The Politics of Apology: The ‘Tzuyu Scandal’ and Transnational Dynamics of K-Pop

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This article examines how transnational cultural flows such as K-pop create intensified regional dynamics and conflicts by looking at a specific case called the ‘Tzuyu incident’. A young Taiwanese member, Chou Tzuyu, of the K-pop girl band TWICE apologized for waving a Republic of China’s flag on a Korean TV show in an apology video released on JYP Entertainment’s official YouTube channel. The video soon went viral among K-pop fans around the globe, especially in Taiwan, China, and Korea, creating a transnational discursive space that vividly captures the complex dynamics among various actors such as the local media, the transnational entertainment corporation, fans, as well as the artists. Through a close inspection of the apology video made by Tzuyu and JYP entertainment, as well as the responses generated in China and Taiwan, this article examines the complicated power dynamics of a variety of players involved in the production and consumption of K-pop. The article argues that geopolitics in the Tzuyu incident is manifested in gendered narratives, showing the uneven power relations between the entertainment company, consumers, and the artist as well as that between China and Taiwan. © The Author(s) 2018.

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International Communication Gazette



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