Impact of the 'Dynamite' Hallyu Wave!

행복한 독서 !!

(Haengboghan dogseo!!)

(Happy Reading!!)



( Via ISSA at UCSD)


Any K-pop enthusiast would have caught up with the famous BTS song's reference in this article's title. This is the power of the Korean wave, which has gotten even more prominent during the pandemic. It has turned all eyes to Korean food, music, shows, etc. Its popularity has been increasing since the 1980s across East, Southeast, and South Asia; but now with the development of technology, it has gained worldwide recognition through various ways such as YouTube, Twitter, etc.


Since the turn of the 21st century, South Korea has emerged as a major exporter of popular culture and tourism, aspects which have become a significant part of its burgeoning economy. The growing popularity of Korean pop culture in the world was at least partly driven by the South Korean government supporting its creative industries through subsidies and funding for start-ups; having the goal to become one of the leading cultural exporters ,in line with Japan and Britain.


The South Korean government has raised a $1 billion dollar fund to nurture popular culture. This has resulted in the formation of multitalented individual artists and bands like BTS, Blackpink, PSY, etc. and people's engagement in K-dramas and movies, which has accomplished influential recognition and reputation. YouTube has been a vital platform in the increasing international popularity of K-pop, overriding the reluctance of radio DJs to air foreign-language songs in reaching a global audience.



(Via Marie Claire; The best Korean Dramas of all time.)


(Famous K-pop groups such as BTS, Blackpink, etc. have a major role in impacting the entire world's entertainment industry)


(Popularization of the Korean heart sign by the Korean Wave)


This wave has been impacting the younger generation the most. They have found behavioral and personality changes after introducing the Korean culture in their lives. Korean-Americans have found themselves being more comfortable with their identities due to the lukewarm reception of Korean culture in the USA. Cuisine and cosmetic products are two of the most recognizable features of South Korean culture overseas. This has made people adopt lifestyle changes in accordance with Korean ways.


Korean skincare products have gained widespread popularity in Asia. Amorepacific and LG Household & Health Care have become the top two beauty companies in the Asia-Pacific region. Korean cosmetic and skincare products have also become popular in Thailand, Malaysia, and Japan among other countries. Korean Wave increased the curiosity and made people take more interest in South Korea.


According to a survey conducted by the South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the total number of people who are part of Hallyu fan clubs worldwide is 104 million (in 2020). Over 90% of them are female and most are fans of K-pop. 15 million of them are from India only.


(Lifestyle companies LG and AmorePacific)


(Korea's traditional dish Kimchi)


During the Covid-19 lockdown in India, people paid lots of attention to K-pop, Korean food like Kimchi, Korean drama and Korean beauty brands and standards. Although famous for language, ethnicity, race and cultural barriers due to high diversity, singer Jimin of K-pop boy band BTS successfully penetrated and helped spread Korean popular culture, which earned him the nickname 'King of K-pop' in India. As per the Indian singer Armaan Malik (@armaanmalik), K-pop is now transformed from a music genre to a popular cultural universe that has unique storylines, meaningful lyrics etc.


Women accepted and demanded K-beauty products, which led Amorepacific Corporation became the first Korean cosmetics company to enter India, to set up shop near New Delhi in 2013. After that, many other Korean cosmetic brands started selling their products in India through mostly big e-commerce websites such as Amazon, Myntra, etc. Popular K-pop groups like BTS, Blackpink also started selling and shipping their merch to India, which was actively bought by young adults.


(McDonald's and BTS unveil Merch Collab in 2021)


From the start of the 2020 coronavirus lockdown in India, Google search trend showed greater interest in Korean food with increasing visibility of Korean noodle brands such as Shin Ramyun and Samyang on local supermarket shelves. The Korean wave helped in the creation of new Korean entrepreneurs in India who first came from South Korea after working in big corporations, now continuing to set up their own businesses in India.



(India has a strong relation with South Korea)


India has had a significant relation with South Korea in the past. This dates back to around 2000 years ago, when Princess Suriratna of India went to Korea and married King Kim Suro of Geumgwan Gaya. After marriage, she was popularly known as Queen Heo Hwang-ok. More than six million present day Koreans, especially from Gimhae Kim, Heo and Lee (Yi) clans, trace their lineage to the legendary queen as the direct descendants of Queen Heo Hwang-ok's 12 children with King Kim Suro. This has always been considered a legendary part of India's and Korea's history together.


(Queen Heo Hwang-ok with King Kim Suro)


Overall, the Korean wave itself is neither good nor bad. It has enhanced South Korea's relations with the entire world in Social, Economical, Cultural and Political ways. It has been attracting more than 1 million tourists every year. It has constantly been gaining appreciation and recognition for its influence on worldwide industries and on people's lives.


(South Korea- A powerful nation.)


The Korean Wave has also been met with backlash and anti-Korean sentiment in countries such as Japan, the Philippines, Taiwan, and China. Existing negative attitudes towards Korean culture may be rooted in nationalism or historical conflicts. The South Korean entertainment industry has been faced with claims of mistreatment towards its musical artists. The artists claimed they had not been paid what they were owed and that their 13-year contracts were far too long.


There are many more concerns when it comes to the Korean wave. Despite them, the Korean culture and wave will continue to inspire and influence the world for many generations to come.


Authored By : Shreta Das

Edited By: Shreya Gupta