Korean Pop Culture And Drama

Why K-Pop And K-Drama Are Getting Prominence These Days?

The world is going crazy over the Korean dramas and music. What’s the reason for this sudden upsurge in popularity of K-pop and K-drama?

Hanryu or Hallyu – meaning Korean wave, is evident from the fact that Oxford Dictionary has added 26 Korean words in its vocabulary. Korean boy band BTS’s presence in United Nation’s 76th General Assembly in 2021 has further showed how pre-eminent this wave is.

History of Korean Popular music (K-Pop) and Korean Drama (K-Drama)

Seo Taiji and Boys, the first K-Pop band, debuted in 1992. The band saw huge success and was the groundbreaker in introducing the rap genre in Korean music industry. By integrating dance routine in their performance, it pioneered breakdancing.  Seo Taiji and Boys disbanded in 1996 but left behind a legacy which was followed by many upcoming bands.

BTS, EXO, Blackpink, Twice are some of the names that have upheld the Korean popular music and are still spreading their wings internationally.

The first Korean drama was Death Row Prisoner that released in 1956. But Jewel in the Palace (2003) gained massive international recognition. Since then, Korean drama industry never looked back and churned out global hits like:

  • Guardian: The Lonely And The Great God (2016)
  • Mr. Sunshine (2018)
  • Sky Castle (2018)
  • Crash Landing On You (2020)
  • Squid Game (2021)
  • All Of Us Are Dead (2022)

Phew, the list will be endless.

What makes them so popular?

Now coming to this part, let us see why Korean entertainment industry is getting bigger with each passing day.

  • Catch up a K-drama, watch even a single episode, you will be in awe with its high production value.
  • Though they have predictable storylines, like rich guy falls for poor girl, teenage romance, college romcom, etc.; the episodes will keep you hooked from beginning till end.
  • The series have finite episodes, usually 10-16 episodes making it crisp and engaging.
  • No loud makeup and cheesy lines
  • Eye pleasing actors.
  • Korean dramas provide a good glimpse of their food, culture, lifestyle and scenic beauty.

Now let’s see the reasons for popularity of K-Pop :

  • Just look at the K-Pop idols. They are so charismatic. Isn’t? They present themselves so well.
  • Their humbleness makes them approachable to their fans. They enjoy a good loyalty from their fans. Take BTS as an example. Their fans call themselves “army”.
  • They are incredible dancers. They have some spectacular choreography. Years of hard work and training enables them to deliver synchronized performances.
  • With catchy music and relatable lyrics, K-Pop is gaining massive loyalty from their fans. Have you heard “Even though it’s pitch black in front, run forward” from “Can’t Nobody” song of the girl band 2NE1? The lyrics relate to our daily life.

“You gave me the best of me

So you’ll give you the best of you”

Magic Shop from boyband BTS

Heart touching. Isn’t?

  • Korean musical bands consistently deliver top notch performances.

Role of OTT platforms

The recent covid pandemic that made people stuck in their homes has increased the viewership of k-dramas. With the OTT platforms offering a plethora of international content, the lockdown period saw a boom in interest in such content, including Korean. Korean content gained popularity as people sought a mental diversion from the stressful times they were living through. As per a report in Hindustan Times, “The viewing for K-dramas on Netflix in India increased more than 370% in 2020 over 2019”. Netflix is already 2X its investment in Korean content. We can hope to see more incredible K-dramas in the future.

Economic impact

The Hallyu wave improved the economy of South Korea.  Until 1960s, the country’s GDP primarily depended on its agriculture. According to World Bank, it had a GDP of only $3.985 billion in 1960. Whereas in 2021, the country ranks 11th globally in terms of GDP at a whopping $107.4 trillion. According to HRI’s report published in 2018, BTS accounted for an estimated $3.54 billion of the South Korean GDP. This figure is growing. In 2019, the export value of K-dramas broadcast on program provider channels reached around 159.55 million U.S. dollars.  According to a report, three concerts held by the boy group BTS in Seoul in 2019 had a total direct and indirect impact of around 923 billion South Korean won.

Conclusion

During the past 2 decades, the Korean Wave has grown exponentially, and it continues to do so. Korea will have to innovate and harness the massive potential and popularity of the Korean Wave to sustain its global appeal.

We have finally begun exploring the other side of the world.