Have You Ever Seen The Rain? And Who’ll Stop the Rain?: The Globalizing Project of Korean Pop (K-pop)
Using the Korean artist Rain as a case study, the article examines the Korean music industry and its development into “multi-purpose star management” that creates transnational stars by de-emphasizing their national identity. It also examines the reaction by media and fans.
“Border-crossing Korean pop culture” is part of a larger phenomenon describe as “trans-Asia cultural traffic” (Iwabuchi) or “East Asian pop culture” (Chua). Yet previous studies confine Korean pop culture to the Asia region while K-pop is engaged in a globalizing mission.
Rain functions as a case study because he seeks to transform from a star in Asia into a global star. The means by which this could be achieved is the “star manufacturing system,” where Korean entertainment agencies incorporate production and management within the agency, and includes a training system. This system developed in the wake of the 1997 economic crises and shifts in the production in idol groups in the wake of the decline of music show programs. In order to achieve global star status, the article argues that Rain de-emphasized his Asian identity to embrace a global one in terms of marketing.
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