Author: danasaid

The Korean Wave through ‘Hello, My Twenties’ | Digital Artefact

Contextual Essay

This project explores the Korean wave, Hallyu through access to South Korean television programs. This is how I gained a greater Understanding of South Korea and South Korean content in Western culture. This is a personal autoethnographic narrative and also a layered account to which South Korea is consumed and experiences and the opinions of academic sources and online threads are utilized to understand the culture (Ellis, Adams & Bochner 2011). Initially this artifact was going to be based on the television program alone. The original trajectory of the artifact was going to be selecting a program and analyzing it in terms of autoenthrographic experience and reflect on Epiphanes during the show. The program I selected after watching a few different shows from Korean culture was called ‘Hello, My Twenties’. But after watching the show, there were quite a few similarities between programs I would typically watch meaning this didn’t expanded my knowledge as much as I would have liked. I also felt that I didn’t know enough about Korean culture to give my response to the text as my results may not have been factual and the credibility of my work may have been biased (Ellis, Adams & Bochner 2011).

Upon further research of the show and South Korean programs as a whole, the word “Hallyu”, a word I was not familiar with before this project, kept appearing. Hallyu is a term that describes the sudden surge of popularity of Korean content which began in Asia and later spread to the western world (Hogarth 2013, p. 135). Hallyu is a notion that explores Korean Culture to be comparable to Nollywood or Hollywood (Hogarth 2013, p. 149). This is the surge of popular Korean products and exports such as ‘k-pop’, television programs and movies (Jang & Paik 2012, p. 196). Through gaining an interest in this topic of the rising popularity of Korea in the west, from viewing the television programs, I decided to give my auto ethnographic experience of ‘Hello, My Twenties!’ through an analysis of Hallyu.

Access to this content was the biggest concern and then I remembered that Netflix has an international section. This was an epiphany for me that struck the realisation that South Korean content is more accessible than I thought. This shows that globalization is very prominent, and the growing interconnectedness of the world gave me the opportunity to explore South Korea.

For me personally my first known experience with South Korean Culture was through PSY and his hit single Gangnam style and was also how I explored K-pop and discovered a completely new cultural approach to something I am so familiar with being music. This was also a cultural impact for many people in the West (Bacon 2016). I got this same feeling when watching Hello, My Twenties. Something felt so familiar, yet just a slight cultural alteration to the formula I am familiar with. Then I questioned when did Korean culture and Hallyu become so popular? And also what makes them popular? Hello my twenties portrays traditional elements of Korean culture which I discuss in the video which makes it popular for Asian viewers across the globe, and also curiosity from a Western audience. I did notice though that I can’t just listen as this is in another language, I have to be fully engaged and actively view the content to be able to understand the context to absorb the culture. Another thing about the program which I found interesting was the depiction of roles with male and female characters. This show in particular has a lead cast of five females which portray their identities to be strong and independent. Men on the other hand are depicted as caring and gentle, something the female viewers appeal to due to suffering of a male- dominated society.

The characters are complex and well created. It was also seen that TV dramas have the greatest influence for sustaining their audience due to the engagement with the characters (Huat 2010, p. 15). The emphasis of this narrative autoethnography approach, which mostly studies others, so I was studying the text while also analysing it in terms of others. I also had to analyse patterns and process. For the episodes of the programs I watched, I noticed that they mostly have female leads, the episodes are almost always over an hour long, and they start of friendly and positive and usually have a dark twist. But for ‘Hello, my Twenties!’ the formula of each episode followed the focus of one character, there is normally a predicament they face but it is resolved following the next episode.

So overall I really enjoyed the autoethnographic experience, the show was quite interesting and It gave me a pretty good insight into modern South Korean culture. The show was entertaining, it sparked epiphanies for me to which I realised Hallyu is prominent because of internet access, affordable means of access, content being available on Western Websites such as Netflix and YouTube and overall an interest people have in the culture. We did not have this accessibility many years ago. Analysing the text through the notion of Hallyu was me, understanding the popularity of the show and the context of the accessibility for South Korean pop culture.

