Thursday, January 24, 2008

Riding the Wave?

Outside of the occasional Korean popping into popular American television or an American movie here and there, the scope and reaches of the Korean entertainment industry was unknown to me. And the idea that there was a term for its infusion into worldwide markets came as a surprise. Be that as it may, The Korean Wave is real.

It means, specifically, the rising popularity of popular Korean culture in other countries. This has been experienced mostly in Asian markets like Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, and in China, where the phrase was coined in 1999. This wave basically includes film, music and television.

I have already discussed some of the popular music in Korea. You already know that band music does not do well here. There are a few attempts by some probably talented musicians, but the genre (metal and punk) they choose to play does not display it well. An since their is not an audience for band music, the international musicians make a habit of hitting Japan and then passing over Korea. I don't blame them. Some popular douche bags come and play like Jay-Z and all the silly GI's and teachers get to act hard, but no one with musical talent. For these reasons, I was surprised to see this flyer on my way to school.

While bands like the Wonder Girls and Big Bang continue to top the charts in Korea, they don't top much of anything outside of the peninsula. As you all know from Colbert, Rain is a very well-known Korean pop star who tours. However, his past tour faced cancellation after cancellation hinting that his popularity and possibly this Korean Wave could be faltering. Still, On May 5, 2007, a K-pop concert was held at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. The theme for the night was We Are One and several big names performed, including K-Pop stars like Ivy, Fly to the Sky, Big Bang, Super Junior, Epik High and BoA. The Wonder Girls had yet to be packaged. Let me give you a quick comparison of the Korean and Japanese live music market.

only has one well-known international act coming and that is Bjork. Japan has over 80 acts coming and they range from Celine Dion and Suzanne Vega to The Police and Toto, not to mention a ton of bands that I love and would see regularly in America.

However, the mainstay of this Korean Wave, in my opinion, lies in Korea's ability to make great movies and television without succumbing to the styles and themes of Hollywood. They produce great comedy and drama in Korea and many of these films do very well in other markets. In fact many markets are making efforts to curb this trend in fear that their own markets would become obsolete.

Has this wave crested? Or is does it still have some time? Well, I'm not sure. I think that musically it has finished. I don't think there is an international market for it. However, I do think that the movie industry is going to continue to grow. There are a few obstacles though. The effect of Hollywood on Korean films and the film Quota are both issues that need to be discussed and will be on here soon.

Until then, here's a couple movie trailers.

A Dirty Carnival

Once in a Summer


Mom said... no real familiar music comes to Seoul?

Don't YOU want to get to Japan to see Celine????!!!