The Entertaining but Unreal Presentation of Herb Medicine and Alternative Medical Doctors in East-Asia Medical Drama


The medical drama was the popular genre with a fictional and vividly narrative presenting a medicinal situation. In East Asia, medical drama was a genre of high rating programs and many of them depicted the traditional/alternative medicine different from the modern medicine field. By a qualitative content analysis of 47 episodes across 5 medical drama series in East-Asia, this study analyzed usages and effects of herb medicine, and roles of alternative medical doctors.Results indicated that herb medicine were unusual species while comparing with the general herb usage in the contemporary herb medicine database. Also, it was difficult to visually recognize the exact images of herb medicine on the screen. We argued that it presented biased and unreal images of herb medicine which were different from the real world. Also, there were very few side effects of herb medicine and alternative medical treatments. But, on the contrary, herb medicine was shown as exaggerated and immediately medicine effect on patients, such as a detoxification function In addition, the impression of alternative medical doctors was the other entertaining but unreal narrative. alternative medical doctors were holy (being absolute kindly and selflessly) but ironically also easily gaining social capital such as fortune, reputation, and government post. We thus stated both prescriptions of herb medical and alternative medical doctors will form a cure-all /panacea narrative with an entertaining but unreal storytelling frame.

Author Information
Yen-Shen Chen, National Chiao-Tung University, Taiwan

Paper Information
Conference: MediAsia2020
Stream: Mass Communication

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon