Sunday, June 25, 2006

beyond hallyu

there's an article today in Korea Times that touched on hallyu or korean wave...here's the full text ~

Can ‘Hallyu’ Maintain Popularity?

Hallyu, the Korean wave, has spread like a wild fever among Asian nations. Thanks to the popularity of Korean culture, Korea’s international image is positive. Moreover, hallyu has paved the way for Korea to have friendlier relationships with other nations.
However, can hallyu carry on to spread more widely and maintain its popularity? If Korea wants hallyu to continue, it should perform two significant tasks. First, diversification of cultural content in hallyu is needed. In addition, hallyu should not be a means of cultural imperialism.

Currently, the success of hallyu is mostly thanks to Korean celebrities. Popular stars such as Rain, Lee Young-ae and Bae Yong-joon attract Asians. Especially, Bae is considered one of the most honorable people in Japan due to his fascinating role in ``Winter Sonata.’’

Yet, there are risks in hallyu when it depends, too much on celebrities. When celebrities’ popularity falls, so can hallyu. Furthermore, Korean soap operas support the hallyu fever. Yet, themes in dramas seem to be reaching their limits. Most dramas have become too similar in content as is seen in the familiar theme of a love triangle.

If such problems persist, other nations might get sick and tired of Korean dramas, which could eventually lead to the demise of hallyu. Thus, Korea must diversify its cultural items. For instance, Korean food can become an international preference _ it is not only delicious but also nutritious.

Moreover, we need support studies on the Korean alphabet “hangul.” As hangul is a scientific and sophisticated alphabet, other nations will be attracted to it and could have more opportunities to learn it.

At the same time, Korea should not take advantage of hallyu as a step to cultural imperialism. Korean culture has already spread to various places in the world. Furthermore, the impact of Korean culture has been substantial. Yet, as always, if there is enmity, there is hostility. Hallyu should not be the means to conquer other cultures to assimilate them into Korean culture. Such an attempt could spark antagonistic reactions to hallyu. For instance, China banned Korean soap operas after realizing they posed a threat to its own dramas. In other words, China feared its culture might face risks. Thus, Korea should try to cooperate with other nations to develop both its own culture and others’ cultures.

In conclusion, hallyu can be a continual phenomenon when Korea realizes two preconditions. A variety of cultural items are necessary for hallyu to continue to thrive. In addition, hallyu should not be an expedient to cultural imperialism. Co-existence is momentous. Gradual efforts to improve hallyu can lead to a culturally rich international society.

source: http://times.hankooki.com/lpage/opinion/200606/kt2006062518125654070.htm


this is the first time in my blog that i posted a full article especially from a korean news portal but after reading this, i can't help but go to my blog and jot down my scattered thoughts regarding this raging....or waning?? korean fever.

first of all, these are all my personal opinion and i may be totally wrong in my views but i just want to share & let out some things that got stuck in my head since this hallyu thing got associated with BYJ.

ok....i'm glad that korea is getting a fair share of the limelight due to the korean wave which was partly triggered by bae yong joon. actually, my 'gladness' stems from my great admiration to this korean actor coz if not for him, i would probably have no idea what's happening in korea. but because of yong joon, i got interested in a number of things about korea though my interests lie mainly on anything and everything about bae yong joon.

the article stated that hallyu should not depend on the popularity of celebrities. that is correct. but i think a bigger part of hallyu is leaning rather heavily on the popularity of a few celebrities. the ripple effects of the popularities of BYJ, actress lee young ae, singers rain & boa, director park chan wook are bringing in the bucks but i'm not sure about the economic impact of the other kr celebrities. and these bucks happen to be one of the major contributors in the driving force behind hallyu.

it seems that a large number of korean artistes are of the goal to make it big outside korea. of course, that's where the bigger fame and fortune lies. an actor may be very popular in korea but if he or she won't make it beyond korea, it just seems lacking. actually, quite a number of new faces are sprouting all over courtesy of some popular dramas but will they be enough to add strength in sustaining the popularity of hallyu?

reading the english news reports from korean portals gives us an idea that korean media (of course, in coordination w/ the actors' talent mgt. company) is doing its best to spread the good news, so to speak. korean media plays a vital role in promoting the korean wave coz they are one of the major sources of info of overseas fans so its giving a lot of actors sufficient space to promote themselves and their projects probably with the hope that they will get more recognition and appreciation from overseas fans w/c in turn may translate into economic figures that would hopefully, further strengthen the korean wave.

on the other hand, it makes me wonder why some members of the korean media are not that friendly towards BYJ. this is a perennial topic amongst byj fans and we still don't have the answers. i won't be going into details about this issue but based on facts and figures, BYJ made a very substantial contribution in creating and sustaining to this day the korean wave and it just amazes me on the attitude of some members of the korean media towards BYJ on several occasions.....i can only shake my head.

with regards to this, i also came across some articles before (though i'm not sure how reliable the writers are) that hallyu actors are kind of getting the snub from korean public ?? not very sure on this but if this is true, this is very surprising!! oh yes, i remember before a report that said that one reason AS did not make it big in korea coz the audience are not into the 'korean fever' feel of the film. huh ??? ...or perhaps i read this in one of those articles in twitch, where we can find this particular fan-writer who just can't get enough of yong joon.. haha!!

btw, this may sound so naive but why do they call BYJ a hallyu actor? before this hallyu thing, BYJ is already a very popular figure in korea. yes, the korean wave may have invigorated his career but its not totally dependent on hallyu. it just happens that he got recognized & become immensely popular outside korea. if this is the case, does this mean that all korean actors who become popular outside korea are called hallyu or korean wave actors ? can they just call BYJ as 'famous korean actor'? or just 'korean actor'?

i think one way of helping maintain a positive & encouraging atmosphere, thus, may somehow help sustain the korean wave is the korean media giving full support to all korean actors, and that includes BYJ. i don't mean that we only want to read the nice news about BYJ but i hope they focus more on the positive side of things and veer away from negative reports that are negligible and not worth writing about. if they are dreaming big and aiming high, they should be more sensitive to the pulse of the public, particularly the paying public or those who are mainly responsible in keeping the temperature of the fever as high as ever. if some members of the media have a personal grudge on a particular production company or actor, can they just settle it behind the scene and not use reporting in the guise of 'journalism' to settle a score.

the writer of the above article probably got a glimpse of some of BYJ's interviews during the past few months where yong joon mentioned a number of times that he fully supports an Asian Wave and not just a korean wave. he had been implying that it is not healthy to have a one way cultural flow but he is encouraging that an asian cultural exchange should be strengthened thereby creating a healthier & stronger relationship among asian countries and who knows, this may create an Asian Fever all over the world !! actually, one thing i love and greatly admire about yong joon is that when he speaks of something, he takes definitive actions. oh yes, i think he's already paving the way for an Asian Wave.

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