IASPM 13th Biennial Conference (Rome, July 24~30 2005)

by Homey81

In July 2005, just after Inter-Asia Cultural Studies conference, Hyunjoon and Jungyup flew to Rome with Jung-yup. Pilho Kim took pains to organize a panel about Korean popular music (see below) and another Korean scholar called Roh Jaeho was adde up to our panel.

There we met some researchers from other parts of Asia like Yiufai and Waichung (who are our members), and also other researchers from Taiwan, the Philippines with whom I lost the contact. We also met Western researchers who has been studying Asian popular music, for example Jeroen de Kloet (on Chinese rock music), Stephanie Dorin (on Indian rock music) and Shirley Brunt (on Japanese song competition).

For more pictures, please click…

2005. 07. 25 ~ 29

After the conference, Tunghung said that he would have liked to read the conference book. So I scanned all the pages (as you know, sometimes I become crazy, haha) and send them to him. And I hope we all share them now.

After the conference I wrote conference review with the help of Pilho and it was published in the journal of Popular Music. If your university provides e-journal service, please download it here: http://journals.cambridge.org/production/action/cjoGetFulltext?fulltextid=408270. If not, just feel free to tell me.


Panel Proposal for the 13th Biennial IASPM International Conference
Popular music as ‘postcolonial’ transculture: the case of South Korea

Intended stream: Mapping Meaning


Pil Ho Kim, Ph.D. candidate, sociology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA

Postal address: 138 Price Ave. Columbus, OH 43201, USA

Email: pkim@ssc.wisc.edu


Roald Maliangkay (Ph.D. history, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands): “Brothers and Sisters Join Forces: The Influence of American Military Entertainment on Korean Pop in the 1950s and early 60s”

Pil Ho Kim: “The Birth of ROK (Rock Of Korea), 1964-1972”

Hyunjoon Shin (Ph.D. economics, SongGongHoe University, Korea): “The (D)evolution of K-pop: from Americanization to Nationalization/Asianization?”


This panel will investigate the process of localization/transculturation of popular music in South Korea as a consequence of the US military occupation and continued presence since the end of World War II. The military bases were a brooding ground for the local musicians, who were hired by the US authorities to provide entertainment for the soldiers and military personnel. Although these local bands basically copied Anglo-American popular music on the stage of military clubs and camp shows, at least some of them proved to be much more than just ‘cover bands’ when they found an opportunity to play their originals in front of the domestic audiences, a new generation of youths that grew up listening to the western pop music.

As early as the mid-1960s in South Korea, rock music became localized and representative of the burgeoning youth culture. In the beginning, rock music might have been a part of the American imperialist apparatus, or an emblem of cultural imperialism itself. But by the time, Korean rock was no longer associated with the US military.    While it is probably foolhardy to deny any kind of Anglo-American influence in today’s Korean popular music, the thoroughly localized context requires a more nuanced approach than presupposing a simple one-way cultural domination.

Another case in point is recent popularity of K-Pop, the localized version of western pop music, among the neighboring countries of East Asia. It is a prime example of how the global cultural hegemony is translated into a regional/national system of cultural industries. It also shows that popular music offers a good point of entry for the ‘postcolonial’ perspective in South Korea and the other parts of East Asia, which have been sharing much in common under the Japanese colonial rule and the subsequent US hegemony in the past and present.

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