The Importance Of South Korean Popular Culture

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Since the late 1990's, South Korean popular culture entered the global market via its television series better known as K-drama. The export of Korean dramas sparked off a palpable craze for Korean cultural commodities in early 2000. This popular cultural phenomenon known as the Korean Wave or Hallyu has seen a surge in interest in Korean culture especially through the study of the Korean language and understanding of the culture through travel. In this essay I would like to shed light on how this popular culture came to be and the significance it has on my everyday life. To dissect culture itself is fraught with difficulties, as there are many intricate factors that make up what it is. In my essay, popular culture is defined as an active, …show more content…
One strong example of globalization of K-drama is the use of dubbing and multi-language subtitle tracks when it’s viewed in a foreign country, this allows for the non-Korean speaking masses to learn about the Korean culture without first knowing the language.

Another important factor that led to the rise of South Korea’s popular culture was the strong government backing and support. Since the first Korean wave, the government has since evolved from its traditional role as a censor and took steps to cultivate a state that prides itself in cultural technologies (technologies that produce TV drama, films, music, games and animations etc.) (Shim, 2008)

After seeing the success of the first Korean Wave in the early 1990s, the government designated cultural technologies as one of the key technologies that would help boost South Korea’s economy in the 21st century. In 1997, elected South Korean president, Kim Dae-Jung, sought to become a ‘cultural president’ and together with the government promoted popular culture, firstly by promising to devote one percent of government expenditure on cultural
…show more content…
The cultural technologies helped in the exponential spread of K-drama globally, including countries in East and Southeast Asia. In a demonstrative move, the South Korean government has given administrative support and placed hundreds of millions of dollars in investment into domestic cultural industries, while also encouraging content producers to cultivate overseas markets (Shim, 2008). Continuing this cultural phenomenon was Lee Myung-bak, who succeeded Kim Dae-Jung in 2007. He aimed to promote Brand Korea and increase South Korea's popular culture. K-drama, to put it sensationally, is almost South Korea’s national culture and industry (Bougon, 2002). The government support ranged from favorable financial arrangements to cultural promotion (Sakai, 2012, p79-88).

Although there has been mixed review on the general effectiveness of the South Korean government effort, its concentration on cultural technologies has no doubt directly (through its financial aid and administrative help) or indirectly (by encouraging the advancement of production technologies) contributed to the thriving success that is K-drama.

Hallyu in

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