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Structure, Audience and Soft Power in East Asian Pop Culture$
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Beng Huat Chua

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9789888139033

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888139033.001.0001

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Pop Culture as Soft Power

Pop Culture as Soft Power

(p.119) 7 Pop Culture as Soft Power
Structure, Audience and Soft Power in East Asian Pop Culture

Chua Beng Huat

Hong Kong University Press

Pop culture has emerged has a vehicle of soft power and an arena for competition in cultural diplomacy between China, Japan and Korea. As a middle-power, Korea is the most self-conscious about turning the popularity of its pop culture into an instrument to influence its consumers in Japan and, especially China. Japan’s ability to exercise cultural influence is limited by the potential push-back from memories its colonization of Korea and war time atrocities in China. With a nascent media industry, China is currently at a disadvantage because it is a net importer of pop culture; however, its massive consumption power has begun to force foreign producers to seek co-production opportunities with Chinese companies in order to avoid being kept out by import restrictions imposed by the Chinese government. Co-production gives the Chinese counterparts the right to control the content of the programs, than an ideological advantage. In view of the soft power competition, the idea of pan-East Asian cinema seems to be a project deferred rather than one that is imminent.

Keywords:   Cultural diplomacy, soft power, pan East Asian cinema, Japan’s gross national cool, China’s consumption power

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