Shin-Ōkubo as a feminine 'K-pop space'

gendering the geography of consumption of K-pop in Japan

Kathryn Phillips*, Tom Baudinette

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Studies of the global spread of South Korean popular culture have often neglected the role that space plays in this transnational fandom and consumer culture. Explicitly exploring the geography of Korean popular culture consumption in Japan, this article draws upon a walking ethnography of Tokyo's ‘Koreatown’ of Shin-Ōkubo and interviews with selected consumers to reveal how ‘K-pop spaces’ within Japan have become tied to young women's consumer culture. We argue that spaces of K-pop promotion and consumption within Tokyo are inherently ‘feminised’ due to their linkage to pre-established promotional strategies in consumer districts specifically targeting young women. Through an ethnography of Shin-Ōkubo and interviews with K-pop fans who regularly visit this district, we further reveal how this ‘ethnic enclave’ has been reconfigured as another ‘feminised’ consumer space that caters to particular behaviours and attitudes based in K-pop fandom. Overall, this article charts the emergence of ‘feminine’ consumer spaces in Tokyo and interrogates how the ethnic enclave of Shin-Ōkubo has transformed into a gendered space tied to Japanese K-pop fandom.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages24
JournalGender, Place and Culture
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • Gendered space
  • Japanese female fandom
  • K-pop space
  • Korean popular culture
  • Shin-Ōkubo

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