[Online Lecture] Making Icons: The Rise of the K-pop Adjacent Industries

CedarBough Saeji
Tuesday, June 23, 2020 -
7:30pm to 9:00pm
Online Zoom meeting

Royal Asiatic Society, Korea Branch lecture series

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We are inviting RAS members and friends to the RAS online lecture via Zoom

** How to join the lecture:

1) Go to Zoom meeting link: 


2) Sign up using your name

3) Enter Zoom details if needed: 

Meeting ID: 817 6814 1218

Password: 623931

4) Join the talk no later than 19:30, June 23 (Seoul)


Making Icons:

The Rise of the K-pop Adjacent Industries 

Korean popular music (K-pop) is a musical industry centered on artistic products of idol stars. In tandem with K-pop's success, but beyond those leading entertainment agencies and singers, an entire industry that parasitically feeds off K-pop while also symbiotically amplifying it has emerged. The K-pop industry is now supporting and supported by a multitude of lime-light eschewing and lime-light seeking people who are making a living through various K-pop dependent activities—a secondary yet autonomous industry. New participants in this adjacent/dependent industry support K-pop fandom, and may become secondary stars or in rare cases, penetrate the ranks of the idols. The very publicness of their activities gestures not at a subculture but at a *side *culture, generating a fascinating and contradictory transcultural practice and dialogue. I explore the specific issue of the K-pop adjacent industries that are dependent on the same sources of finances—fans and the Korean government—that the industry relies on. I conducted in-person and online interviews with performers, educators, and artists; (1) performers whose esire to be noticed collectively encourages creativity—a weakness of the hegemonic K-pop insiders, (2) educators that deepen fan engagement with K-pop through dance classes, tourism experiences, and educational programs, and (3) artists who produce new unofficial merchandise. I argue that these industries have become an integral part of interacting with and understanding K-pop today, introducing and enabling personal encounters with K-pop and Korea, and contributing to the growth of the industry.

CedarBough T. Saeji has an MA in Korean Studies from Yonsei University, and a PhD in Culture and Performance from UCLA. Saeji has taught Korean Studies at University of British Columbia, Korea University, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies and is now a Visiting Assistant Professor at Indiana University, Bloomington. Publications have appeared in edited volumes on women in traditional performing arts, Korean screen cultures, theatre in Asia, and intangible cultural heritage and journals including *Journal of Korean Studies, Korea Journal, Acta Koreana, Pacific Affairs, Asia Theatre Journal, *and *Asia Pacific Journal. *


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Royal Asiatic Society Korea Branch
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