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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
To search for information on Korean popular culture, use the following geographic terms in your subject searches (e.g. Popular culture -- Korea):
Korea to find materials on the pre-1948 period and works about North Korea and South Korea collectively for the post-1948 period
“Korean Wave” or Hallyu refers to the growing international influence and popularity of Korean culture, especially music and TV, since the mid-1990s. In addition to subject searches, try these terms in keyword searches in the Library catalog and article databases.
A guide to finding Korea or Korea-related materials for your research.
The Korean Popular Culture Reader by Kyung Hyun Kim (Editor); Youngmin Choe (Editor)Over the past decade, Korean popular culture has become a global phenomenon. The "Korean Wave" of music, film, television, sports, and cuisine generates significant revenues and cultural pride in South Korea. The Korean Popular Culture Reader provides a timely and essential foundation for the study of "K-pop," relating the contemporary cultural landscape to its historical roots.
Publication Date: 2014-03-07
The Korean Wave by Youna Kim (Editor)Since the late 1990s South Korea has emerged as a new center for the production of transnational popular culture - the first instance of a major global circulation of Korean popular culture in history. This edited collection considers the Korean Wave in a global digital age and addresses the social, cultural and political implications in their complexity and paradox within the contexts of global inequalities and uneven power structures.
Publication Date: 2013-12-05
North Korea's Hidden Revolution by Jieun BaekDrawing on deeply personal interviews with North Korean defectors from all walks of life, ranging from propaganda artists to diplomats, Jieun Baek tells the story of North Korea's information underground--the network of citizens who take extraordinary risks by circulating illicit content such as foreign films, television shows, soap operas, books, and encyclopedias.
In addition to Korean films available to stream on Kanopy, the Library has a collection of contemporary and Golden Age Korean films housed in the Undergraduate Media Center. Learn more at the links below, and be sure to visit the Korean Film Guide for more resources.
Like many ideological dictatorships of the twentieth century, North Korea has always considered cinema an indispensible propaganda tool. This volume chronicles the history of North Korean cinema from its beginnings to today, examining the obstacles the film industry faced as well as the many social problems the films themselves reveal. It provides detailed analyses of major and minor films and explores important developments in the industry within the context of the concurrent social and political atmosphere.
Immediately following the Korean War, South Korea's film industry flourished with vibrant local production of high-quality films. Conditions that fostered South Korea's cinematic Golden Age were short lived; a brief period of intense poverty and struggle--but also creative freedom--was ended by the dictatorship of Park Chung Hee in the late 1960s. South Korean Golden Age Melodrama is the first English-language book to examine this era of remarkable activity, covering the specifics of the Golden Age as well as the influences it has had on contemporary South Korean film and television.
New Korean Cinema provides a comprehensive overview of the production, circulation, and reception of this vibrant cinema, which has begun to flourish again in the past decade, following the lifting of repressive government policies. In addition to providing a cultural, historical, and social context for understanding this burgeoning cinema, the book considers the political economy of South Korea's film industry, strategies of domestic and international distribution and marketing, and the consumption of Korean films throughout the world.
Journal of Japanese and Korean Cinema is a fully refereed forum for the dissemination of scholarly work devoted to the cinemas of Japan and Korea and the interactions and relations between them. The increasingly transnational status of Japanese and Korean cinema underlines the need to deepen our understanding of this ever more globalized film-making region.
The Library has many Korean TV shows available to check out. For more options, the links below provide information about streaming services (free and paid).
Fusing audience research and ethnography, the book presents a compelling account of women's changing lives and identities in relation to the impact of the most popular media culture in everyday life: television. Youna Kim reveals Korean women as creative, energetic and critical audiences in their responses to evolving modernity and the impact of the West. Based on original empirical research, the book explores the hopes, aspirations, frustrations and dilemmas of Korean women as they try to cope with life beyond traditional grounds.
The way Korean dramas mix nostalgia for older values, new ideas from a new era, and subject matter from a variety of cultural influences has proved equally appealing to Korean and overseas viewers. The dramas that global audiences enjoy today have storylines about affection (with a focus on the traditional family), the purest of love, and success stories in which characters achieve human victories.
K-pop--South Korean popular music--encompasses a huge variety of styles, artists, and genres. Check out Billboard's Top 20 K-pop Songs of 2017 for a sampling (playlist below, and videos and short reviews at the link). Explore the links and books below for more information.
To find materials in the library, try a subject search for "popular music -- Korea" or a keyword search in the catalog or databases for "k-pop."
K-pop, described by Time Magazine in 2012 as "South Korea's greatest export", has rapidly achieved a large worldwide audience of devoted fans largely through distribution over the Internet. This book examines the phenomenon, and discusses the reasons for its success. Overall, the book addresses the question of how far "Asian culture" can be global in a truly meaningful way, and how popular culture from a "marginal" nation has become a global phenomenon.
Made in Korea: Studies in Popular Music serves as a comprehensive and thorough introduction to the history, sociology, and musicology of contemporary Korean popular music. Each essay covers the major figures, styles, and social contexts of pop music in Korea, first presenting a general description of the history and background of popular music in Korea, followed by essays, written by leading scholars of Korean music, that are organized into thematic sections: History, Institution, Ideology; Genres and Styles; Artists; and Issues.
This book offers an in-depth study of the globalization of contemporary South Korean idol pop music, or K-Pop, visiting K-Pop and its multiple intersections with political, economic, and cultural formations and transformations. It provides detailed insights into the transformative process in and around the field of Korean pop music since the 1990s, which paved the way for the recent international rise of K-Pop and the Korean Wave.
Comics and graphic novels, or manhwa, from Korea are well-represented in the Library's comics collection, with nearly 200 titles from North Korea and South Korea, about half of them in English. Try a keyword search for "manhwa" in the catalog and article databases, and find comic books with a subject search for "comic books, strips, etc." or "graphic novels" and filter by country and/or language with the links on the right side of the page.
An exhaustive and visually engaging account, Mangasia charts the evolution of manga from its roots in late nineteenth-century Japan through the many and varied forms of comics, cartoons, and animation created throughout Asia for more than one hundred years. With maps, timelines, and reproductions from Japan, China, Taiwan, North Korea, South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia, the Philippines, Vietnam, India, and Bangladesh, this book is the first to explain the significance of key themes, the meanings of embodied myths, and the connections between various manga traditions.
Appropriate for any public library collection, this book provides a comprehensive readers' advisory guide for Japanese manga and anime, Korean manhwa, and Chinese manhua.
Video gaming in South Korea is more than a hobby--it's a competitive sport, a national pastime, and a public health crisis in the form of video game addiction. The video below explores the dynamics of internet and game addiction in South Korea, following several young people as they go through a treatment program sponsored by the Korean government. A transcript is available at the SBS Dateline site.
In South Korea, online gaming is a cultural phenomenon. Games are broadcast on television, professional gamers are celebrities, and youth culture is often identified with online gaming. Uniquely in the online games market, Korea not only dominates the local market but has also made its mark globally. In Korea's Online Gaming Empire, Dal Yong Jin examines the rapid growth of this industry from a political economy perspective, discussing it in social, cultural, and economic terms.
Digital Korea is a study of the most advanced country for digital convergence, South Korea. Much of what we see in South Korea today sounds like science fiction - but forms the solid reality of life in South Korea today. This is one of the first attempts to understand the current state of digital convergence, ubiquitous computing and the information society that is South Korea.
Webcomics (webtoons in Korea, after a popular platform) are just as popular, if not more so, than print comics. Learn more about Korean webtoons and explore some sites in English below. Wikipedia has a comprehensive list of Korean language webtoon services.