Hallyu, also known as the Korean wave, is winning worldwide popularity and its influence is spreading to the Indian subcontinent, Europe and the Americas.
World-famous musicians and producers who recently visited Korea, such as Quincy Jones and Melvin Brown, also expressed their deep interest in K-pop music.
Recently, the Agence France-Presse (AFP) news organization reported on a Korean culture boom in the Indian state of Manipur, where Korean TV dramas and musicians have become very popular among young people. On May 8, they published an article titled “Remote Indian state hooked on Korean pop culture.”
|(From left to right) AFP report on Korean culture boom in Manipur // English Hallyu website, Allkpop.com|
The Korean culture boom in Manipur is owed in part to the unique politics of the region and its local independence movement. Historically, Manipur used to be under the sovereignty of Myanmar (Burma). Secessionist groups, such as the Revolutionary People's Front, which currently controls the capital city of Imphal, have banned movies and TV programming in Hindi. In order to fill the vacuum, local cable operators started carrying English-language networks from Korea, including Arirang TV and KBS World.
Today, the streets of Imphal have many shops selling DVDs of Korean films and TV shows, K-pop albums and other cultural products, and Korean hair styles have become popular among the state’s fashionable youth. “Even the language has made inroads, with Korean phrases like 'annyeong-haseyo' (hello), 'kamsahamnida' (thank you) and 'sarang-haeyo' (I love you) peppering conversations in schoolyards and market-places,” the report said.
Hallyu has spread well beyond the bounds of Asia, though, and is now showing up in Europe and Americas. In Paris, the first Korean cultural festival was held by a group of French fans of Korean pop culture on May 8. Nearly 3,000 people visited the festival, which included traditional Korean culture programs like calligraphy and a K-pop contest. Earlier in May, about 300 K-pop lovers in France gathered in front of the Louvre Museum’s Pyramide for an unusual rally and flash mob to protest for more tickets to the SMTown Live World Tour on June 10. The flash mob danced and sang along to their favorite Korean songs, catching media attention.
Their wish came true and SM Entertainment announced on May 10 that it will hold a second concert on June 11, featuring groups like Girls’ Generation, TVXQ and Super Junior for an expected audience of 14,000. Even this wasn’t enough to meet demand, and SM Entertainment said on May 18 the second concert tickets sold out within ten minutes.
|(From left to right) 2NE1 (Yonahp News) // Melvin Brown and Ray & Renny with JQT members (Yonahp News)|
The potential popularity of K-pop, which is a major part of Hallyu, is recognized by well-known musicians and producers. Black Eyed Peas producer William James Adams Jr., who visited Korea in early May, has been working with Korean girl group 2NE1. In an interview with a U.S. local broadcaster a month ago, he said he’s been helping 2NE1 as they seek to expand their audiences overseas. He even uploaded a photo of himself with 2NE1 members to his Twitter account.
Quincy Jones also praised K-pop artists when he visited Korea in April, and Lady Gaga and Akon’s producer, Melvin Brown, has been working on the U.S. debut of girl group JQT.
Instead of standard international promotions, Hallyu stars have been able to find success internationally by using online social media. On YouTube, there are thousands of video clips of people copying their favorite dances from K-pop videos or doing covers of their favorite songs.
|(From left to right) French K-pop dance performance at the first Korean culture festival in Paris on May 8 (Yonhap News) // Hallyu fans in parade in Mexico City on May 14 (Yonhap News)|
By Yoon Sojung
Korea.net Staff Writer