K-pop in the Blood? (Re)shaping of Korean Identity among Young Korean Diaspora in Kazakhstan

Ho Youn Koh, Kyungmin Baek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Korean Wave, or Hallyu, is no longer simply a new phenomenon or an unusual surge in the cultural market. We argue that it is instead a cultural trend and environment with substantial influence among youth outside of Korea, and that it has the transformative power of (re)shaping Korean identity among young Korean diaspora. Drawing upon the literature of diasporic identity construction, we explore the impact of the Korean Wave on the construction of Korean identity among Korean-Kazakhstani youth. The present paper examines how young Korean Kazakhstanis interpret K-pop in relation with their self-identity as Korean. Our qualitative analysis of a focus group exhibits that the current trend of K-pop in Kazakhstan not only involves the consumption of a cultural product, but also serves as stimuli for young Korean diaspora to reflect upon their identity. Using Cohen’s (2004) framework of diasporic identity, we find that Korean-Kazakhstani youths interpret K-pop in a universal sense as well as cultural and biological terms. The popularity of K-pop among local consumers in Kazakhstan has a transformative influence on the young Korean diaspora, as the Korean Wave has positively changed people’s perceptions of Korea in general.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Asian Sociology
Publication statusSubmitted - 2019

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