AAPI Heritage: The Rise of Korean Wave Worldwide | KWKT
(FOX 44) – May is Asian American Pacific Islander Cultural Heritage Month and FOX 44 is all about Korean Wave.
Everything seems to be in the K era now, with two experts in and out of the classroom giving their opinions on the rise of Korean culture in the United States.
If you haven’t ridden a K-wave yet, now might be the time to do so. From critically acclaimed Korean movies like ‘Parasite’ and ‘Minari’ to his recent $2.5 billion investment in K-dramas by Netflix, the demand for K-beauty and skin care, and the global phenomenon his K- Up to POP.
K, everything is bright red. And Hollywood’s Korean-American actors like Sandra Oh, Ken Jeong, Randall Park, and Daniel Dae Kim are riding the crest of the Hallyu wave.
Nancy Kim is a K-pop translator who has worked as an intermediary between Korean crews and American groups.
“I think the ‘Hallyu’ wave started maybe 20 years ago,” she says.
Rachel Lim, visiting assistant professor of history at Texas A&M University, believes its origins go back even further.
“In some ways, the export of culture seems to come out of nowhere. But in fact, the entire history of South Korea has been built on the spirit of export, right down to the ashes of the Korean War. about using exports to help,” Lim said.
In 2012, rapper PSY took the internet by storm with “Gangnam Style.” This song is a big hit song that spreads Korean culture to the world and made the world dance. This was her first ever YouTube video to reach her billion views in just five months of her debut.
Lim echoed the sentiment, stating, “The fact that ‘PSY’ was such a big hit, and in fact… it was the biggest hit that brought K-pop to global recognition, is, in a way, predictive of consumption. I think it shows that things are very difficult.”
When K-pop first emerged in the 90s, its beginnings were more humble.
“The first generation was not global. It was mostly Korean-Americans who knew about first-generation K-pop idols,” says Kim.
She describes her first exposure to K-pop as an adolescent.
“For me, to be honest, K-pop started with ‘Seo Taiji and the Boys,’ but I think a lot of people think it’s ‘hot.’ When I was in middle school. I used to talk about HOT with my non-Korean friends a lot, and they would look at me like crazy.”
She has seen that change over the years.
“Now, if I talk about BTS or BlackPink, everyone knows about it. And I’m not a weirdo.”
Now in its 3rd and 4th generation, K-POP is synonymous with cool.
“Actually, I think this story has less to do with South Korea suddenly starting to make cool stuff, and more to do with the fact that Americans and the world are ready to consume it. says Lim.
“Everyone seems shocked to see so much talent, but I’m like, ‘Oh no, we had talent.’ That’s what you’re seeing right now. Only,” says Kim.
So how does South Korea pump out K-pop idols in an almost factory-like fashion?
“There are reality shows like ‘Superstar K’ where young trainees compete to form a band and make their debut,” Lim explains. “But oddly enough, because it’s designed, it provides more entry points for fans to connect with people during the debut stage. I think it’s about not just watching the band, but being the viewer who may be watching the trainees try again and again.”
Finally, Kim said: “But the world is tough. Not everyone wants to be a K-pop idol. You can’t do that.”