According to Kim (2007), the Korean Wave can be applied to many aspects, aside from making a more profitable economy for the country. The term Korean Wave gives it a generic definition which symbolized the “Korean-ness” of their cultural products, but more importantly, the nationalistic sentiment that made Korea a big hit not just in Asia, but the rest of the world. Aside from the popularity of the K-pop groups, the Korean cultural products became global success due to their uniqueness and fame (Kim, 2007). Hyun-key Kim (2013, p.135) stated that the term “Korean Wave” or otherwise known as “hallyu” in Korean dialect was coined by the Chinese media towards the end millennium as a description of the unexpected outpour in the popularity of Korean entertainment products in mainland China.
The Korean Wave has become widely popular due to the hit Korean television dramas that are being shown worldwide. The Korean Wave has flooded majority of Asian countries including China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Singapore, and Japan during the latter part of the 1990s (Cho, 2011, p.385). The Korean television dramas became supernatural phenomena which started in China. The first Korean drama which was broadcasted regionally by the China Central Television (CCTV) is “What is Love All About?” which was first seen in 1997. This Korean drama became an instant hit. Aside from these, the K-pop groups became overly popular in the international scene. Several members of the all-male and all-female singing groups became instant idols for the present youth as they imitate their fashion, make-up, hairstyle and movements.
Thesis Statement: The Korean Wave has benefited the K-pop groups through its worldwide influence among the present youth by making it a globalized culture in terms of the way they look, think, speak and move.
Aside from the Korean dramas, the Korean pop music has become a craze among young people that it was able to influence sexuality and globalism.
This popular entertainment product which initiated the Korean Wave is the Korean pop music, commonly known as “K-pop” was influenced by the Korean shamanistic ritual called “icut” (Hyun-key Kim 2013, p.143). It did not come as a surprise that Korea was able to produce talented young singing and dancing pop artists which later on influenced the modern-day youth in the way the look, think, speak and move. These songs and dances became an integral part of the daily lives as part of the Korean national culture. This can be illustrated after seeing many Korean artists in music videos, who are dressed provocatively while they perform their songs. The audience is overly influenced by the K-pop artists that they imitate the way they look, without any due regard if the clothes they wear may suggest sexuality.
Aside from the benefits to Korean national economy, the K-pop artists or K-pop groups stand to benefit from the Korean wave due to their worldwide popularity. Since these groups became famous all over the world, the Korean economy had tremendously flourished when majority of their followers from various parts of the globe want to use Korean products. These products include cosmetics, apparel, record albums, television dramas and food stuff. The love for the K-pop groups became the major factor which boosted the exports of Korean products and tourism of the country.
In order to promote Korean talents, entertainment agencies in Korea have identified the internet as one of the effective means to spread K-pop in a global perspective. Some of the performances of these K-pop groups were initially uploaded in the popular website “Youtube”. Due to the powerful influence of social media, in spite of the language barrier, many young people watch the performances of these K-pop groups and copy they look, speak and act. Korean agencies continuously look for ways to maintain the popularity of the singing male and female groups.
These Korean promoters were able to attract the worldwide audience by taking into account two considerations when launching songs to the followers. The marketability of the songs was dependent on two ideas: 1) sells sex and; 2.) the songs should be written partly in English (Hyun-key Kim 2013, p.144). The K-pop culture has influenced young people on the way they dress, the clothes they were, make-up, hairstyle and how they move. The K-pop groups emphasizes on sexuality by making both the male and female performers who perform sexy dance routines. Based on the Guinness Book of World Records, the K-pop stars or Korean wave artists are the most photographed celebrities all over the world since their pictures have appeared at least 500 million times in the commercial scene (Hyun-key Kim 2013, p.144).
It is also interesting to note that these K-pop groups have dominated the solo artists. Most K-pop groups have more than five members, as compared to the other Western singing groups having at least five members only. Another noteworthy factor is that K-pop culture has more Western influence than the Korean television dramas. Most of the songs produced for the K-pop groups have patterned after the Western albums.
Yoshida (2009, p.341) argued that the East Asian Pop Culture or Korean Wave focuses not only on the economic, socio-political and cultural effects of the circulation of Korean television dramas within the region. In fact, there are other specific issues such as gender identity, perception of colonial relations, and nationalistic attitude toward cultural exchanges that have been affected after the emergence of the Korean Wave.
The Korean wave has far reaching effects in terms of national economy, the cultural unity and exchange among Asians, globalized culture and its power over the future of globalization. Over the last decade, East Asia has become the regional market where the Korean pop culture earned substantial profits before making its way into the global market (Cho, 2011, p.387). East Asia became the destination to highlight the superiority of Korean pop culture and the setting where Koreans are allowed the opportunity to accomplish their national interests. The cultural nationalist approach supplied such understanding after overstressing the influence of the Korean wave. The significant role of traditional values and cultural legacy brought about by the Korean Wave and by attributing its success to Korean capability to influence other Western countries.
The growth of the Korean Wave is a living testimony that people in Asia have rejected the American pop culture. The Korean pop music has become a craze among young people that it was able to influence sexuality and globalism. With the emergence of the K-pop groups, the Asians have explored other flavors of music and no longer made the Western culture as the primary reference point among pop group cultures. These K-pop groups have influenced the youth of today in several means by changing the way they look, speak, think and act. In fact, the Western mass cultural productions have become just one of the several choices that are available to the youth from Asian countries (Cho, 2011). The popularity of the Korean Wave became the means of transnational cultural exchange for the Korean products to be exported globally (Kim, 2007). It is also an indication that the rise of Korea at the expense of other neighboring Asian countries is a positive indicator of the growing openness and willingness to embrace other cultures.
The Korean Wave has transformed to become the product of national culture that has boosted the overall diversity and the characteristic of East Asian popular culture (Hyun-key Kim 2013, p.144). The highly acclaimed Korean Wave only proves that the Koreans have the ability to influence not just their Asian neighbors, but also the rest of the world (Cho, 2011, p.390). The Korean Wave is a manifestation that global culture is aware of other regional tastes. Other countries learned to adopt the Korean culture among young people within the way they dress, the clothes they were, make-up, hairstyle and how they move. To conclude, the Korean Wave is advantageous for K-pop groups because the youth of today had considered them as their modern-day idols.
Cho, Y. (2011). Desperately Seeking East Asia Amidst The Popularity Of South Korean Pop
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Hyun-key Kim, H. (2013). The Korean Wave: An Asian Reaction to Western-Dominated
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Kim, J. (2007). Why Does Hallyu Matter? The Significance of the Korean Wave in South
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Yoshida, K. (2009). East Asian Pop Culture: Analysing the Korean Wave. Pacific Affairs, 82(2),