapes the regional politics and a new ethnic nationalism in East Asia. So I have two questions. First what social conditions support the rise of anti-Korean hate speech and protests in the aforementioned three countries? Second, how is it that this discourse of anti- Koreanism created and circulated in online offline spaces? I am very grateful the our project was dually funded by RRF and SKS so through there general funding I was able to conduct field research in Taiwan and Japan in the summer of 2016 and 17′. Throughout the field work I interviewed almost 35 individuals that included scholars, media professionals, and active participants of anti-Koreans. In most of the cases in online spaces. Um, so to give you a sense of what I am talking about on the left, you see a Taiwanese burning a South Korean national flag. On the right you see an anti-Korean Facebook page. What’s interesting about this image here is that actually they have-they supposedly uh Korean wave of stars. But the owner of the page replaced individual stars headshots with the dog images to demonstrate a strong dissatisfaction with the Korean Wave. In Japan, the hate speech towards Korean has become a huge social issue since mid-2000′ And there has many anti Korean themed books are published and has been a number of anti-Korean protests and marches in heart of Tokyo. Those are just two examples – popular examples of racists slogans or race or hate speech towards Koreans and whenever they have anti Korean march they use these slogans. So during my stay in Tokyo this Summer I participated in anti-war march to protest against Abe Shinzo, the prime Minister’s visit to Yasakuni’s Shrine and to proclaim peace in Asia. And as you can see from the picture that I took you can see they are holding a war time Japanese Imperial Army flag along with their national flag To express strong stance of jingoism. So we didn’t – even with the differences in terms of scopes and level. Both Taiwanese and Japanese case demonstrates this new aversion to South Kore a is deeply rooted in the region’s colonial history that is combined with Korea’s changing status in the global culture map from a premiere Nation to a sub Empire in the greater Asian region in recent years. So as a way to wrap up I would like to highlight two important contributions to the field of media studies as well as Korean studies. First of all, we’re asked the previous research um mostly concerned how the regional audience fascination with a Korean culture created East Asian popular culture communities my project disrupt this emphasis and advances our understanding Of how a new effecting mode, not fascination but aversion, um dismantles and recreates racialized culture imagination In each Asia. Second I take a transnational approach to anit-Korean racism in East Asia as opposed to anti-Korean sentiment within a single National border. So for instance, anti- the rise of anti- Korean sentiment in Taiwan cannot be fully understood without considering Korea-China relations. Um so by taking trans-national perspective this research tried to highlight a complex geo-culture politics within East Asia. Thank you.

One thought on “Ji-Hyun Ahn – Selling Aversion: Anti-Korean Sentiment and Rise of New Nationalism in East Asia

  1. Why nobody talks about Korean nationalism. I think it's a good topic to talk about.
    Korean people love the word 민족, race in Korean, and people think Korean race is the most superior race.

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