The emergence of South Korean entertainment has introduced a new cultural perspective to the usually Western dominated industry. As it began to take over Asia, the perception of Asian art forms was changing, and along with it brought a new insight into South Korea. “The late twentieth century saw decisive changes in how national cultural and economic structures interacted as their historical influence confronted the realities of global integration. The outcome was a new and distinctive cultural and discursive space (the global) that eroded traditional forms of national culture and identity” (Ryoo, 2009).

The Hallyu Wave has captured a large share of the film industry as it has “become the seventh largest film market in the world, with national film attendance totals by 2000 exceeding 70 million” (Ryoo, 2009). The South Korean film market has been largely controlled by that of Western and Japanese films, but its continued success has seen it become more widely liked. “In recent years, the quantity and quality of South Korean films has led to a so-called ‘renaissance’ in South Korean national cinema, and it is widely considered the most successful and significant non-Hollywood cinema available in the world today” (Ryoo 2009).

This is largely due to the correlations that can be identified within these films to those who live throughout Asian countries. “The phenomenon especially signifies a regionalisation of transnational cultural flows as it entails Asian countries’ increasing acceptance of cultural production and consumption from neighbouring countries that share similar historical and cultural backgrounds, rather than from politically and economically powerful others” (Ryoo, 2009).

The K-Pop movement has taken the world by storm as it gains not only popularity within South Korea but also around the world. “K-pop songs are often seen as showing a fuller affinity for the region’s character, and to express soulfulness than Western music” (Ryoo, 2009). The introduction of K-Pop to the Western world is seen by the Western world as being PSY’s ‘Gangnam Style’, although a journal article discussing the musical phenomenon notes “the song is much different than most K-Pop. There’s a lot of irony and humour in that video, while other K-Pop songs are very serious and sexy and very well crafted” (Flatley, 2012). It although can be said that Psy’s popular song gave a platform for the Western world to become intrigued into the world of South Korean music. The effect that it has had on the Western world is shown in this video by the Wall Street Journal, discussing how the ‘Korean Wave’ and K-Pop has created a new cultural perspective.

Opinion Journal: Riding the Korean Wave

The government has played a huge part in the success of the Hallyu movement, supplying resources and creating a financial situation that has allowed for its growth.  A video originally created by the BBC, talking to author Euny Hong, describes how the government has contributed in aiding the cultural movement. “Also supporting the South Korean film industry has been active government controls against copying and piracy, which have allowed the film industry to produce many films and assure their overall profitability given very strong DVD and aftermarket sales” (Ryoo, 2009)

BBC News K Pop part of plan to challenge US cultural domination


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