Television programs always have huge connection with different cultural backgrounds. Therefore, people’s opinion on understanding a culture can be influenced by those TV programs. Especially for Korean dramas, which refers to the televised dramas made in Korean and use Korean language. These years, Korean dramas are being popular worldwide as there is a lot of people are watching Korean dramas from all over the world. By watching Korean dramas, people start understanding Korean custom, the popular places in Korea, Korean food and Korean language. Moreover, people get interested in Korean culture from receiving the information of those Korean dramas. Therefore, some of them they begin to learn Korean language, travel to Korean and even introduce Korean culture to the people around them. As a result, Korean culture has been distributed by Korean dramas. Drama has the aspect of both culture and economy and thus Korean drama is intended to promote exchange of culture globally and to make it an export industry. The Korean drama on TV has led to a lot of reactions from different diverse communities. And since the TV dramas in Korea show a detailed reflection on their industry, thoughts and lifestyles, Korean culture has been distributed by Korean dramas to all over the world.
To discuss the impact of drama in distributing Korean culture, the generation of Korean Wave was powered by the Korean drama. As Korean culture start getting more and more popular across Southeast Asia and all around the world, this spread of Korean popular culture is referred as Korean wave. In addition, “hallyu” is another term of Korean wave, which means “flow of Korean” (Shim, 2006). Korean wave includes the popularities of Korean pop music, products, films and dramas. The Korean Wave was started back in 1997 at a time when the Korean drama, What Love is All About, was the program being aired on China Television Station. The program got a high ranking during that time by being mentioned the second best in terms of views in the whole of Asia. What is Love All About had a setting of an extended family setup living under one roof. By that time, China had a strong belief on nuclear family setup coupled with individualism that was deeply rooted as a culture, and thus the story on extended family left the people nostalgic. The story resulted to deeper understanding of the Korean culture about the family life to the people of China. Later in 1999, a Youth Daily in Beijing mentioned the term “Hallyu” to mean the Korean Wave describing the success achieved by a Korean pop group’s concert performed in Beijing. Since then, Korean Wave has been used in describing the celebrity of Korean culture worldwide.
Korean Dramas in China
After Korean wave has been used in describing the celebrity of Korean culture worldwide, the number of dramas imported by China from Korea dramatically increased. China is being a major consumer of the Korean drama has contributed to the economic growth of Korea through importation of such cultural drama. However, around the start of the year 2006, the Korean drama began to experience many challenges. The Chinese government started limiting number of soap operas from South Korea in their country reducing drastically the export revenue collection from about $101. 6 million to $85.9million. However, the number of watching the Korean drama by the people of China was still continuing to rise.
With most of them depicting the daily family lives of the Koreans both in the rural in urban setups. The diverse themes incorporated in the Korean dramas attracted people of different generations’ world over leading to expansion of market for the Korean drama. The two major types of soap operas from Korea are contemporary and historical, with the latter based on historical events and figures. China television majorly aired Dae Jang Geum as their favorite soap opera from Korea (Chua, 2008). The reality portrayed in the drama on traditional Korean royal cuisine and medicine in particular made an appeal to the famous Chinese audience. This Korean drama had a remarkably large audience rating in not less than thirteen notable cities in China. The publicity of this particular soap opera in the whole Chinese state was done by president remark showing a great love to Dae Jang Geum during a public function.
Another type of Korean drama welcomed in the major parts of the world is the contemporary type of drama. It a fictional drama portraying the current structure setting of a society in South Korea, majorly the urban lifestyle. The cotemporary drama has a variation of the theme from the common family and love to the less expected, politics. A Korean dramas like the very recent, Secret Garden (2011) explained numerous Korean modern cultures such as career building, workplace challenges, love triangles, as well as exposing very attractive scenes made by the Korean film industries. Additionally, the younger generation internationally has also been included in the benefits of Korean dramas. Celebrities from Korea have become the experts in different parts of the world offering such services like fashion and design, hair dressing and international makeup guides. Since What Love is All About made grand entry into the international market, the likes of Geum-Soon (2005), See and See again (1998) and Miss Mermaid (2002) got into the market and got their popularity in existence. They all preach the same theme and have their stories rooted on the ordinary Korean middle families. They also portray the three different classes of families and lifestyle as it is in Korea.
Globalization of the Korean industry
As Korean dramas are being extremely popular in China, they are also really influential across other countries. The most significant reason for the success of Korean dramas into the international market was that every nation, that is, the major consumers like China had alternatives to different cultures to Korea and they are regarding as a threat to their indigenous beliefs. Many countries placed their priorities in expanding their economy allowing infiltration of different firms, industrial products and cultures. Korean film industries invested heavily on the productions of such programs like the Korean dramas for export and by the invention and expansion if internet, their products reached a wider world market. Social media on the other hand is an international forum for interaction and exchange of information. The links to the Korean drama are shared through the social media platforms and downloaded instantly in different parts of the world. The Korean drama is indeed confirmed a filter for western beliefs and exhibit traditional beliefs and values that are familiar with some cultures from other communities. The storyline in these Korean drama have a direct speak to audience with Asian economic touch. Korean Wave an engine behind the prosperity and distribution of Korean culture has realized success since the South Korean young generation, with no connection to the nationwide poverty forms the major driving force in the drama. They also provide fresh dimension to the Korean cultural products, creating a modern lifestyle very desirable very many young people internationally. The people of China can easily trace their traditional culture from soap operas from Korea and gets back their cultural identity from such drama (Iwabuchi, et al 2004). Korean Wave has greatly impacted economic development to the Korean government. At a time Asia was hardly hit by economic crisis, private media sought cheap and high quality products such as Korean drama and left the Japanese and American products. The famous electronic firms like LG and Samsung took the initiative to distribute the free copies of the Korean drama to televisions showing the diverse cultures of Korea.
Korean Culture Among Korean Dramas
Korean dramas not only brought huge economic benefits to Korea, but also showed Korean culture to their audiences. Since Korea stands to be the most Confucian nation world over, their drama fundamental role has been to prove this point to the whole world. The drama reflects on the Korean Confucian values, like family- centered characters, respecting the elders and being loyal to the hierarchy. The impact of Korean Wave in other parts of the world and its political and cultural implications, just by having a look at the Korean drama that appeared televisions on different televisions world over. The Korean drama depicted in the recorded in form of the soap operas have made great achievement in such countries like China and many other counties. This success is attributed to the ability of the Korean drama to blend with the Confucian and western cultures (Iwabuchi, 2004). They provided soft alternatives that preferable over other western cultures like Japanese and American cultural products that were violent and explicit. Therefore, Korean culture is lively and strong since internet makes live streaming of Korean cultures.
Chua, B. (2008). East Asian pop culture analysing the Korean wave. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.
Hjarvard, S. (2013) The Mediatization of culture and Society. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis
Hong, Y. (n.d.). The birth of Korean cool: How one nation is conquering the
world through pop culture.
Iwabuchi, K. (2004). Feeling Asian modernities transnational consumption of Japanese TV dramas. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.
Koo, J. (1997). An introduction to Korean culture. Elizabeth, NJ: Hollym.
Korea, S. (1986). Korean Arts and Culture. Seoul International Pub. House.
Shim, D. (2006) Hybridity and the rise of Korean popular culture in Asia Media Culture & Society.
Youna, K. (2013) The Korean Wave: Korean Media Go Global. N/A ed. N.p.: n.p. Internationalizing Media Studies.