Shin Hyunjoon

Shin Hyunjoon is assistant professor in the Institute for East Asian Studies (IEAS) at Sunkonghoe University. He received his PhD from Seoul National University with a thesis on Korean music industry. Shin’s writing on K-Pop and Korean rok music has appeared in the journals: positions, Journal of Communication, and Inter-Asia Cultural Studies.



"Translocal and Collaborative Creativity Between Japan (Tokyo) and Korea (Seoul): Three Cases of Japanese Rock Musicians in Seoul"

While so-called K-pop—mainstream Korean pop music produced by ‘idol factories’—has dominated the mainstream and, arguably, found considerable success outside Korea, there has also been a significant increase in the popularity of local indie music. Clustered in Hongdae area, in the western end of Seoul, some indie bands and artists have created music for the frustrated and hopeless youth under the harsh neo-liberal restructuring of the society since the late 1990s. Rather than merely borrowing and appropriating international styles, some local bands have experimented to incorporate the local ‘tradition’ of rock and popular music. Of note are the significant roles played by Japanese artists and intermediaries in the rediscovery and canonization of Korean popular music otherwise largely ignored by local artists. Kasuga “Hachi” Hirofumi (1954~ ), Yukie Sato (1963~ ) and Youhei Hasekawa (1971~ ) deserve special attention—belonging to different generation of Japanese rock music, they have settled down in Korea and performed collaborative creativities with Korean artists.

Based on in-depth interview with artists, I analyze these activites from the angle of translocality between Japan (Tokyo) and Korea (Seoul). It is followed by the assessment of the (im)possible agenda, conscious or not, of creating East Asian indie music, which tends to subvert not only the local governmentality of domestic pop but also the global hegemony of ‘international’ pop.