Re-made in Asia : transformation across Asian markets and popular culture

King, Seiko (2012) Re-made in Asia : transformation across Asian markets and popular culture. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


The thesis is an examination of how Japanese popular culture products are remade (rimeiku). Adaptation of manga, anime and television drama, from one format to another, frequently occurs within Japan. The rights to these stories and texts are traded in South Korea and Taiwan. The ‘spin-off’ products form part of the Japanese content industry. When products are distributed and remade across geographical boundaries, they have a multi-dimensional aspect and potentially contribute to an evolving cultural re-engagement between Japan and East Asia.

The case studies are the television dramas Akai Giwaku and Winter Sonata and two manga, Hana yori Dango and Janguru Taitei. Except for the television drama Winter Sonata these texts originated in Japan. Each study shows how remaking occurs across geographical borders.

The study argues that Japan has been slow to recognise the value of its popular culture through regional and international media trade. Japan is now taking steps to remedy this strategic shortfall to enable the long-term viability of the Japanese content industry. The study includes an examination of how remaking raises legal issues in the appropriation of media content. Unauthorised copying and piracy contributes to loss of financial value.

To place the three Japanese cultural products into a historical context, the thesis includes an overview of Japanese copying culture from its early origins through to the present day. The thesis also discusses the Meiji restoration and the post-World War II restructuring that resulted in Japan becoming a regional media powerhouse.

The localisation of Japanese media content in South Korea and Taiwan also brings with it significant cultural influences, which may be regarded as contributing to a better understanding of East Asian society in line with the idea of regional ‘harmony’. The study argues that the commercial success of Japanese products beyond Japan is governed by perceptions of the quality of the story and by the cultural frames of the target audience. The thesis draws on audience research to illustrate the loss or reinforcement of national identity as a consequence of cross-cultural trade. The thesis also examines the contribution to Japanese ‘soft power’ (Nye, 2004, p. x). The study concludes with recommendations for the sustainability of the Japanese media industry.

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ID Code: 54738
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Keane, Michael A. & Flew, Terry
Keywords: adaptation, cultural proximity, harmony, hybridity, popular culture, regionalisation, remaking (remake), soft power, television drama, film, manga, anime, audio visual content
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 12 Nov 2012 04:23
Last Modified: 03 Sep 2015 11:09

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