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East Asian Pop CultureAnalysing the Korean Wave$
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Beng Huat Chua and Koichi Iwabuchi

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9789622098923

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789622098923.001.0001

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Existing in the Age of Innocence:

Existing in the Age of Innocence:

Pop Stars, Publics, and Politics in Asia

(p.217) 11 Existing in the Age of Innocence:
East Asian Pop Culture

Eva Tsai

Hong Kong University Press

This chapter examines the inter-Asia cultural space where different strands of nationalisms meet and compete to define, shape, and discipline the legitimacy of border-crossing pop stars. It highlights an emergent issue of how inter-Asia celebrities can become implicated in national identity battles, in an era where the intensification of transnational cultural flows seems bound to engender the nationalization of sentiments and politics. It strategically juxtaposes two Asian pop stars that both became “grounded” amid trans-border politics in 2004. Aboriginal-Taiwanese pop diva Chang Hui-Mei (A-mei) faced “patriotic” protesters in China and unpatriotic charges “back home” from Taiwanese politicians. Song Seung-Heon, the leading man in the hallyu hit drama, Autumn Fairytale, admitted to draft-dodging by illegal means and began mandatory military service despite efforts by fans to keep him on a highly anticipated drama about to begin production. In the two juxtaposed cases, the celebrities clearly bridged the individual and public culture of the democratic age.

Keywords:   Asia, Chang Hui-Mei, Song Seung-Heon, politics, public culture, pop stars, popular culture, national identity

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