Webtoon as a New Korean Wave in the Process of Glocalization

Wonho Jang, Jung Eun Song

DOI: https://test.crossref.org/

Abstract

With the development of Web 2.0, the online publication of Korean cartoons has increased substantially. The webtoon is a new genre of publishing Korean comics (manhwa) online, and is considered a unique case in the global cartoon market. The increase of Internet users and digital cultural consumption has established conditions for fostering the platform for webtoons and their production. In addition, the popularity of Korean dramas and K-pop has cultivated the spread of webtoons in the countries receiving dramas and K-pop. This study discusses the characteristics of Korean webtoons and their development using the concept of “glocal culture.” The glocalization of Korean cultural contents is the combined result of local socio-cultural characteristics of Korea, the hybridization of global and local features, and the transnational consumption of the Korean cultural contents. Such glocalizing dynamics can be seen in the process of the consumption and creation of new forms of pop culture in the countries receiving Korean Wave products. The paper argues that webtoons should also be understood as an exemplary glocalization of Korean culture, representing the social and cultural characteristics of Korea, while also having an impact on foreign comics industries in the age of digitalization. In addition, the glocalization process of Korean webtoons promotes cultural communications establishing a global webtoon fandom.


Keywords

digital culture, glocal culture, glocalization, Korean Wave, transnational consumption, webtoon

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Kritika Kultura
Department of English
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Jan Baetens
Professor
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Joel David
Professor of Cultural Studies
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Michael Denning
Professor of American Studies and English
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Faculty of Cultural Sciences
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Regenia Gagnier
Professor of English
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Leela Gandhi
John Hawkes Professor of the Humanities and English
Brown University (US)

Inderpal Grewal
Professor of Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies
Professor of South Asian Studies, Ethnicity, Race and Migration Studies
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Peter Horn
Professor Emeritus and Honorary Lifetime Fellow
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Honorary Professor and Research Associate in German Studies
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Anette Horn
Professor of German Studies
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David Lloyd
Distinguished Professor of English
University of California, Riverside (US)

Bienvenido Lumbera
National Artist for Literature
Professor Emeritus
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Rajeev S. Patke
Director of the Division of Humanities
Professor of Humanities
Yale NUS College (Singapore)

Vicente L. Rafael
Giovanni and Amne Costigan Endowed Professor of History
University of Washington (US)

Vaidehi Ramanathan
Department of Linguistics
University of California, Davis (US)

Temario Rivera
Professorial Lecturer
Department of Political Science
University of the Philippines

E. San Juan, Jr.
Philippines Studies Center (US)

Neferti X.M. Tadiar
Professor of Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
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Director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
Columbia University (US)

Antony Tatlow
Honorary Professor of Drama
Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)