Popular Culture Program


Thematic Research

Director: Hongjung Kim (Dept. of Sociology)
Co-Researchers: Myungkoo Kang (Dept. of Communication), Seokho Kim (Dept. of Sociology), Joonhwan Lee (Dept. of Communication), Kyusup Hahn (Dept. of Communication)
Research Fellows: Hyesun Shin (SNUAC), Yunjeong Joo (SNUAC)

− Focus on the life and dreams, cognition, and values of children in East Asia
− Comparative study of East Asia’s creative generation with focus on Korea and China
− Comparative study of the cognition, outlook and practices of Korean and Japanese youth
− Organization and participation in international conference related to research on Asian youth
− Formation and announcement of the 2016 Association for Korean Studies (AAS) Conference panel held in June in Kyoto (“Creative Youth and their Dreams in East Asia”)
− Workshop and international exchanges of domestic and international creative youth researchers

Korean, Chinese, and Japanese Youth /Designing Their Dream and Undream

Research Topics
In 2015, PCP dedicated itself to two main projects. The first is “Comparative Research on the East Asian Creative Generation – Focusing on Korea and China,” a project that conducts research on East Asian youth based on the concept of “creative generation.” This project is also a part of the Global Research Network Program organized by National
Research Foundation of Korea. The second project is “Comparative Research on the Conditions of Life of Korean and Japanese Youth.”

Major Research Outcomes
To begin with, the “Comparative Research on East Asian Creative Generation” project actively interacted with Tsinghua Univ. Prof. Jienbin Jin’s team, a joint research partner. This project involved theoretical discussions, on-site visits, and pilot interviews for international comparative research. In addition, PCP committed itself to creating and elaborating
survey questions in preparation for the international comparison that will be conducted in the first half of 2016. Through multiple meetings and joint workshops, PCP examined its research outcomes and discussed practical issues related to the joint research. In connection with the project, research director Prof. Hongjung Kim published two research papers, including “Survival, Survivalism, Young Generation,” in major academic journals in 2015, thereby developing the theoretical basis for this research.

As for “Comparative Research on the Conditions of Life of Korean and Japanese Youth,” PCP examined numerous data sets and documents in an effort to establish the foundation for a viable comparative research. More specifically, PCP compared Korean and Japanese youth in terms of their attitude toward themselves and their society, their emotional
state, and their perception of realistic issues. Such comparisons referenced data from the “International Survey of Youth Attitude 2013,”which was arranged by the Cabinet Office of Japan in 2013. This project revealed that Korean and Japanese youth were not a singular group. Especially in Korea and Japan, the majority of youth were polarized into two groups: “dreaming” youth who pursue “success” by actively participating in competition, and youth who are distant from a hopeful
future and proactively struggle for survival. This illustrated the fact that Korean and Japanese youth were clearly different from Western youth who are relatively healthier and show a higher tendency to participate in society. Such findings were presented in international symposiums and forums such as the 10th Next Generation Research Forum held in Ritsumeikan Univ. in August 2015 and the International Convention of Asia Scholars held in Australia in May 2015.

Future Challenges and Outlook
In relation to the aforementioned core projects, PCP hosted four Youth Workshops throughout 2015. The workshops served as an opportunity to thoroughly examine youth working in various fields such as fine arts, literature, broadcasting, and webcomics, as well as the manner in which those fields have treated them. The meeting between young artists, activists, creative industry workers, and academic researchers generated productive discussions.

Much attention was called to the importance of more direct and active communication between on-site activities and academic research. Also, conclusions reached concerning the dreams and undreams of Korean, Chinese, and Japanese youth were published in a book titled Realities of Young People in Northeast Asia. This publication is significant in that it
is the result of conferences and discussions among research institutes dealing with Korean, Chinese, and Japanese youth, including SNUAC’s Popular Culture Program (Korea), Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Institute of Sociology (China), and Japan Research Youth Society (Japan).