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Understanding Korean Webtoon Culture

Understanding Korean Webtoon Culture

Transmedia Storytelling, Digital Platforms, and Genres

Dal Yong Jin

ISBN 9780674291317

Publication date: 11/15/2022

Webtoons—a form of comic that are typically published digitally in chapter form—are the latest manifestation of the Korean Wave of popular culture that has increasingly caught on across the globe, especially among youth. Originally distributed via the Internet, they are now increasingly distributed through smartphones to ravenous readers in Korea and around the world.

The rise of webtoons has fundamentally altered the Korean cultural market due to the growth of transmedia storytelling—the flow of a story from the original text to various other media platforms, such as films, television, and digital games—and the convergence of cultural content and digital technologies. Fans can enjoy this content anytime and anywhere, either purely as webtoons or as webtoon-based big-screen culture.

Understanding Korean Webtoon Culture analyzes webtoons through the lens of emerging digital cultures and discusses relevant cultural perspectives by combining two different, yet connected approaches, political economy and cultural studies. The book demonstrates the dynamics between structural forces and textual engagement in global media flows, and it illuminates snack-culture and binge-reading as two new forms of digital culture that webtoon platforms capitalize on to capture people’s shifting media consumption.


  • As the first book-length study of webtoons, Jin’s monograph has a lot to offer to scholars and students interested in cultural globalization and media convergence in relation to digital technologies. The book is well-written and a joy to read. Any reader, with or without relative academic background, can benefit from it.

    —Haixia Man, International Journal of Communication


  • Dal Yong Jin is Distinguished SFU Professor at the School of Communications at Simon Fraser University.

Book Details

  • 252 pages
  • 6 x 9 inches
  • Harvard University Asia Center