Speaker: Hyangjin Lee, Professor, Rikkyo University
Moderator: Jungwon Kim, King Sejong Associate Professor of Korean History
In the COVID era, audiences have been isolated by border closures, and fear of infection has been manifesting in an old form of prejudice—discrimination and xenophobia. But against these odds, Korean dramas have been spreading empathy and a sense of global community. The ongoing popularity of Crash Landing on You, the most watched Netflix series in Japan in 2020, challenges anti-Korean sentiments. Squid Game, Netflix’s most watched show of all time in the first month after its release, undermined Western cultural elitism. Streaming services are competing to secure Korean content for the global market. The genres and themes vary, and the audience is diverse. But what these works have in common are melodramatic social criticism and a strong sense of poetic justice. This lecture will explore the ways in which satires of the social realities of Korea—in the form of “bingeworthy” TV—have resonated with audiences all over the world.
This event is sponsored by the Center for Korean Research.