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This paper examines how many Japanese women interpret the historical and cultural texts in Korean television drama Daejanggeum by relating them to their contemporary desires, expectations and aspirations. Based on ethnographic data gathered from more than 50 months of fieldwork in Japan and South Korea, this study contends that the specific historicity and cultural contexts of popular television programs do not matter as much as what Japanese women make of their transnational media consumption, and how it can evoke self-reflexivity and offer new possibilities for viewers to transcend and transform their social realities in ways that project them as contemporary subjects. This study extends existing scholarship on the Korean Wave by exploring the specific and diverse the ways in which Japanese women watch television in an active, engaged and critical manner with the aim of constructing their self-identities as contemporary subjects.