SOAS University of London

Japan & Korea Section, Department of East Asian Languages & Culture

Ms Laura Lopez Aira

BA (Santiago de Compostela, Spain) MA (SOAS)
  • Overview
  • Research


Laura Lopez Aira
Ms Laura Lopez Aira
Email address:
Thesis title:
Narrating the Korean 'other' in contemporary Japanese TV dramas
Year of Study:
3 (Part-time)
Internal Supervisors


Before starting my PhD, I completed a BA in Journalism in Spain, my country of origin, and an MA in Japanese Studies at SOAS majoring in Japanese television.

PhD Research

My PhD thesis looks at the representation of the Republic of Korea and its citizens in those Japanese television dramas broadcast from the year 2007 until the present day. It aims to identify the representational patterns used in the media construction of Japan’s closest East Asian neighbour, and to assess the extent to which these patterns have (or have not) changed from those in previous productions.

Particular attention is paid to the impact that developments in the Korean Wave, and its specific evolution in Japan, might have had in the maintenance or challenge of established, mainstream representations of South Korea. Through this analysis of the construction of the Korean ‘Other’ – using semiotics and narrative analysis, – the thesis inquires on Japan’s contemporary national identity and on the perceptions held in the country about its position within East Asia and the world. The study also hopes to offer insights into the role of popular culture in the process of Japanese identity formation, and in any potential betterment of Japan-South Korea relations.


  • “Just ‘normal people’ – portrayals of Hallyu stars in contemporary Japanese TV dramas”
    14th International Conference of EAJS (European Association for Japanese Studies), University of Ljubljana (Slovenia), 27-30 August 2014.
  • “Reflections on the impact of popular culture on international relations: the case of South Korea and Japan”. PhD Brunch part of the International Workshop Representing ‘cultural other-ness’ in Japanese media, University of Vienna (Austria), 1 September 2014.


Representation of 'otherness' in the Japanese mass media, East Asian popular culture, Japan-Korea relations and the Korean diaspora.