Asia Pop: From Hanok to Hanbok

Traditional Iconography in Korean Hip-Hop Music Videos
Activity Type: 
CedarBough Saeiji
Wednesday, February 24, 2021 - 18:30
Event Status: 
As Scheduled
via Zoom

Dr. Saeji will explore the contradictions and effects of the use of imagined and real Korean settings and traditional iconography in recent videos from Korean hip-hop artists with a particularly close reading of the rapper Beenzino’s mid-2016 offering “January.” She investigates what symbols and icons are used to visually represent Korea in the videos, as they take a foreign genre and imbue it with Koreanness. These videos circulate and re-circulate a limited number of icons of Korea, because the images are meant not to portray pre-modern Korea in its complexity, but traditional Korea both as a symbol of national pride and as a (domestic and international) tourist destination where the palace is a backdrop and you wear a hanbok to create a visually striking Instagram post. Operating as the king of the music video’s world, the hip-hop artist maintains his artistic independence through challenging tradition with juxtaposed elements of the present day.


UCIS Unit: 
Asian Studies Center
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