Senin, 08 September 2008

The Korean Wave

The Korean wave refers to the recent surge of popularity of South Korean popular culture in other countries, especially in Asian countries.

It is also referred to as "Hallyu", from the Korean pronunciation of the term. The term was coined in China in mid 1999 by Beijing journalists startled by the growing popularity of South Koreans and South Korean goods in China. 한류/韓流/韩流 (Korean Wave) is homophone to an existing compound word, 한류/寒流 ("cold current") in Mandarin Chinese and Korean.

The Korean wave began with the export of Korean TV dramas such as Autumn Fairy Tale, Winter Sonata and Jewel in the Palace across East and Southeast Asia; the growing success of Korean drama was shortly matched in the fields of movies and popular music.

The Korean Wave first began in the early 1990’s with the film industry under the surveillance of the Korean Government. Producers were only allowed to screen films approved by certain regulations. Due to censorship and restrictions, producers were limited as to what they were able to produce. Therefore, this initiated the birth of melodramas. Since then, melodramas have been plentiful, and are commonly viewed not only in South Korea, but many surrounding Asian countries as well.

The popularity of South Korean shows, singers, and movies throughout Asia is due both to South Korea's readily evident affluence and to its relatively close cultural affinity with other East Asian countries.

South Korea is now the 10th largest economy in the world, and 9th largest film market, and its entertainment companies are able to finance shows and movies with production values higher than in much of Asia. Korean pop singers' performances are slickly produced and often feature spectacular laser and fireworks shows.

Success of Korean dramas, a market dominated by the youth, can be attributed to good looking actors and actresses who embody a number of traits that are very familiar to regular drama viewers and popular fantasies among women. Portrayed sensitivity and depth among male characters in Korean dramas attracts much of the female drama viewers.

More importantly, though, the shows and movies have themes that all audiences can socially relate to regardless of culture or geographical location. Korean dramas typically deal with family issues, love, and filial piety in an age of changing technology and values.

Recent years have seen an increase in interest in the Korean language, Korean cuisine and Hanbok, the traditional Korean dress.

Rain became a very popular pop star in East Asia and increasingly in the United States.
Rain became a very popular pop star in East Asia and increasingly in the United States.

The overwhelming success of South Korean dramas, movies, and music served as a major tourist magnet in 2005, mainly from Japan, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam.

After the success of the drama Dae Jang Geum in Iran, Iranian national TV's Channel 2 showed a series of programs called Korean Wave introducing Korean culture, and even interviewed Korean star Lee Young Ae. Soon after that, national TV's Channel 3 started showing another Korean drama, Emperor of the Sea denoting the popularity of Korean dramas in Iran. Avid Iranians have also created fansites for both dramas.

Korean male celebrities are now among the highest-paid actors outside Hollywood. According to the South Korean media, Winter Sonata star Bae Yong Joon is now charging $5 million a film, the highest in Asia, not counting Jacky Chan and Jet Li, who received US$14 million for the Chinese film 'Warlords' and more for Hollywood films. At least nine other Korean male stars earn more than $10 million a year.

The best-selling international artist from Korea is BoA due to her popularity in the J-pop market. Other international stars also includes Shinhwa and TVXQ along with Super Junior.

In 2006, South Korean programs on Chinese government TV networks accounted for more than all other foreign programs combined.

On May 5, 2007, a K-pop concert was held at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. The theme for the night was We Are One and several big names performed, including Ivy, Fly to the Sky, Big Bang, Super Junior, Epik High and BoA.

BoA is among the most popular pop stars in Asia, particularly in Japan.
BoA is among the most popular pop stars in Asia, particularly in Japan.

In 2001, many critics predicted the Korean wave would soon cool down. However contrary to most expectations, the Korean wave has grown stronger since 2003.

Discussion contained in Munhwa siseon, a semi-academic journal published by the Korea Culture & Tourism Policy Institute took place in March 2005 with the postcolonialist Won Yong-jin as the chair, and six academics including Kim Hyun Mee. At the forum, Bak Jae-bok and other participants predicted that the Korean Wave would continue to surge for some time. They agreed that the traffic in Asian drama began with the liberalization of Taiwan’s drama market in the early 1990s, Japan being the main exporter at the time. Korean drama, then, entered the niche market in the late 1990s when consumption of Hong Kong and Japanese popular culture was declining.

In the paper “Korean cultural capital’s phenomenon and cultural nationalism”, Lee Dong Yeun, identifies many ominous traces of cultural nationalism within the phenomenon of the Korean Wave. He concludes his article by warning, “If the Korean Wave continues to surge, reflecting the diplomatic relations that supports a capitalist logic rather than a strengthening of the communicative power of civil society to provide the possibility of diversifying the cultural tastes of the masses, then it will have to put up a hard fight against China’s ethnocentrism and Japan’s malleable nationalism.”

Currently, the film D-War made by comedian-turned-director Hyung Rae Shim has taken up fans in Korea and America. It's success was enough to warrant a sequel. The film, to the Korean public, was reported to be a national symbol of nationalism mostly because the film is the first to depict not only oriental dragons but accurate mythological creatures exclusive from Korean lore, the Imoogi.

In 2005, there were signs of a nascent backlash against the "Korean wave", initiated by Asian men who resented the "beautifying" of Korea by the media. The growing "Hallyu" wave mainly attracted female viewers who became increasingly attracted to Korean male actors.

Vietnam's government threatened to ban the broadcast of Korean shows if Vietnamese shows were not broadcast more on Vietnamese television stations. Taiwan considered limits on the broadcast of foreign shows. China also considered boycotting or limiting the amount of Korean imports in the entertainment sector.

Vietnam and China are markets where the "Korean wave" has penetrated into the consumer choice and behavior of its respective citizens. The Samsung Economic Research Institute in its special report labeled progress of the "Korean wave" in Vietnam & China as in the 3rd stage, out of a potential four stages. In this stage "Made in Korea" products become increasingly popular.

In Japan, a comic book with a title usually translated as "Hating the Korean Wave" sold enough copies that a sequel was released. The book has been accused of promoting hatred and containing historical inaccuracies.

0 komentar: