Navigating Webtoons 2 Part Podcast Series

Podcast One

Henry Jenkins Convergence of Culture

Webtoons on Naver

The ease of the app:

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Other blogs

Podcast Two

Translation On Webtoons

LINE Webtoon – Women in Digital Comics at SXSW ’16

Contextual Essay

This digital artifact (DA) is a two-part podcast series on Webtoons. I broke my arm and had time away from classes, thus was given a two-part assignment rather than one group and one individual assignment. This assessment structure challenged me to extend my research and brainstorm ideas that were larger than ‘what is Webtoons’. Chris challenged me to think differently and helped me push my limits beyond what I thought I was capable of. This inspired me to consider potential and future research options.

Part One of the podcast series that I created involved the navigation of Webtoons. I broke it down, so it was really simple for listeners. The idea of this podcast is to provide an instructional platform that listeners could follow along to. I want listeners to be able to follow along while I explain how to navigate and use the Webtoons website. I used a very explanatory approach for this podcast because I wanted listeners to be interested – not overwhelmed with the content. By stepping them through what they needed to know, I feel that I can instill confidence into listeners when they use Webtoons for the first time. When creating the podcast, I was thinking about the audience because I originally had feelings of being overwhelmed when looking at Webtoons for the first time as there are so many genres and series to consider. The purpose is to inform listeners and encourage them to engage in the world of Webtoons.
I approached Podcast One by taking an analytical approach to the autoethnography experience. Leon Anderson (2006, p. 378) recognises that an analytical autoethnography evokes emotion and is a reflexive process. I have been able to reflect on my own experiences of using Webtoons and created a podcast that supports these experiences by helping others.

Part Two of the podcast series was a more indepth investigation of the culture of Webtoons rather than how to use it. By looking at translation, women in Webtoons and censorship, I was able to delve into an unknown world that challenged me to think differently and be considerate and accepting of other cultures. The idea of the podcast was to encourage listeners to become more involved via creation or translation of content noting the simplicity, as well as taking an educational and political approach to understanding the culture of Webtoons and Korea. Personally, I found exploring these topics hard because there is not a lot of research completed on Webtoons as it is a new market and platform within the last 10 years. This is where talking to Chris Moore and Brian Yecies, University lecturers, helped because they were able to guide me in a direction and provide me with some insightful information. The simplicity of brainstorming in multiple consultations with Chris gave me the understanding and passion to research further into these topics.
Creating Podcast Two allowed me to take an alternative approach to an analytical autoethnography. A political approach was taken to create Podcast Two. Denzin (2003, p. 258) recognises that a political autoethnography involves the motion of reflexivity, as well as having a moral and political understanding.

Creation of the podcast was quite easy for me as I have worked for a radio station before, so I am used to pre-recording, although I have never created a podcast before. I had to really practice my articulation and record and re-record sections of the podcast because I would start to slur and stumble after a while. Editing was quite easy on the Movavi program that I downloaded. After listening to other podcasts, I was able to put creative twists into the podcasts to break up the seriousness of the content. With podcast two, I realised that the end result is less conversational than podcast one. I read more from the script that I had pre-written because it was much more content heavy and dense compared to podcast one. In podcast two, I was also able to pose more questions to the audience and learnt that I can question the content without having an answer.

Key epiphanies that I had throughout creating this DA were:

  • Genres are the same as western cultures but are more twisted
  • The Webtoons app was much easier to use
  • Within the translation community, I assumed top translation languages would have been English, but that was not the case.
  • Translation into English was not always exact

These key epiphanies allowed me to have an appreciation for the Webtoons world. I have been able to research and have a more thorough understanding of the Korean culture. Genres in the Asian culture seemed to be more twisted and darker compared to what I was used to. It was shocking, but it was a refreshing change to what I was used to. For example, I normally like Rom-Coms, but in Asian Romance, there is a more twisted, controlling, stalker-ish vibe in a few of the Webtoon series.
Comparing the app to the website, the app was considerably easier to use which was a relief after spending hours playing online and getting lost. With the recommended personalised readings as well as the step by step instructions when you first download it, it contributed to the experience being completely different.
The biggest shock for me when I was researching the world of Webtoons, was that English was not the dominant translated language. I was naïve and thought that English was a language spoken by most people around the world. I discovered that languages such as Portuguese, Indonesian, and Mandarin were the most popular. This made me feel quite silly and the bubble that I was living in popped as I remembered that there are many languages other than English that dominate the world.
I spent some time reading Webtoons series to embed myself into the experience and I noticed that translation had significantly different meanings. For example, calling someone your brother in Asian culture means your boyfriend, whereas here in Australia, brother means sibling or a good friend. This was quite confusing until I got to know the characters more and understood the storyline and translation.

