Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Shu-Ling Chen. Berggreen

Second Advisor

Andrew Calabrese

Third Advisor

Janice Peck

Fourth Advisor

Hun Shik Kim

Fifth Advisor

Faye Kleeman


This dissertation study aims to identify the role of national markets in the regional flow of pop culture, focusing on how national markets react to foreign pop cultures and take advantage of them. Taking the international popularity of South Korean pop culture, called “Korean Wave,” or “Hallyu” in Japan as the case, this study analyzes the discourse of Japan’s mainstream media from 2009 to 2016 in order to find out the national market's role and desire behind the regional and transnational flow of pop culture.

The findings show that the Japanese media attended to the benefits coming from the boom. In political dimension, the Korean Wave was regarded as significant as a symbol of cultural exchange and mutual understandings. The two-way flow of culture was considered as necessary, and Japanese politicians, celebrities, and fans reproduced the traditional image of bridges between Japan and Korea. Paying attention to the economic effects, the Japanese media took advantage of the Korean Wave contents’ advertising effect as product placement. While the Japanese domestic economy and local governments benefited from the Korean Wave contents for town revitalization and new business opportunities, the product placement effect in the international market was viewed as a threat to the international presence of Japan and its economy. In terms of the pop culture market, although the Japanese media and pop culture industry continuously introduced and promoted Korean Wave contents, with the desire to have the superiority of the Japanese market confirmed hidden in the background.

After all, the Korean Wave in Japan was presented and promoted within the Japanese system operating its pop culture industry and based on the contributions that the Korean pop culture made to the Japanese society. When such values do not exist any more, there is little need for the Japanese media to report and promote the Korean Wave. The desire of the larger markets such as Japan suggests that the Korean Wave phenomenon, which has been regarded to have complicated existing power structures, may represent a new form in which the status quo is reproduced in a different way.

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