The Korean Wave: Who Are Behind the Success of Korean Popular Culture?

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Submitted By kkk1999
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Gangnam style from the rapper/singer Psy is the first Korean music video that got 100 million views on YouTube. This makes it the most viewed song in the history of k-pop. Since the release of his single on 15 July this year the song has become a global success. With Psy reaching the number 2 spot on the American Billboard charts and number 1 on the Chinese music charts. This success did not go unnoticed in America and Psy has signed a record deal with Universal Republic Records for the release of his album in America. For some this success looks like it came out of nowhere, but those who have been following the k-pop scene know that this is something that would have happened sooner or later. K-pop has been on the rise for many years. Not only in South Korea or in Asia, but in parts of South America, Africa, the Middle East, the United States and Europe.
When zooming in on this international success of k-pop, we can see that there is a Korean wave (or hallyu in Korean language) going on. This Korean wave does not only include music, but also movies and TV dramas. Especially in Asia the demand for Korean cultural products has grown so big that it can rival with Japanese and Western culture. Those had been the main source for music, movies and television in Asia until hallyu. The success of Psy in America shows that the Korean wave is still expanding and getting more recognition worldwide.
This paper will look into the Korean wave. What is the Korean wave? And how do policymakers, the media and the culture industry think about hallyu? What are the differences in how they use the concept of hallyu? Second, who are behind the success of the Korean wave? How big was the role of the government, the fans, the media and the culture industry? And what were their reasons for starting the Korean wave? Was it purely because of economic reasons? Or did…...

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