By Aarushi Cooper
Hallyu, a Chinese term literally meaning "wave/flow of Korea” refers to the phenomenal growth and the global popularity of South Korea’s entertainment, pop music, TV dramas, cuisines, cosmetics and movies. Since the 21st Century, South Korea has become a major exporter of popular tourism and culture, which was partly driven by the government itself.
This was done in order to support the country’s creative industries through fundings for entertainment companies and its subsidiaries, both start- ups and ‘chaebols’ or business conglomerates, as a form of soft power with the goal of becoming a leading global exporter of culture and developing its economy. The success of this Korean wave is also because of the sensational use of social media platforms, which have allowed the Korean entertainment industry to reach a diverserange of overseas audiences since the 2000s.
Kdramas or Korean Dramas now have widespread availability, thanks to several streaming services, which often offer subtitles in multiple languages, thus making it possible for the global audience to consume the content comfortably. Many K-dramas have been adapted throughout the world, achieving notable popularity in some countries. K-dramas have attracted attention for their fashion, style, cuisine, OSTs and culture all over the world. A recent example can be Squid Game, an original Netflix drama produced in South Korea, which has become a streaming phenomenon,
especially among the youth. Since it’s release on September 17, within three weeks, the series has hit No. 1 in more than 90 countries, including the U.S.—a surprise even to Netflix executives.
Kpop or Korean pop, is a genre of music which has undoubtedly become a global phenomenon due to it’s catchy tunes, appealing choreography, lively music videos as well as charming and talented performers. These solo artists or bands are spreading the language, culture as well as tourism of the country all across the globe. There has been a significant rise in consumption of Korean music or dramas since the pandemic, during which people have been provided with entertainment, new languages to learn, dishes to cook, skin care regimens to follow and values to learn along with positive messages to get through these tough times. Korean boy band BTS or Bangtan Sonyeodan who are now global pop stars have participated in the 76th United Nations opening week, have raised $3.6 million for UNICEF’s work to end violence.
According to UNICEF, the global icons’ personal reflections have also helped children and young people who have felt isolated, disconnected and frustrated, as their routines, education, and downtime, continue to be disrupted by COVID-19. In India, while K-beauty has always been popular among Indians, K-pop and K-dramas have had the biggest breakthrough in India during the pandemic. Since people have had the time and inclination to explore various kinds of content during this time, they have overcome the barriers of language and prejudices held against them. Samsung, a South Korean chaebol has recently launched a Samsung x BTS Galaxy s20 fan edition mobile phones, mainstream singers and actors such as Arijit Singh, Tiger Shroff, Alia Bhatt and Diljit Dosanjh have also admitted to be fans of the band. Moreover, a few
Indian TV channels have also interviewed various Kpop bands.
Many appreciate the fact that we Indians are finally exploring the other side of the world by respecting and admiring cultures of several countries.
The Author is an intern at Sakshi Post and a student of Suchitra Academy, Hyderabad.