The rise of the Korean Wave
Over the last decade Korean popular culture has become the most beloved culture among Asian people. Asia is no longer dominated by Western culture, and people are choosing what they consider to be more Asian, as well as something that contains Asian values and sentiments. That is the trend toward a more Asian life.
More and more people throughout Vietnam are choosing to watch Korean movies, listen to Korean music, follow Korean soap-operas, wear Korean style clothes, play online games of Korea manufacture and even travel to Korea to visit sites they have seen in their favorite Korean dramas. This phenomenon is called the Korean Wave.
Starting point of the Korean Wave
It is unclear wave started to become popular among Asians, but public media began recognizing Korean popular culture in Vietnam in 1998, when the Korean television drama ” The Medical Brothers” was broadcast in Ho Chi Minh city.
The drama caught people’s attention in part because its main actor, Jang Dong Gun, was particularly attractive to Vietnamese women. Vietnamese audiences were attracted to the ” modern image” seen in the fashion, hair style, and lifestyle of South Korea. The views and items portrayed in this drama, such as tall buildings and fancy cars, the high quality health care services and the high standard of living, portrayed South Korea as a modern and developed country. Also the modern images projected, such as following the latest fashion, emphasizing the visual imagery, all showed Korean television drama to be trendy. Vietnamese realized that Korean was much more modern than they had thought it to be.
The role of popular music in the circulation of Korean culture in Vietnam is very significant. Teenage band such as Baby Vox attracted Vietnamese young audiences. The reason that Korean music attraced so many Asian fans is that it has adopted Western pop music and recreated it in Korean style, through fashion or performane style.
Aiming to conquer the Vietnamese music market, lots of Korean artist launch their albums in Vietnamese also.
Korean movies added to the Korean Wave by offering sensational scenes and plots, in a maner different from those offered by Hollywood. They containted strong Korean characteristics and sentiments, which many Asians could easily assimilate.
The portrayal of South Korea in television dramas, in high quality of the visual images in Korean movies, confucian sentiments incorporated into music videos and soap-operas, the active promotion of Korean production companies, all created opportunities for Korean culture to circulate throughout Vietnam.
Many scholars and journalists have written about Korean Wave in academic journals, newspaper and magazines, putting 2 reasons that make Korean Wave a force influences on the social behavior. Those are:
South Korean popular culture expresses Asian values and sentiments, which Asians can easily assimilate.
The self-confidence and nationalism Koreans show through their culture as well as in international events.
The effect of The Korean Wave in Vietnam is becoming much more serious. Many Vietnamese teenagers now favor Korean culture. Therefore, orientations must be conducted among variuos schools and universities in Vietnam to prevent teenagers from losing their Vietnamese traditional culture, a very important element in their growing up process, which is also part of their life.
Assisting young people to have solid knowledge, acknowledge responsibility for their actions, and be able to deal with difficulties is the most important thing, not simply preventing them from doing this or doing that, experts say.
Tran Ngoc Thai Duy- BAUN09359