"Asians - freaky chaps!" (De)constructing Asia through personal encounters with North East Asian popular culture

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Kolesova, Elena
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Conference Contribution - Oral Presentation
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
New Zealand
North East Asia
popular culture
Kolesova, E. (2014). "Asians - freaky chaps!" (De)constructing Asia through personal encounters with North East Asian popular culture. Paper presented at Post-Asia Film, Media and Popular Culture, International Conference at Macau University
New Zealand youth, as youth all around the world, greatly enjoy popular culture originating from North East Asia.Martial arts movies, anime, computer games, fashion,food, music, design, gardens, tattoo - it would be hard to find a popular culture genre that has originated in North East Asia that does not have followers in New Zealand. The consumption of imported popular culture by local people does not happen passively, but influences their identity construction by incorporating foreign forms into their local cultural context. Michel de Certeau, in his book The Practice of Everyday Life (1984), argues that popular practices are full of importance for understanding our lives. He proposes the analysis of not only the symbolic dimension of cultural products or merchandise, but also the mechanisms of consumption of these products by consumers or “users” of this culture. In fact, the “user” of popular culture exercises power by producing certain meanings that tell more about the struggle of the “user” than the original producer. However, the local people’s life experiences, although influenced by the global culture, remain in a local cultural context. The question is how global, or in this context North East Asian popular culture, contributes towards local articulations of New Zealand cultural identity? And what can we learn about the everyday performance and consumption of East Asian popular culture? Why does New Zealand youth choose East Asian popular culture? And finally, what are the images of Asia that New Zealand youth construct through their experiences with East Asian popular culture? Using a series of case studies, this paper explores the consumption or the ‘use’ of East Asian popular culture in a local New Zealand context. It also explores the images of Asia constructed by New Zealand youth through this consumption.
Asian Cinema Studies Society
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