There may have been limitations to my autoethnographic experience as I was using the narrative format, but I feel as though I researched enough scholarly resources to get an understanding of Hallyu and the popularity of Korean content to make my findings legitimate. The narrative formant looks at texts in the form of stories (Ellis, Adams & Bochner 2011) which is why I used a television program as this spans over many episodes showing a deep insight into a Korean Text. With this, it may also seem that I used elements of ‘layered accounts’ format (Ellis, Adams & Bochner 2011) for the project as I questioned what I was viewing with an abstract analysis. I took a television program and then questioned the phenomena of Hallyu. This was my personal insight, I was detailing beyond what I knew and once understood, giving my own personal and cultural assumptions a point of interaction between the cultures (Denshire, 2013, p. 2). This was a truthful experience to which I didn’t use my personal bias so I believe my results were valid. I was able to dictate this experience through blog posts and tweets to which gave an audience and understanding of my experience.



Bacon, C 2016 ‘Why Korean Dramas are Popular’, Reel Rundown, 19 April, viewed 4 September 2017 <>

Denshire, S 2013, ‘Autoethnography’, Sociopedia, vol. 62, no. p, pp. 1-12

Ellis, C., Adams, T.E., and Bochner, A.P. 2011 ‘Autoethnography: An Overview‘, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 12:1, viewed 4 September 2017, <>

Gang, G & Paik, WK 2012, ‘Korean Wave as Tool for Korea’s New Cultural Diplomacy, Advances in applied sociology, vol. 2, no. 3, pp. 196-202

Hogarth, HK 2013, ‘the Korean Wave: An Asian Reaction to Western-Dominated Globalization’, Perspectives on Global Development & Technology, vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 135-151.

Huat, CB 2010, ‘Korean Pop Culture’, Malaysian Journal of Media Studies, vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 15-24.

Reddit 2017, ‘[US] Hello, My Twenties! – A delightfully addicting Korean dramedy about five women in a shared house during college. 97% rating from Google users’ Best Of Netflix, viewed 4 September 2017,   <>

Said, D 2017, South Korea and Me, WordPress, weblog post, 24 August, viewed 26 October 2017, <>

Said, D 2017, Hello, My Twenties!/ Age of Youth, WordPress, weblog post, 24 August, viewed 26 October 2017, <>

옥현주 2017, ‘Korean dramas enjoy huge wave of popularity in US’, The Korea Herald, 3 February, viewed 4 September 2017, <>

Hello, My Twenties!/ Age of Youth

To pick up where I left off from my last blog post;

  • I decided to pick a South Korean Drama
  • This I due to easy access of this media on Netflix and also an interest in this topic
  • The show chosen was ‘Hello! My Twenties!’
  • I have only watched 3 more episodes…

So back to my Journey on exploring the world of South Korean teen/ Young adult dramas. I have realized that watching a television show in another language and culture is just as difficult as I presumed. Well, it’s not difficult, just a little more challenging. But I am doing this to collect data that I will use for my independent project so I must pursue this!


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I have to specifically set aside time to watch the show to be fully engage and absorb all the content, which I did today, I set aside three and a half hours to binge the show (all the episodes go for over an hour). This is seen as one of the challenges of autoethnographic research as noted by Ellis, Adams and Bochner (2011), as they researcher has to decide where and when to research and the requirements needed. I am a full-time student and I work four to five days a week, meaning my limited spare time is spent doing University assignments and trying to use my free time as best as I can. Due to this I was limited to watching more of the show than I would have liked. But in saying this, I am enjoying the show. It is both relatable and also kind of funny. It’s a bit dramatic in terms of boy problems, rejection, friendships and university, but really isn’t that the same with every television program?


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For the first four episodes I have watched, I would compare this program to shows that I have personally watched being ‘Puberty Blues’, ‘Skins’ and ‘Freaks and Geeks’ but also movies like ‘Clueless’ or ‘Sisterhood of the traveling pants’. But in discussion with my sister about the show it, seems along the lines of ‘Gossip girl’ or ‘Pretty little Liars’ which I have not seen. But with this I had an epiphany that I don’t watch a lot of shows with multiple strong female leads. I think this is excellent in terms of female power over the media.

