Popular Culture: Islands of Fandom in East Asia


Author: Seiko Yasumoto, University of Sydney, Australia
Email: seiko.yasumoto@sydney.edu.au
Published: December 2014

Citation: Yasumoto, S. (2014). Popular Culture: Islands of Fandom in East Asia. IAFOR Journal of Asian Studies, 1(1). https://doi.org/10.22492/ijas.1.1.06


This paper investigates and evaluates pan-Asian exports of Japanese TV drama in a variety of formats within the domain of popular culture. This component of media trade has allowed Japan’s image to become attractive constituting a shift away from the negative image of an aggressor nation. The study argues that the regional distribution of Japanese media popular culture has contributed through fandom, to regional harmony in East Asia. Audience research has been applied, utilising questionnaires and ensuing focus group interviews to ascertain the extent of media influence of television drama in Taiwan, Japan and Korea, representations of Japan, and cultural proximity. Participants in the research comprised Taiwanese, Japanese and Korean university students studying in Australia. The study further argues that political changes in South Korea has created a step change in regional media flows towards the Korean Wave and its antecedent Hallyu, further reinforcing the process of regional fandom. The findings provide a gauge to ascertain the longer-term prospects for a consolidation of emerging regional harmony driven by a commonality of interest and values juxtaposed by historical antipathy.


Japanese TV drama, popular culture, fandom, East Asia, Korean wave, regional harmony