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The

Korean
Wave

Contemporary Korea No.1
The Korean Wave: A New Pop Culture Phenomenon
Copyright © 2011
by Korean Culture and Information Service
All Rights Reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means without the written permission of the publisher.
First Published in 2011 by
Korean Culture and Information Service
Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism
Phone: 82-2-398-1914~20
Fax: 82-2-398-1882
Website: www.kocis.go.kr
ISBN: 978-89-7375-164-8 04600
ISBN: 978-89-7375-163-1 (set)
Printed in the Republic of Korea
For further information about Korea, please visit:
www.korea.net

The

Korean
Wave
A New Pop Culture Phenomenon

Chapter Three

What’s Korean Pop Culture Got?

57
58

K-Dramas: ‘Healthy Power’

Contents

K-Pop: ‘Music of Fusion’

72

Chapter Four

The Korean Wave in other Fields

79

Korean Films

79

Hallyu in Literature

90

epilogue
Will It Continue?

09

17

Prologue
Chapter One

appendix
Further Reading

95
95

100
100

Birth of the Korean Wave

20

Birth of the Wave

23

The Beginning of the Wave in Japan

27

The Wave Goes Global

30

K-Pop Joins the Wave

35

Chapter Two

The neo-Korean Wave

35

‘Korean Invasion?’

39

The New Wave

47

The Internet Connects the Wave Fast

51

The Fun of Copying

54

Distance No Longer a Barrier for K-Dramas

iv The Korean Wave A New Pop Culture Phenomenon

Birth of the Korean Wave v

““Over the past decade, South Korea, with a population
of around 50 million, has become the Hollywood of the
East, churning out entertainment that is coveted by millions of fans stretching from Japan to Indonesia.”
Lara Farrar, CNN World, December 31, 2010

“Hallyu—the Korean wave—is rolling over Asia with pop
music, TV dramas and movies that dazzle audiences from
Tokyo and Beijing to Seattle.”
Lance Dickie, The Seattle Times, June 4, 2006

“Egyptian aficionados of Korean pop culture are a
dedicated group, eager to have their Korean pop dreams
fulfilled and embraced by the community at large. Whether
it’s through films, music, books or food, the ‘Korean wave’ has definitely hit Cairo, and is doing so with much fervor.” Steven Viney, Al-Masry Al-Youm, July 19, 2011

“The booming South Korean presence on television and
in the movies has led Asians to buy up South Korean goods
and to travel to South Korea, traditionally not a popular
tourist destination.”
Norimitsu Onishi, The New York Times, June 29, 2005

vi The Korean Wave A New Pop Culture Phenomenon

Birth of the Korean Wave vii

PRologuE

On June 10 and 11, 2011, the 7,000-seat Le Zénith de Paris, one of the largest venues in Paris and a place where most of the great names of French pop music have recorded concerts, was packed with young fans. The two-day event was a joint performance of singers with the leading South Korean management company SM Entertainment, and it was recorded as the “official” debut of K-pop (Korean popular music) on the European stage. The audience, who had previously experienced K-pop mostly through the global video sharing site YouTube, went wild at the dynamic live performance by their favorite groups.

The fans, most of them in their teens or 20s, were not just French. They had come from all over Europe. It was a virtual representation of the continent, with fans from Great Britain, Germany, Spain, Italy, Sweden, Poland, Latvia, and Serbia. Regardless of their mother tongue, they shouted out the names of each singer, sang along with the lyrics in Korean, and followed the dance moves. The management company shot video footage of the performance, which it posted in real time to its YouTube account. The electric atmosphere was relayed live not only to local fans unable to attend, but to K-pop fans all over the world.

There was intense media coverage of the event. About 20 European media outlets such as French public...
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