|The performance of Girl's Generation at SMTOWNLIVE WORLDTOUR in NewYork on 23rd October. (Photo : Billboard Korea)|
The number of Hallyu fan clubs in regions with Korean cultural centers has reached 182, with a total combined membership of approximately 3.3 million people, according to an announcement from the Korean Culture and Information Service, under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, on November 1.
According to an analysis of the data by area, there are 84 fan clubs in eight Asian nations, including Japan, China and Vietnam, with a total membership of 2.3 million people. The Americas, where cultural centers are found in Washington, New York, and Argentina, have 25 fan clubs with a total membership of 0.5 million, while European countries including England, France, and Turkey have 70 clubs with an estimated 0.4 million members combined.
Shanghai has the largest number of fan clubs, with eleven clubs comprised of a total of 1 million members. Beijing came in next with 14 clubs having 730,000 members, followed by New York, which has six clubs and 500,000 members, Russia with 23 clubs and 260,000 members, and Turkey with 17 clubs having 170,000 members.
The data is based on a survey of membership of official fanclubs, suggesting that the inclusion of data on unofficial clubs would show higher numbers. In the case of Japan, the estimated number of websites created by official fanclubs is 200.
Among all of the 182 fanclubs, those centered on singers make up the largest proportion, with a total of 115. There are 24 clubs that focus on actors and actresses and 16 clubs for movies and drama. 27 fanclubs have a more general focus on Korean culture. As the Korean wave, or Hallyu in Korean, continues to spread, the scope of the various fanclubs has become more diverse and their focus has become more specific.
These fanclubs can be seen as playing the role of a control tower, propelling Hallyu and boosting its impact. In June, for example, one club named Korean Connection called for an encore of SM Town's performance in Paris. Another club in Turkey called Korea Fans produces and distributes an Internet magazine, a daily newspaper, and radio broadcasts about Hallyu. Most of the fanclubs hold regular meetings and also organize independent Korean culture festivals. Rather than being passive consumers of Korean culture, these clubs are taking an active part in extending the reach of Hallyu.
In light of these survey findings, the Korean Culture and Information Service said it will continue to provide support for the steady growth of Hallyu and the positive reception of Korean culture abroad. They will also make efforts to increase awareness of traditional Korean culture as an important element of Hallyu.
By Lee Seung-ah
Korea.net Staff Writer