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The Korean Wave: Who Are Behind The Success Of Korean Popular Culture?

541 words - 3 pages

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 ...view middle of the document...

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 nostalgia, nationalism
or resistance against Western and Japanese popular culture also play a role?
Popular culture is defined in my thesis as any type of cultural content that is produced for the masses.
This can be music, movies, dramas, comics, books and games. Popular culture is the complete
opposite of high culture. One of the main scientists in this field is Herbert Gans. He was a professor of
sociology at Columbia University. According the Gans (1999) the concepts of popular culture and high
culture are related to class distinctions. The upper classes prefer high culture such as art and more
sophisticated type of cultural content. The lower classes prefer popular culture. This type of culture is
easier to consume and to enjoy. K-pop, Korean dramas and movies fall under popular culture.
In recent times Korean popular culture has drawn a lot of attention from scholars. Most studies show
that Korea is w part of a globalizing world and that Korean popular culture has considerable
followers outside of Korea. Roughly four different types of research about hallyu can be found in
scientific literature.

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