As stated in blog post one, I was drawn to the idea of Webtoons when Brian Yecies, University lecturer, lectured on the Webtoons world and the Korean phenomenon. It took some time for me to get excited about this topic and get started, but after plenty of research and a shuffle around of assignments, I soon found an interest in the topic. Brainstorming and consultations with Chris helped immensely to guide me and keep me motivated.

Overall, the two podcasts allowed me to use a structured approach when talking to the audience, helped me identify key epiphanies and has allowed me to think more broadly about the possibility of further research. Before completing this Digital Asia subject, I had no intentions to visit Asian countries but now that I have a more thorough understanding and respect for the culture, I would be more inclined to travel to Asia.

References

Acuna, K 2016, Millions in Korea are obsessed with these revolutionary comics – now they’re going global, Business Insider, last viewed 01 October 2018, <https://www.businessinsider.com.au/what-is-webtoons-2016-2?r=US&IR=T

https://www.quora.com/How-are-South-Korean-webtoons-any-different-from-the-usual-webcomics>.

Anderson, L 2006, Analytical Autoethnography, Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, Vol. 35, pp. 373 – 395.

Crowd Sourcing Week, 2018, What is Crowd Sourcing, Crowd Sourcing Week, last viewed 11 October 2018, <https://crowdsourcingweek.com/what-is-crowdsourcing/>.

Denzin, K 2003, Performing [Auto]Ethnography Politically, The Review of Education, Pedagogy and Culture Studies, vol. 25, pp. 257 – 278.

Gagging on Sexism, 2014, Captured by Cheese in the Trap, Gagging on Sexism, last viewed 11 October 2018, <https://gaggingonsexism.wordpress.com/2014/01/18/captured-by-cheese-in-the-trap/>.

Jenkins, H 2006, Welcome to Convergence Culture, Henry Jenkins, last viewed 01 October 2018, <http://henryjenkins.org/blog/2006/06/welcome_to_convergence_culture.html>.

Johnson, R 2016, 42% Of LINE Webtoon’s Comic Creators Are Female – And Half Are Read By Women, Bleeding Cool, last view 12 October 2018, <https://www.bleedingcool.com/2016/02/29/42-of-line-webtoons-comic-creators-are-female-and-half-are-read-by-women/>.

Krush, A 2018, Google vs. Naver: Why can’t Google Dominate Search in Korea?, Link-Assistant.com, last viewed 01 October 2018, <https://www.link-assistant.com/blog/google-vs-naver-why-cant-google-dominate-search-in-korea/>.

Naver, 2018, Naver Search Engine, Naver, last viewed 01 October 2018, <https://www.naver.com/>.

LINE Webtoons, 2014, LINE Webtoon Launches Challenge League, a New Discovery Feature for Webcomic Creators and Aspiring Artists, Cision, last viewed 01 October 2018, <https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/line-webtoon-launches-challenge-league-a-new-discovery-feature-for-webcomic-creators-and-aspiring-artists-283316621.html>.

LINE Webtoons, 2016, LINE Webtoon – Women in Digital Comics at SXSW ’16, last viewed 18 October 2018, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7agHWASUzNw>.

Webtoons, 2017, Webtoon’s New Patreon pledge program, Webtoons, last viewed 11 October 2018, <https://www.webtoons.com/en/notice/detail?noticeNo=576>.

Webtoons, 2018, Webtoons: Become a Contributor, Webtoons, last viewed 11 October 2018, <https://translate.webtoons.com/guide>.

Webtoons, 2018, Webtoon’s Pledge to Discover x Patreon Creators for January, Webtoons, last viewed 11 October 2018, <https://www.webtoons.com/en/notice/detail?noticeNo=671&page=2>.

Wikipedia, 2018, Gender and Webcomics, Wikipedia, last view 12 October 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_and_webcomics>.

Word Finder, 2018, ‘Webtoon’, Word Finder.com, last viewed 01 October 2018, <https://findwords.info/term/webtoon>.

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