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Home is Where You Serve: Globalization and Nationalism in Korean Popular Music
Unformatted Document Text:  20 Korean feeling makes Korean popular music different from other global repertoires. Regardless how much material and symbolic resources come from outside Korea, if Korean singer vocalizes the music then it is believed to deliver some intangible Korean- ness. Vocal, apprehended through Korean body, is the biggest element defining what Korean popular music is, and the vocalization is believed to carry unique Korean feelings. Therefore, being and maintaining Korean identity is very important to Korean singers and performers, because their identities are supposed to be recognized as truly Korean. Yoo said “I’m still Korean even though my nationality is American,” whereas the public said “you are not Korean although you speak and sing in Korean.” Culturally he was and still might be Korean; politically he used to be but not any more. Feathersone (1996) argued that if ‘localism’ means the desire to return home, the question is whether the home is real, imaginary, temporary, or simulated. One of the biggest reasons that the salmons have returned to their origin, ‘cultural home,’ is to escape from their marginalized life and to capitalize their multicultural identities. They are marginalized in their exiles, and they are marginalized even more in their origin. They can negotiate their identities until a critical moment require them to choose only one home. Although Yoo looked like enjoying his mobility as a tourist, he was never a simple tourist; he is a tourist who is supposed to carry his passport and visa. His seemingly ‘Americanized’ music representation was not asked whether it was real Korean or not. It was only after he decided his political identity when he was asked about his real Korean- ness. In spite of a massive scale of cultural mobility, political and economic institutions still have bigger power to limit the mobility even in the era of globalization. Lash (1992) argues that people must live with the risk, ambivalence and contingency, and identities

Authors: Lee, Hee-Eun.
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20
Korean feeling makes Korean popular music different from other global repertoires.
Regardless how much material and symbolic resources come from outside Korea, if
Korean singer vocalizes the music then it is believed to deliver some intangible Korean-
ness. Vocal, apprehended through Korean body, is the biggest element defining what
Korean popular music is, and the vocalization is believed to carry unique Korean
feelings. Therefore, being and maintaining Korean identity is very important to Korean
singers and performers, because their identities are supposed to be recognized as truly
Korean. Yoo said “I’m still Korean even though my nationality is American,” whereas
the public said “you are not Korean although you speak and sing in Korean.” Culturally
he was and still might be Korean; politically he used to be but not any more.
Feathersone (1996) argued that if ‘localism’ means the desire to return home, the
question is whether the home is real, imaginary, temporary, or simulated. One of the
biggest reasons that the salmons have returned to their origin, ‘cultural home,’ is to
escape from their marginalized life and to capitalize their multicultural identities. They
are marginalized in their exiles, and they are marginalized even more in their origin. They
can negotiate their identities until a critical moment require them to choose only one
home. Although Yoo looked like enjoying his mobility as a tourist, he was never a simple
tourist; he is a tourist who is supposed to carry his passport and visa. His seemingly
‘Americanized’ music representation was not asked whether it was real Korean or not. It
was only after he decided his political identity when he was asked about his real Korean-
ness. In spite of a massive scale of cultural mobility, political and economic institutions
still have bigger power to limit the mobility even in the era of globalization. Lash (1992)
argues that people must live with the risk, ambivalence and contingency, and identities


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