I was having some trouble understanding the show’s popularity in South Korean and if it was an accurate representation of Korean Dramas. As stated in my previous, blog post I only have exigence’s with the first episode from three different Korean Shows. In my searching, I found a thread on ‘reddit’ Discussing the show and it was mentioned in the comments by a user; ‘That was a surprisingly accurate representation of Korean dramas’. It is stated in these comments that the show gets a bit dark towards the end which is apparently common for South Korean Dramas? I guess this is evident in the shows I had mentioned including ‘skins’ where alcohol and drug abuse and the downturns of everyday life make the seasons normally end on a dark note. For me, searching reddit this was a literature analysis. Being a part of autoethnographic research. I needed other epiphanies and personal experience with the show to compare it to my personal experience (Ellis & Adams & Bochner 2011). It is also described in many articles that I have read stating that there has been a wave of Korean Popular culture (Hallyu) in the Western Market (Bacon 2016). It is seen that romantic comedies are especially popular in the US (옥현주 2017) which would be a show like ‘Hello, My Twenties!”

Through a comment received on my original blog post, they mentioned that I was using the ‘us’ vs ‘them’ debate which was not intentional, I was just getting a contextual comparative understanding of the television show. I Will have to minimize this in future and focus more on cultural comparisons rather than contrast. If I compared too much, this is because this is a completely new experience for me and for my personal cultural background, which I tweeted about to let others know of my experience.


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I have thrown myself into the World of South Korean dramas, a world I am very unfamiliar with. But really, there is no reason to be unfamiliar, being in your 20’s is a generally universal experience which is clearly outlined by the similarities that have shown through in the first three episodes. The show has an alternative name called ‘Age of Youth’ which I presume is the Korean literal translation of the show and it is what it says, it is a show about living their lives in their youth.


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There doesn’t seem to be a strong plotline yet, just a lot of small plotlines in every episode. So ultimately, I am looking forward to watching the rest of the season, to see what happens because strange things have been happening in each episode. At the end of episode two you find out that one of the five girl’s is in fact a prostitute and all the housemates have a common acceptance that there is a ghost in the house. month. So, with this kind of crazy action I can only hope that the rest of the season is like this.


옥현주 2017, ‘Korean dramas enjoy huge wave of popularity in US’, The Korea Herald, 3 February, viewed 4 September 2017

Bacon, C 2016 ‘Why Korean Dramas are Popular’, Reel Rundown, 19 April, viewed 4 September 2017

Ellis, C., Adams, T.E., and Bochner, A.P. 2011 ‘Autoethnography: An Overview‘, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 12:1, viewed 4 September 2017,

Reddit 2017, ‘[US] Hello, My Twenties! – A delightfully addicting Korean dramedy about five women in a shared house during college. 97% rating from Google users’ Best Of Netflix, viewed 4 September 2017,


South Korea and Me

As Discussed in my previous blogpost autoethnography is described as a phenomena that seeks to systematically analyses personal experience to understand cultural experience (Ellis, C., Adams, T.E., and Bochner, A.P. 2011). This is a documented personal experience and interaction that makes us consider political, social and cultural meanings; but then it is how we enact and make sense of it. This subject, being ‘Digital Asia’ enables me to explore autoethnography within this field of study and how I access, make sense and reflect on the content of Asia. Even the way we access the information is important, and through globalization, being the space and time compression, makes our ability to access ‘Asia’ simpler than ever before which can be done through a simple click of the internet. As to directly quote Chris Moore, we’re connected to the internet through serves, computers and technology, but ultimately through;

– “Huge Mother F**king Cables”

Globalisation contains local knowledge from finance, culture, health, terrorism, surveillance, energy, climate, public sphere and links these localities on a global scale. We are getting the intensification of worldwide social relations that Asia has to offer, and we are obtaining this information through various mediums.

