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The Hallyu Wave

21747335 - map ot south  korea branded with korean flag isolated on white background

21747335 - map ot south korea branded with korean flag isolated on white background

Thanh-Truc (Jo) Nguyen, Staff Writer

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What is the phenomenon that is the Hallyu wave?

The term is used to refer to the spreading popularity of Korean entertainment and culture across Asia and other parts of the world.

Hallyu, or the “Korean Wave”, first appeared during the mid-1990s when Korean TV dramas and pop music gained great popularity in Chinese-speaking communities. Korean pop music, especially dance music, began to gain popularity among Chinese teenagers after it was introduced in earnest in 1997 by a radio program called Seoul Music Room broadcast from Beijing. The wave may have gained traction in China, but now it is sweeping the globe.

The KPOP wave craze has expanded further to include Korean traditional culture, food, literature, and language.

One of the biggest driving forces of the Hallyu wave is KPOP, especially in within the past few years. The first major splash was Psy’s Gangnam Style, which gained a lot of international attention when it was released in 2012. The song was the first KPOP title reach No. 1 on the British Official Singles Chart, took 2nd place on Billboard’s Hot 100 in the US, and also topped the charts in more than 30 countries, including France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Russia, Canada, and Australia. The music video for Gangnam Style was also the most viewed video on Youtube for many years.

Gangnam Style was preceded by major KPOP groups such as TVXQ, Super Junior, Big Bang, 2NE1, Beast, Girls’ Generation, 2PM and Wonder Girls who helped popularized KPOP across Asia. These artists helped lead the way for the new generation who is taking KPOP onto new stages across the world.

Notably, the seven-membered group BTS has become immensely popular world wide. They are the first KPOP act to land #1 on Billboard Top 100. They are also the first KPOP group to be invited, attend, and win at the Billboard Music Awards.

Another power moving the Hallyu wave is Korean TV shows, dramas specifically.  Korean Entertain is being broadcast in 87 countries around the world. The hit TV drama Dae Jang Geum set in early Korea fascinates viewers with its portrayal of traditional Korean culture such as Korean Royal Court cuisine, traditional costumes and medicinal knowledge.

Each of the driving factors tie in with one another. KPOP and KDramas help the Korean language spread throughout the world. Korean TV shows occasionally present Korea’s traditional culture and foods.

South Korea is actually heavily investing into the Hallyu Wave. When the music and TV shows reach audiences around the world, it helps boost the economy in South Korea in various ways like through tourism, investment from other countries, production, etc.

The Hallyu Wave shows no signs of slowing, so hop on and enjoy the ride.

About the Writer
Thanh-Truc (Jo) Nguyen, Staff Writer

I’m Jo Nguyen, and I’m a sophomore at Renton High School. My area for our online newspaper is student resources, where I focus on community service...

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