The Korean Wave that has staked out a big chunk of Japanese entertainment turf has failed to touch me. Its contemporary and costume TV dramas leave me cold, while its pop groups, the articulate and well-groomed potpourri of eye candy, utterly fail to work their charms on me.* It’s not like South Korea’s offshore shenanigans have neutralized the potential of its soft power. My addiction to Chinese wushu serials, a misbegotten conglomeration of the Streetfighter arcade games, Chinese history mangled beyond belief, and the most hackneyed and unbelievable plots and narrative devices this side of Shakespeare, remains unabated despite Beijing’s repeated incursions into Japan’s undisputable territorial waters of the Senkaku Islands. And to be truthful, Perfume leaves me cold too,* so it’s not as if I have anything against pleasure-androidy song-and-dance groups just because I have a beef about Takeshima.
But that doesn’t mean Hanryu sucks; it only means that I don’t get it. So, if my professional interests dictate that I should understand it—it doesn’t, thankfully—I should at least make an effort to understand its public appeal, shouldn’t I?
Same thing for political analysis, yet it’s even harder to do.**
* I’ve always preferred disorder over order, which may be why I’ve always believed that Cyndi Lauper is vastly superior to Madonna.
** For corroborating evidence, you need only to look at what so many talking heads are saying around the US presidential election.