Arts & International Affairs: Volume 3, Issue 1, Spring 2018 - Page 60

ARTS & INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS the self vis-à-vis the other is constructed and reconstructed by ongoing relationships between them. Discursive borders delineating self and other are historical contingencies (Hall 2001:104). Shared perceptions of the past constitute a crucial component of identity and nationhood by offering the vision of “who we are” as well as an idea of “who we were” (Ray 2010:140; Lee 2018:10). Remembered past generates “emotional bonds, solidarity, and trust” (Langenbacher 2010:22). Popular culture operates as a site where reflections on the historical relations between self and other take place. Emotions play a crucial role in this process. Visual imaginaries of popular culture serve as “sites where politics and political subjectivity are constituted and where the politics of affect, emotion, feeling and reaction challenge cozy assumptions about rationality, ratio- nal political actors, and the decisions said to flow from them” (Grayson et al. 2009:157). By engendering emotive reactions, visual images of popular culture play a crucial role in activating collective voice and constituting people’s identity. This process is important because popular culture shifts our attention from state relations to transborder practices, allowing us to see “the sub-national/regional and hyper-local” practices “as globally and politically implicated” (Weldes and Rowley 2015:24). The following discussion of the Tzuyu Incident and the reactions to it from constituents in Taiwan and South Korea demonstrates how multi-directional flows of popular culture activate historical sensibilities and emotions to dissolve and reinforce borders between “us” and “them” and how these borders are loosened and inscribed simultaneously. The case highlights the way that popular culture enacts the contradictory process of making and remaking borders. The Tzuyu Incident In January 2016, Chou Tzuyu, a 16-year-old Taiwanese member of the K-pop girl-band, Twice, unexpectedly caused an international crisis. Twice is composed of nine mem- bers: five from South Korea, three from Japan, and one from Taiwan. The crisis occurred when Chou appeared on a South Korean Internet variety show called “My Little Televi- sion.” It asked the girl-band to perform a skit: that is, for the non-Korean members of the group to hold the flags of their birthplace. The three Japanese members—Momo, Sana, and Nana—waved the South Korean and Japanese flags. Tzuyu held and briefly waved the South Korean and Taiwanese (Republic of China) flags. The incident caused an immediate outcry in hallyu or the Korean Wave. 5 Right after the show aired on 8 January, Taiwanese singer Huang An, who mainly operates in China, 5 Hallyu refers to a widespread surge of Korean popular culture abroad. Over two decades, K-dramas, K-pops, K-entertainment shows have spread to other Asian countries, including but not limited to, China, Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, as well as to other regions beyond Asia, including Europe, the Middle East, and North and South America. For more information, see Kim (2013) and J. Lee (2017). 60