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Mediating the South Korean Other

Representations and Discourses of Difference in the Post/Neocolonial Nation-State

Edited by David C. Oh

Subjects: Asian Studies, Korea
Ebook : 9780472220373, 254 pages, 1 figure, 3 tables, 6 x 9, July 2022
Paperback : 9780472055456, 254 pages, 1 figure, 3 tables, 6 x 9, July 2022
Hardcover : 9780472075454, 254 pages, 1 figure, 3 tables, 6 x 9, July 2022
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Offers a new framework for understanding ethnic and racial difference in Korea

Table of contents

David C. Oh

Part 1: Mediating the Racial and Ethnic Other

Chapter 1: Aspirational Interraciality and Desirable Whiteness: South Korean Media Depictions of Interracial Intimacies between White Women and Cosmopolitan South Korean Men
Min Joo Lee
Chapter 2: Strategic Blackness in South Korean Television
Benjamin Han
Chapter 3: Televised Korean Dream: The Birth of a Great Star and Racial/Ethnic Diversity in Survival Audition Program in South Korea
Ji-Hyun Ahn
Chapter 4: Narratives of Marginalized Otherness in Migrant Women: In South Korean films Rosa and Thuy
Eunbi Lee and Colby Miyose
Chapter 5: Two Sides of the ‘Other’: Fear and Loving of Japanese Characters in Contemporary South Korean Cinema
Russell Edwards

Part 2: Mediating the Co-Ethnic Other

Chapter 6: “Truth? No One Cares About the Truth”: On Marginalized Identities and Belonging in The Bacchus Lady
Myoung-Sun Song
Chapter 7: Staging North Korean Defections: Uncharted Borders, Ideological Disorientation, and Diasporic Conditions
Miseong Woo
Chapter 8: Enemy of the State: Cold War Rhetoric and Representation of North Korea(ns) in Hallyu Films
JongHwa Lee
Chapter 9: Reframing the Difference of Co-ethnic Other in Japan: An Analysis of Representations and Identifications in a South Korean Documentary Film “Uri-Hakkyo”
Min Wha Han
Chapter 10: The Other at Home: A Comparative Analysis of Coverage of an Exiled Korean American K-pop Star
Alice N. Kim and Sherry S. Yu
David C. Oh


Multiculturalism in Korea formed in the context of its neoliberal, global aspirations, its postcolonial legacy with Japan, and its subordinated neocolonial relationship with the United States. The Korean ethnoscape and mediascape produce a complex understanding of difference that cannot be easily reduced to racism or ethnocentrism. Indeed the Korean word, injongchabyeol, often translated as racism, refers to discrimination based on any kind of “human category.” Explaining Korea’s relationship to difference and its practices of othering, including in media culture, requires new language and nuance in English-language scholarship.

This collection brings together leading and emerging scholars of multiculturalism in Korean media culture to examine mediated constructions of the “other,” taking into account the nation’s postcolonial and neocolonial relationships and its mediated construction of self. “Anthrocategorism,” a more nuanced translation of injongchabyeol, is proffered as a new framework for understanding difference in ways that are locally meaningful in a society and media system in which racial or even ethnic differences are not the most salient. The collection points to the construction of racial others that elevates, tolerates, and incorporates difference; the construction of valued and devalued ethnic others; and the ambivalent construction of co-ethnic others as sympathetic victims or marginalized threats.

David C. Oh is Associate Professor of Communication Arts at Ramapo College of New Jersey.

Mediating the South Korean Other introduces a new and different level of racial discourse and reveals the profound meaning of human difference under the unique context of the formally colonized South Korea and its current postcolonial struggles. It is very important to recognize a distinctive understanding of racial discourse other than the western-dominated concept of racism. The book actively engages with diverse scholars and perspectives to demonstrate how the South Korean media displays anthrocategorism and reinforces postcolonial/neocolonial racism.”
—Choi Hee An, Boston University

- Choi Hee An

“This is the only book currently available that addresses the issue of race and ‘racism’ in postcolonial, contemporary Korea as it is manifested in film, theater, and television. The book is topical and timely, and it will serve as a teaching resource for university classes on modern and contemporary Korean studies.”
—Kyung Hyun Kim, University of California, Irvine

- Kyung Hyun Kim

"This worthwhile book adds to our knowledge of otherness and othering from a particular Asian perspective, and employs a media methodology which is challenging but gives arguably greater depth than more conventional methodologies. It provides a very insightful analysis of contemporary Korea." 
Ethnic and Racial Studies

- Desmond Cahill

"It was pure joy to read this volume filled with the contributors' autoethnographies, visions, and lifetimes struggles and resilience as a part of the Korean diaspora. The book will prove not only a valuable source for academics and students interested in the Korean diaspora, its history, and complex identities, but also for those searching for answers through the humanities."
--Pacific Affairs

- Chuyun Oh