Dearly Beloved, Are You Listening? – Nationalism and the Anti-hallyu Wave

Hello, my name is Amy, and I’ve only ever watched two Korean dramas — and have only ever bought one Korean music album: Seo Taiji’s Issue. I am also a citizen of the world, and have grown up with entertainment from all over the world. I speak English, Spanish… and I believe I can sorta speak French. I like Japanese, but am studying Mandarin.

In my recent feature titled American, Latin, Hallyu: Worldwide Entertainment and Waves, I discussed actor Sousuke Takaoka’s comments on the Korean Wave sweeping Japan (and the world). Since then, his agency dropped him, and now this has exploded. Netizens are calling for a FujiTV (channel 8) boycott on August 8 because they show too much Korean content. 40 hours a month of Korean programming is apparently “too much” to these people. 40 hours a month is a little more than 1 hour — one or two shows, give or take — a day.

Let me give you a bit of perspective~ GlobalTV (canal 13) on Mondays, shows about 16 American programs — roughly 8 hours of programming a day. So in a month average — assuming we get the same amount of programming on weekends and weekdays — we get about 240 hours of American programs. On Mondays, we also get 30 minutes of Doraemon, so we get about 2.5 hours a week (not counting weekends) — in a 4-week run, that makes it 10 hours a month of Japanese animation.

After that, 40 hours a month seem… rather petite, non?

I sort of understand nationalism. Feeling deep pride for one’s culture after the struggle — you know, that mushy feeling that arose right after the Tohoku disasters when we cried with you for all your losses, or that swelling feeling when we saw the Japanese woman football/soccer team beat all those teams and ultimately become World Champions. However, I also pick nationalism with chopsticks as if it were stinky tofu. I hate that part of nationalism that makes us look down on other cultures, as if we were superior, thinking that them making it only means we won’t. Making us believe that we suck only because they seem better. Let’s take a look in the mirror, if we suck it’s only because of us.

It’s easy to get consumed with the bad side of nationalism. Of course, there’s a “fake” side of nationalism when we borrow cultures like we often do nowadays — now that everything is one click away, it’s even easier to get caught up in that. How often have I, all on my own, been caught putting down a Hollywood mainstream film because I prefer the Asian mainstream. It’s so easy, but it must be avoided. Lucky for me, I have never resorted to a “let’s boycott” action.

Yes, there have been incidents when there were boycotts of Hollywood movies, which I touched upon on my feature on Asian Americans in American Media, even if those were based on different issues and they didn’t have to do with nationalism, but about minority representation.

So I urge you, Japanese citizen, to not boycott FujiTV. Yes, the internet is a powerful thing, but it shouldn’t be used to bring down something that’s trying to break the walls of cultural seclusion. The internet, after all, is also supposed to be tearing down those walls, but it’s being used to build even stronger barriers against multicultural exchange.


YAM Magazine editor, photographer, blogger, translator and part-time web designer. Film junkie, music junkie… and lately series (a.k.a. TV) junkie.

8 Responses

  1. Rodrigo says:


    I can’t remember a word that you were saying. :P

    Hey Amy, do people in Peru still watch Global? I know that America, ATV and Frecuencia Latina are still Peru’s biggest channels and it might be harder to care about Global. Or is Global a bit more popular after their big popularity decline from years ago? Well, they do air the U-20 World Cup at the moment and showed that Japan-USA match you refer to and they were the first peruvian channel to air Kill Bill on peruvian screens, lol.

    But back on topic, I’m easily ignorant/apathetic on this topic, but your Green Day quote trigged me to drop a comment. And maybe Japan should improve their stuff as Julyssa said on a video post here that I read.

    Wonder how things would be if this kind of thing happened between Peru and Chile, lol.

    • amy says:

      @Rodrigo, I am probably demented.. and a bit disturbed. xD

      Anyway – GlobalTV is a channel that has re-launched its brand with the help of ATV. I probably took it as an example because it’s one of the only channels that doesn’t rerun telenovelas all the time and chooses series format.

      However, if we take America or ATV, which are the two most prominent channels at the moment, they also include the most assorted variety of telenovela productions… excluding homegrown reality tvs and game shows.

      TV Peru is out of the equation because they are the most like NHK… and coincidentally they show a lot of NHK old programming, as well as some old Discovery shows, maybe some National Geographic… and the seldom cultural shows.

      I think as far a Chile programming, we don’t get any. I cannot be 100% sure, and we only get that one Chilean channel on cable, but it’s pretty awful. But yeah, the thing between Chile/Peru is pretty similar to the Korea/Japan thing. Maybe we’re going to go through our own crisis when our Food Invasion takes over Chile xD But hopefully we could understand each other better, and not reach these boycott tension.

  2. Roxanne says:

    “Yes, the internet is a powerful thing but it shouldn’t be use to bring down something that’s trying to break the walls of cultural seclusion. The internet, after all, is also supposed to be tearing down those walls but it’s being used to build even stronger barriers against multicultural exchange.”

    Agreed a hundred times over. The internet is a poweful tool, as are words, with a double edge. As uncle would say ‘with great power comes great resposability’. We must not use the internet to proliferate hate and semitism. On the contrary. We should use it to spread the love and the amazing global media phenomenon.

    • amy says:

      @Roxanne, a lot of people spread hate in the form of free speech. It really bothers me when people back this by saying that it’s a free country (or a free world) and that they are free to yell fire whenever wherever (shakira plug! lol) they can.

  3. ghost says:

    The YAM Magazine “related reviews” is pretty smart! Showcasing Annyong, Sayonara.

    • amy says:

      @ghost, the main problem with Annyong, Sayonara is that the content of the documentary — the title and its pov — is entirely avoided by those who most need to see it. Why would a conservative watch a movie that starts with the title “annyong”?

      Reminds me of the – you know, that 1hr special Lisa Ling did, Pray Away the Gay or something like that. It caused an uproar in gay websites, but if they had actually watched the show from another perspective, they’d have taken that “no, you can’t really pray away the gay”. The perspective given to it, made it possible for more conservative people to actually watch it and see something that, otherwise, they might have avoided all together.

  4. ghost says:

    So, does anyone know if this crap happened? Did they boycott the network like they wanted to? Anything?

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