Article written by: Thuy Nguyen
ASEAN-Korea Blog Correspondent, Vietnam
‘Korean wave’ (Hallyu or Hanryu in Korean) refers to the popularity of Korean culture including music, movies, life style, etc. The term “Korean wave” first appeared in China in the 1990s. Korean culture diffuses as a “strong wave” and impacts to other cultures of Asia, especially Southeast Asia.
TV has been a significant factor in the “Korean wave”. Two decades ago, the conception of people in many countries in the world, Vietnam is not the exception, is just about the successful car industry. Korean wave was considered to start in around 1997. By 2003, Korean television dramas spread wide dramatically throughout Asia. That is the result of the price of Korean programming was much cheaper than other Asian countries products. In comparisons, the average price of Korean television drama film was about a quarter of Japanese’s and a tenth of the Hong Kong ones. Since then, Korean films have become popular across ASEAN. Thank to similar in Asian tradition, Korean programming is easier to reach and attract Eastern audience than dramas from other part of the world are.
Korean celebrities have great influence in community, especially in youth. The audience adore the music (eg: Korean pop music), fashion and make up trends, life style of the stars in the Korean film. Korean life style has got into the daily life of teenagers. It is not difficult to recognize Korean style in clothing, hairstyle trends in Asian streets. There were many interesting stories about this influence. In Ho Chi Minh city in Vietnam, after the dramas called “Dae Jang Geum – Jewel in the Palace” was shown, many brides ask to wear Han-bok (Korean traditional costume) in their pre-wedding photo album. A crazy fan in Thailand has decided to change her name to Mee-so, a Korean name meaning Smile, and to go to Korean for studying and finding a boyfriend. Recent years, Korean culture and Korean are stepping a stone to become a favorite language not only in Asia but also worldwide. The number of student spending time on studying Korean had increased continuously.
Korean bands gets greeted by thousands Vietnamese fans in the Noi Bai airport, March 2012
Korean culture has become more popular in the region, Korean wave fans into consumers of Korean products and services. The revenue of Korean brands is increasing sharply; for example, in Vietnam, LG Household and Health Care reach a positive business turnover after the feature of actress Kim Nam-Ju in its commercial advertisement. Faceshop in Vietnam successfully took advantage of Kim Hyun Joong popularity by hiring him as a model for its cosmetic commercials and inviting him to Vietnam.
Vietnamese fans had packed the roadside Hai Ba Trung,Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam, causing of traffic jam in 2011
In general, “Korean Wave” evidences to the dynamism of Korea and brings Korean culture to the world. Korean wave and its effects are the lessons to other countries to develop and promote their culture to the world.