The Korean Hallyu or Korean Wave is upon us. Making our women weeping or swooning and our kids dancing. I cannot find anywhere what hallyu really means. A short essay by Clara Haugland from the Korean consulate in Norway said that a Korean radio DJ in the early 1990s started labeling Korean pop culture products, meaning televisions shows, films, and later, music as that.
Hallyu could be a derivative of Hollywood, as anime of Japan was coined from the English word animation. After all, when a Korean official was asked what was the secret of the success of KDramas, he replied: “Simple, we copied Hollywood.” I think he was referring to the old studios, the factories of entertainment that controlled even the lives and the packaging of actors.
Haugland revealed that South Korea started inroads into China and then Japan, and on to Asia and the rest of the world with K-Dramas (television dramas and tearjerkers). An audience rating of 4.2 percent was enough to capture 150 million Chinese viewers. Consider the power of multiples. In Japan, in 2003, the TV drama series Winter Sonata became a monster hit. It was a spark that generated a wildfire in Asia.
The KPop (the music and dance) was also doing great. In 1997, a radio program called Seoul Music Room, broadcast from Beijing, introduced K-pop, which became extremely popular with Chinese teenagers. In February 2000, the Korean boy band H.O.T. held a live concert at Beijing Worker’s Gymnasium and this was deemed as the breakthrough of Korean popular culture entertainment.
There was a bigger invasion. In 2012. with the K-pop artist Psy launched “Gangnam Style” that Hallyu had its grand entry into Western countries. Psy looked comedic and he was loved. The bouncy song and its dance were so popular that its influence swept around the world as soon as it was released. It topped charts and reached over 30 countries across the globe. By 2020, the music video has been watched over 3 billion times.
“Crash Landing On You” on Netflix, a fantastic love story between a South Korean heiress and a North Korean military officer, was said to be the turning point in the Philippines. It was during the height of the pandemic and home viewing was the only option.
The wife, Guia, was one of those transfixed by CLOY, turning her from a non-cineaste to a couch potato, spending almost 8 hours a day in front of her iMac.
Hooked, she immediately stalked Hyun Bin, the star of CLOY, to “The Secret Garden” and to “Memories of Alhambra,” both classified as fantasy films. Further enamored, she wandered off to other KDrama fares until she discovered “The Healer,” with his current crush, Ji Zhang Wook.
The wife has lost a lot of sleep over KDrama and, consequently, her senses during daytime. Smiley icon there.