Watching all the films throughout the semester, I realised that I had never even seen an Asian Television drama. I thought it would be interesting to watch a season of a television drama. My initial thought was how am I going to access this content? Then I remembered ‘Netflix’ has a whole international section that I had yet to explore as I was too focused on typical Hollywood/ Westernised programs and films. Through globalisation and the growing interconnectedness of the world, I am now able to access this content legally and securely. I have noticed that to access some Asians shows, especially Anime, it is either very expensive or illegal. I saw that there was quite a number of Korean television dramas, especially the ‘Young Adult’ genre which is something I am familiar with from a Western Point of view. In future, I will need to narrow this down to one television show, to give a more focused study. But to get a contextual understanding of South Korean young adult television culture, I wanted to explore more than one show. I watched the first episode of ‘Boys over flowers’, ‘Hello, My Twenties!’ and ‘Miss Panda & Mr. Hedgehog’. From viewing the first episode of these shows, I made come comparisons to the Westernised young adult shows I am used to.


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I’ll give a rundown of ‘Boys over flowers’. Firstly, this starts off with an amazingly corny intro song which I noticed, all three of the programs did. This is a Cinderella based story with a private school setting. There are the generic high school dramas of the popular kids, in this case being the rich kids and bulling. The sound effects and video editing during this is quite dramatic and almost humorous. There is also a scene where someone is about to commit suicide and a young woman has the ability to sprint over and catch his hanging body in a matter of milliseconds which really amazes me (This is just a drama/ comedy, so no human could make this physically possible?)


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Hello, My Twenties!’ is a more adult based drama, which looks in the life of people in their 20’s, including relationships, college and meeting new people. Eun- jae shows what being a shy person in a new situation is like and how she deals with her new housemates. Due to the nature of this program I found it most relatable and for this reason; will be the focus of later blog posts and independent project.


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The last show, ‘Miss Panda & Mr. Hedgehog’ is about a baker who hires a new pastry chef, Ko Seunf Ji. The way the name is said In Korean, sounds like the word ‘hedgehog’, which also matches his personality. This is also a drama comedy and a part in this I found interesting is that when Ko was counting, he did it in English.

After watching these three shows I got the gist of what the audience of South Korea likes and it is in fact not that different to shows I like. There’s school dramas, romance, work problems, a new environment which we would watch the protagonist enter and find a sense of rateableness too. This showed me was how universal high school and that we all once just teenagers. All of the shows have a sense of relatability. Viewing this makes me reflect on my personal experience, and growing up in my culture of Suburban Australia

From an autoethnographic perspective, this will be challenging, I have to focus when watching the show and analyse it as it is only subtitled. It is from the contextual understanding of life in Korea which I am unfamiliar with. I will provide detailed content on my emotions feelings and perspective towards the show. So how am I going to tackle my autoethnographic research? I’m considering either a visual essay or blog posts as I feel as though I need to embed videos and provide content that isn’t only written.


Ellis, C., Adams, T.E., and Bochner, A.P. 2011 ‘Autoethnography: An Overview‘, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 12:1, viewed 10th August 2017,

Said, D 2017, ‘Am I an Ethnographer’ WordPress, weblog post, 10 August, viewed 24 August 2017

Am I an Ethnographer?

Autoethnography is a term I have only become familiar through the duration of DIGC330. According to the prescribed reading, ‘Autoethnography: An Overview’, is described as a phenomena that seeks to systematically analyses personal experience to understand cultural experience (Ellis, C., Adams, T.E., and Bochner, A.P. 2011). There are reflexive elements to this including how we understand our internal emotions and interpretive meanings produces by personal engagements with the culture. This is a documented personal experience and interaction that makes us consider political, social and cultural meanings; but then it is how we make sense of it. This direct personal engagement is then documented and understood by the way we enact the world and can be presented through articles, videos, blog posts or even tweets. As a reader to an Autoethnography document, this gives insight towards the writers personal experience which is most definitely different from your own, but encompasses elements that they could have found genuine, confronting or disconcerting which would vary from individual to individual. The article discusses this is terms of an “in depth and intimate understanding of peoples experiences with emotionally charged and sensitive topics”  (Ellis, Kiesinger & Tillmann-Healy, 1997, p.121).

