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Hallyu—the Korean Wave:
The Past, Present and Future

• Lecture Outline
• 1. Hallyu: An Introduction
• 2. Factors for the Popularity of Hallyu
• 3. Perspectives on Hallyu
a. nationalist perspective
b. neoliberal perspective
c. postcolonialist perspective
• 4. A New Korean Wave

• Hallyu, also known as the Korean Wave,
refers to the spread and surge of South
Korean popular culture, particularly its
dramas and music, around the world.
• The term was first coined in 1999 in
China by Beijing journalists who were
surprised by the rapidly growing
popularity of Korean popular culture in

• The origin of hallyu can be traced back
to the late 1990s when Korean dramas
began to penetrate the Asian television
market as the popularity of Hong Kong
and Japanese popular culture began to
• Korean television dramas such as
Autumn Fairy Tale, Winter Sonata, and
Daejanggeum (Jewel in the Palace)
became phenomenally popular in the
Asian countries.

• The Korean Wave began with television
dramas, but it now extends beyond TV to
movies, popular music, comic books,
fashion, video games, food, and language.
• Example: A Korean pop icon "Rain" (비)
named in the "100 Most Influential People
Who Shape Our World."
• While popular throughout the Asian
continent, hallyu has had the greatest
impact in East Asia, namely Japan, Taiwan,
and China, and is now spreading to India,
the Middle East, Central Asia, Iran, Israel,
Turkey, Russia and even Latin America.

• Of all the forms of Korean popular culture,
it is Korean popular music, simply referred
to as K-pop (an abbreviation of Korean
pop), which has in recent years become the
most important part of the Korean wave
and is very popular among teenagers in
many parts of the world, especially in Asia.
• K-pop, consisting of diverse musical genre,
ranging from pop, dance, and electropop to
hip hop, R & B and electronic music, has
grown into a popular subculture among
teenagers and young adults around the
world, resulting in widespread interest in
the fashion and style of Korean idol groups
and singers.

• It largely began with the founding of the country’s
largest entertainment company or talent agency, S.M.
Entertainment, in 1995, which produced the first Kpop boy bands and girl groups. • By the late 1990s, other entertainment companies,
such as YG Entertainment, DSP Entertainment, and
JYP Entertainment, were founded and they began to
churn out new idol groups.
• Groups such as H.O.T., G.o.d., and Fin.K.L were
enormously successful in the 1990s.
• In recent years, many of K-pop’s biggest idol groups
and solo acts, including BoA, TVXQ, Girls’ Generation,
BIGBANG, and Rain, have begun to target the
Japanese market, some of whom topped the
Japanese Oricon chart and sold out shows at arenas
and stadiums.

• By 2011, K-pop has become a mainstream genre
in many Asian countries, including Japan, Taiwan,
Mongolia, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore,
and Vietnam.
• Although K-pop is yet to break into the western
musical markets, it is steadily gaining enthusiastic
• In a push to further globalize the genre, K-pop
artists are increasingly working with talent outside
of Korea.
• In the United States, Korean artists are
collaborating with well-known producers, including
Kanye West, Rodney Jerkins, and Ludacris.
• In 2011, Billboard, one of music industry’s most
acclaimed music charts, implemented the K-Pop
Hot 100 Chart, showing the growing influence and
popularity of K-Pop within the Americas and

• In the formative years of the Korean Wave, many
skeptics predicted that hallyu would not last
• Recent indicators, however, suggest otherwise.
• Exports of Korean culture, including films,
dramas, and revenues from K-pop acts, are
expected to rise to $3.8 billion in 2011, which is
a 14% jump from the previous year.
• Korean male stars are now...
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