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Free Content Cultural harmonization in East Asia: Adaptation of Hana yori dango / Boys Over Flowers

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In the domain of popular culture since the 1990s, Japanese media has increasingly crossed regional and international borders. There has been appropriation, adaptation and remaking of many of these media products into different formats, such as manga, anime, TV drama, films and games.¬†Products, when traded and remade across geographical boundaries, have a multidimensional aspect and potentially contribute to an evolving cultural re-engagement between Japan and Asia. This article analyses, within a sociocultural context, the significant textual and cultural elements of the iconic Japanese manga, Hana yori dango / Boys Over Flowers. Firstly, it explores how the originating manga has been adapted into TV drama formats through the process of remaking, in Japan, Korea and Taiwan. Secondly, it examines the differentiation of textual and cultural content in the three countries; and, finally, it measures audience reception within a distinct fan group. Survey questionnaires and focus group interviews are used to collate the audience reception of the texts. The article argues that the media trade, through products like Hana yori dango, is contributing to the enhancement of regional intercultural understanding beyond regional historical antipathy. The article further argues that the influence of media trade and Japanese popular culture is contributing in a positive manner to the idea of regional ‘harmony’, rather than hybridism, with the retention in Japan, Korea and Taiwan of inherent cultural values.

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Keywords: TV drama; cultural framework; cultural harmonization; harmonization; manga; remade (remaking); textual and cultural content

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Sydney

Publication date: April 1, 2015

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  • The East Asian Journal of Popular Culture is the first academic peer-reviewed journal for scholars, teachers, and students from around the world who have an active and passionate interest in the Popular Culture of East Asia. The journal is devoted to all aspects of popular culture in East Asia and the interplay between East Asia and the wider world. With the growth in popularity of Asian visual products in the Western world and the increasing strength of the Asian markets, this publication fulfills the need for an international journal that allows Western and Asian film, media, literary, music, fashion, digital media, television, art and cultural scholars alike to engage in discussion. In the last few decades there has been a huge rise in the interest in East Asian popular culture. The East Asian Journal of Popular Culture will be engaging directly with that trend. From film to music; art to translation and fashion to tourism, this journal will offer a forum where multidisciplinary work can come together in new and exciting ways.
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