Jung Sun Park is serving a fellowship at the Academy of Korean Studies in South Korea, conducting research on issues of South Korean social and cultural citizenship. As a complement to her previous research on legal citizenship in Korea, the professor of Asian Pacific studies, is currently working on the social and cultural dimensions of citizenship, which complements her previous research on the legal citizenship of foreign-born Koreans in Korea.
Park gave a lecture on her experiences on a Navajo reservation in Shiprock, N.M. at Yonsei University last June. She also delivered lectures in July at the Academy of Korean Studies on the Korean “wave” in pop culture throughout East Asia, and a lecture at Kangwon National University on Japanese comics and animation.
Park says that interest in Korean entertainment such as TV dramas, music, and film is integrated into many parts of Asia, but with a more localized flavor.
“Contrary to how people predicted 10 years ago that the Korean wave would die out, it still goes on,” she says. “There is a continued interest although it’s… more localized and [integrated] into people’s lives. There has been the growth of transnational collaboration, for example, [with] investments in movie making. A Hong Kong movie maker will have Japanese actors or Korean and Chinese actors working together in one movie.”
Park had her article, “The success and limitations of Japanese comics and animation in the U.S.: Can Korean manhwa and animation follow suit?” published last May in Complicated Currents: Media Flows, Soft Power and East Asia. Another version of this article was published last spring in Korean Studies Forum.
Park says that there is no agreement on an original Korean form of comics, as manhwa is often mistaken for Japanese manga.
“Korean manhwa has entered the U.S. market albeit in small scale and is often sold at the Japanese comics section of bookstores,” says Park. “In this regard, one of manhwa’s main challenges in the U.S. market is to establish its own identity distinctive from that of manga. It has good potential to attract a U.S. audience as it has good storylines and appealing drawing styles. Recently, Korean manhwa artists have experimented with online comics, which could open new doors for transnational consumption of manhwa.”
Park also attended a Korean Pop Culture workshop hosted by the University of California at Irvine last June and participated in a roundtable discussion on “New Directions of Korean Popular Culture Studies.”