Constructing a New Image. Hallyu in Taiwan

in European Journal of East Asian Studies
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This paper discusses how hallyu—the recent influx of Korean popular culture in Taiwan—has transformed the image of South Korea among the people of Taiwan. South Korea and Taiwan share a similar historical past. Nevertheless, the Taiwanese did not have a positive image of South Korea after 1992, when South Korea broke off diplomatic relations with Taiwan in order to establish diplomatic relations with mainland China. This work is based on ethnographic research done in Taiwan and South Korea from 2001–2003 and 2007–2009. It explores how hallyu has contributed to the rebuilding of the image of South Korea in Taiwan. It discusses Taiwanese perceptions of this image and the role of the South Korean government in improving it. It focuses on how a once-held negative image of South Korea has been transformed. The hallyu boom inspired many Taiwanese to remark on the influence of South Korean dramas and pop music in renewing their relationship with South Korea. It has provided an opportunity for Taiwan and South Korea to build positive relationships after the break-up of their diplomatic relations. Through hallyu, South Korea became a country that Taiwanese want to emulate, a model nation for Taiwan today.

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