On a personal note, I gave my autoethnographic perspective on last week’s Screen and discussion through ‘tweets’ documenting my experience. The viewing was ‘State of Play (2013)’ a documentary about South Korean professional video gamers. E-sports is something I am familiar with, however I had never involved myself with the world of Korean e-sports so I took to twitter to give my subjective understanding from my personal cultural framework.

At first I posted a video of my familiarity with e-sports as it is not something, and how the team introductions are something I find interesting.


Then a quote from the documentary which I can only presume through translation and different cultural force behind words, that this ended up being quite humorous for me, being an Australian, you would most likely never hear something say a quote like this.


There are some critiques for authoethnography as outlined in the text. There are concerns for validity and credibility of the autoethnographer and if their giving their actual experience and using factual evidence. This in turn has an effect on the audience as experiences of the reader’s subjective viewpoint and the world they are exploring do not match up (Ellis, C., Adams, T.E., and Bochner, A.P. 2011). So you need to question, is this an authentic response I am reading? But we do need to remember that they are just subjective viewpoints in a world of methodological viewpoints that are not accurate scientific data, but rather personal encounters with the exploration of a different culture. Maybe I was being culturally insensitive with my tweets? E-sports are taken very seriously in Korea and it was something I was making a joke of. Or maybe I just have a different perspective to you due to my different cultural context.


Ellis, Carolyn; Kiesinger, Christine E. & Tillmann-Healy, Lisa M. 1997. Interactive interviewing: Talking about emotional experience. In Rosanna Hertz Ed., Reflexivity and voice (pp.119-149). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Ellis, C., Adams, T.E., and Bochner, A.P. 2011 ‘Autoethnography: An Overview‘, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 12:1, viewed 10th August 2017,

First Hand Look at Godzilla

In my autoethnographic look at Gojira, let’s just say I had an interesting experience in viewing film. I had never seen the film before, let alone any Godzilla movie in the franchise, and to my pleasant surprise, I actually enjoyed it. I do not have a lot of experience with watching foreign films, just a few Studio Ghibli movies which isn’t something that is completely unusual as they are quite popular. The film started out for me, almost a bit humorous, in the way that it is edited, the acting, sound effects, long silences and Godzilla himself which could be a mixture of technologies available during production in 1954, and the different cultural background that I am used to. For me personally, the only television I could related this too was Doctor who in the quirky editing and the sci-fi genre.

The actual motive itself I thought was very well done in a way that contemporary movies in this genre solely focus on special effects but this movie has a strong story line. Love was a theme whether it was family love or romantic, relationships built, then there was a detailed  look at a way of stopping Godzilla through a young scientist Serizawa and his ‘Oxygen Destroyer’. But not only was the story line good, it draws on important themes arising from Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the terror in Japan during the final stages of World War 2 which I did not know about prior to this. I thought I would have known everything about this movie from references to Godzilla in scenes from my childhood such as the television show Rugrats with ‘Reptar’. The film definitely surprised me to the depth and complexity of issues explore and how Godzilla is a Metaphor to the bombings and the terror and destruction caused is exactly what happened during the bombings in which you felt sympathy for the citizens and an emotional engagement.

Image of Hiroshima and Image of Godzilla

(Images sourced from  and )

Another important part of the film was the character Emika, she played a very important role as both a protagonist in the film but also her characters role as a head figure that makes decisions and is able to fight for what she believes. She was the person who was trusted enough to be told about the ’Oxygen Destroyer’ and then passed on that useful information. I definitely think with scenes like that, this shows the movie was so advanced and ahead of its time, with women having the opportunity to speak for themselves and have a say which may not have actually been apparent in society. The role of women and the symbolism of was  proves how powerful this movie was. I genuinely enjoyed the film and would be interested to now see how a modern interpretation is presented.