This new textbook is a timely and interdisciplinary resource for students looking for an introduction to Korean popular culture, exploring the multifaceted meaning of Korean popular culture at micro and macro levels and the process of cultural production, representation, circulation and consumption in a global context.

Drawing on perspectives from the humanities and social sciences, including media and communications, film studies, musicology, cultural studies, sociology, anthropology, history and literature, this book provides a comprehensive and up-to-date overview of Korean popular culture and its historical underpinnings, changing roles and dynamic meanings in the present moment of the digital social media age. The book’s sections include:

  • K-pop Music
  • Popular Cinema
  • Television
  • Web Drama, Webtoon and Animation
  • Digital Games and Esports
  • Lifestyle Media, Fashion and Food
  • Nation Branding

An accessible, comprehensive and thought-provoking work, providing historical and contemporary contexts, key issues and debates, this textbook will appeal to students of and providers of courses on popular culture, media studies and Korean culture and society more broadly.

Introduction: Situating Korean Popular Culture in the Global Culture Landscape  Part 1: K-pop Music  1. K-pop in the History of the Korean Wave: A Long Revolution  2. Digital K-pop Fan Platforms in a Cosmopolitan World  3. Chart Manipulation and Fan Labor in the Online Moral Economy of K-pop  4. Celebrity Fashion and Fan Consumption: BTS "Jungkook HanbokPart 2: Popular Cinema  5. The Rise of New Korean Cinema and Hallyu  6. Parasite and Snowpiercer as Derivations to Hallyu: Korean Cinema, Neoliberalism and Semi-Global Exclusivity  7. Her Revenge: Low Birthrate Cinema from Lady Vengeance to The Villainess  8. The Climate of Cinema: Gender, Debt and the Future of Labor in Squid Game and Parasite  Part 3: Television  9. The Korean Wave Television: From Winter Sonata to Squid Game  10. Netflix and Korean Drama: Cultural Resonance, Affect and Consumption in Asia  11. Gender and the Paradox of Body Politics in Korean Makeover Television  12. Democratization, Social Media and Korean Television in Transition  Part 4: Web Drama, Webtoon and Animation  13. Korean Web Drama on the Rise: The Difference Independent Productions Make  14. Korean Webtoon and Identity Politics in the Digital Age  15. Transmediating Tradition: Convergence of Premodern Prose, Webtoons and Audio Comics  16. Cultural Identity in Transnational Korean Animation: The Stateless Fantasy of Ragnarök  Part 5: Digital Games and Esports  17. The Political Economy of the Digital Game Industry: An Analysis of Transnational Capital  18. Techno-Orientalism in Global/Korean Esports: "They Play Games Really Well, But It Is Us to Have Them Play"  19. Visualizing the Invisible: Korean Esports and the Representation of Gameplay Skill  20. Between Super Players and Mega Fans: The Emergence of Data-Led Gaming Environments in Korean Esports  Part 6: Lifestyle Media, Fashion and Food  21. South Korean Celebrities and Lifestyle Media  22. K-fashion E-tailers and Consumption in the Global Market  23. Precarious Eating: Young Koreans’ Digital Practice of Mukbang  Part 7: Popular Culture and Nation Branding  24. Branding the Sense of Place: Gangnam as the Epicenter of the Korean Wave  25. First Time in Korea?: The Mediation of Strangeness through Food Practices  26. The Korean Wave and Mega-Asia: Imagining a Pan-Asian Community