Authors: Hsin-Pey Peng
Abstract: Over the recent decade there has been a significant change in representations of popular culture in East Asia, from Western-adored to Asian-reimagined, that is not only crossborder but also beyond nationalistic. The change, still rapidly ongoing, has effectively undergone a process of conversion in which the accelerating development of local productions has occurred based on a global context. The aim of this article is to examine the shifting trajectory of East Asian popular culture from its initial formation by media to its naturalisation in society. The article highlights a particular genre of local TV production in East Asia – trendy drama – as the turning point in the modern age of the new cultural formation. It is argued that the contemporary East Asian TV industry has symbolic power to produce trendy drama, which in turn serves as a symbolic form to signify new values enshrining an imagined community for East Asian audiences. Therefore, cultural representations in East Asia now express the specific East Asian popular culture as an Asian outlook mixed with Western-adaptation. This paper foregrounds the Japanese TV industry as the key initiator of this metamorphic adaptation of TV production within East Asian TV industries. By following the East Asian TV industry’s reproduction of trendy drama, the paper concludes that specific key values promoting Asian modernity attract East Asian people to relook at themselves and start to identify their own popular culture, no longer in the shadow of Western adoration.
Keywords: media power, symbolic power, TV drama production