In this article, we’re going to talk, describe and criticize some of the major things about the world of east Asian media.
Let me demystify it; we’re going to talk about how BTS becomes the greatest band even though they sing in a language which 70% of the world doesn’t understand, and how watching Korean drama and Japanese anime can make east Asia your dream destination. In a nutshell, it’s all about Hallyu, the Chinese word for the Korean wave.
How it all started:
Experts say it all started in the 1990s when the government of Korea removed the ban from certain things, like before there was a ban on films showing controversial topics, which resulted in the freedom of expression of thought that filmmakers had lacked before.
At the same time, the Koreans also started exploring different parts of the world for education and jobs, which gave them the sense of what was all happening in the world. They later utilized this in becoming a great soft power, which according to Wikipedia, is a political term used in international politics to describe a way of shaping the views of others by looking appealing.
This brings us to some international politics, and I’ll try to explain it without making it tedious. Let’s take the soft power country to be the politician doing all the hard work before elections to emerge as the ideal candidate. The hard power country then is the politician who has already won the election.
When bans were lifted, the Korean media started showing its influence in the neighboring Asian countries, which inspired others to bring the same content. As a result, this media produced artists like Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee, but it was just the starting. Soon when more and more people of east Asia got to know about western pop culture and rap music, youth there started to follow and copy this trend.
Now, you know the result of all this, but how vast was it?
How it’s going:
Assuming that Dragon Ball Z and Pokémon has been somehow part of our childhood, we can get the idea of how the accessibility of new technologies and social media made us move from the part where we just cared about one or two anime to loving the entire culture of Korea and Japan.
How can I make such an observation? Let me explain myself.
A study projected that the number of people enrolling in Korean and Japanese courses has increased -and here we’re talking about people belonging to other nationalities. So, understand whether this soft power game that South Korea has played in the ’90s has worked right, and people have started to explore it further, or it’s just tired of reading captions off a Korean movie or Japanese anime.
With the outset of bands like BTS and Black pink, people are going crazy about them every time I open my WhatsApp. I see someone posting their songs or pictures of BTS in their status, and it’s just these guys have a huge fan base of girls. Imagine the Beatles with the boon of social media. Still, I guess that would be bigger because English is a widely accepted language.
K-pop bands like BTS are now in trend, and they sing primarily in groups, which can be as many as 23 members.
Now let’s get down to business; BTS alone is a huge part of the Korean GDP, and will they continue to rise? Well, you might ask how that is possible? Not only is there revenue generation through their singing, but there is research that shows that several people just visit Korea because of BTS.
Sometimes airline uses bands to promote the travel and, there is not just BTS, there are more than enough K-pop bands like them, for example, bands like ITZY, EXO, NCT.
Not only singers’, dramas and movies also attract a huge amount of audience towards them. Take PARASITE, for example, which has received four academy awards, but there are times when people watch Korean dramas just for the sake that they’re speaking Korean when they’re no less than an Indian soap opera.
The Korean government is also encouraging the artist by increasing the number of funds they’re giving for animation, graphic design, and similar fields.
Where all this is going:
By seeing the present, we can have form an idea of where it’s all going; which in short says increasing excitement in people about the possibilities that lie in the culture and society of the east. You can say Korean or Japanese could be an international language of the medium. It gives other countries a great example to follow because without using any kind of forceful methods, Korea, which sometimes used to stand with Ghana, is developing every day and is the 10th largest economy globally.
Taking the example of South Korea and Japan, we can easily state that sometimes it’s important to win hearts than to win borders because we have an example sitting next door to South Korea, which doesn’t seem so good at this skill.
So, at last, I have a fun task for you which you could take as proof for all these things that I have written, ask someone who watches anime and k-drama or listens to K-pop about their dream destination, and you know the answer.