Korean Wave Phenomenon

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Globalization of the Korean Wave Introduction The ‘Korean Wave’, also known as ‘Hallyu’ in Korean, refers to the rapid spread of South Korean entertainment and culture across Asia and other parts of the world. It represents the significant popularity of Korean cultural products such as film and television (in particular Korean dramas known as ‘K-dramas’), music (K-pop), online games, comics (manhwa), language, fashion and cuisine. The Korean Wave is the cultural media phenomenon of South Korean that has first emerged in East Asia in the late 1990s, then subsequently in America, the Middle East and Europe. Recognizing the fast-growing popularity of Korean entertainment and culture in China, Chinese journalists who were amazed by this phenomenon…show more content…
The early Hallyu 1.0 era was mainly caused by the phenomenal success of South Korean television soap operas, also known as Korean dramas (K-dramas). Several studies have shown that the outbreak of the Korean wave started in 1997, when the Korean drama ‘What is Love All About?’ was broadcasted regionally in China by the Chinese state-run television, CCTV (China Central Television) and became the first hit Korean drama in East Asia (Cho, 2011). Following the popularity of ‘What is Love All About?’ in China was the passionate reception of the Korean drama ‘Winter Sonata’ in 2003 when it was aired in Japan. ‘Winter Sonata’ marked the landing of the Korean Wave in the Japanese market, drawing a large number of viewers and was very well received especially among the middle-aged and elderly women of Japan (Lee, 2010). The popularity of ‘Winter Sonata’ has also led to the creation of an industry for the sales of K-drama merchandizes, as fans demanded wanting to own ‘Winter Sonata’ merchandises. With the Korean Wave phenomena, South Korea gradually became the brisk exporter in cultural commodities such as television programs, films and music to the East Asia region and following to western countries such as the United States and Europe over the years (Ryoo,…show more content…
While K-dramas is still one of the most popular cultural genre of the South Korean popular culture, South Korean pop music or ‘K-pop’, found popularity abroad in many Asian countries (Ryoo, 2009). Audiences in Asia who watch K-dramas such as ‘Winter Sonata’ were prompted to move to K-pop because of its beautiful and unforgettable soundtracks (Ryoo, 2009). K-pop music is seen to express more soulfulness as compared to Western music, making it more familiar to people from countries in East Asia (Ryoo, 2009). The phenomena of K-pop started with the first generation of idol groups in the late 1990s to early 2000s such as H.O.T, S.E.S and Shinhwa, but their outreach was limited to the Chinese-speaking markets such as China and Taiwan (Fuhr, 2005). In the early to mid 2000s, subsequent generation of K-pop idols extended the geographical scope of their outreach and entered markets such as Japan and the United States, with the attempt to look beyond the immediate domestic market and reach a wider range of target audience. The second generation of K-pop idols includes BoA, Rain, TVXQ, Girls Generation (SNSD), Big Bang, SHINee, Super Junior. One of the early success of Hallyu 2.0 would be the pan-Asian pop star ‘Rain’, who quickly became the most widely recognized Korean wave star in Asia and the United States through his acting and singing talents. In addition, talented female singer ‘BoA’ was

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