By Ana Carolina Aguiar
Girls’ Generation, a famous K-pop girl group, debuted more than 10 years ago with the hot single “Into the New World” and its lyrics foreshadowed Korean entertainment’s positive international future.
Since then, Korean entertainment has become mainstream worldwide and has reached international acclaim. Riding the wave of K-pop groups like BTS, other areas of Korean entertainment such as television and cinema have reached a new international peak.
The South Korean production of “Parasite” directed by Bong Joon-ho won best picture at the 2020 Academy Awards and became the first non-English production to win while battling American film heavyweight directors like Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorsese.
South Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho at 2020 Oscars Academy Awards
The film covers the topic of greed and class discrimination in Korean society and the narrative builds a unique parallel between the wealthy Park family and the destitute Kim clan.
Bong Joon-ho and his team also took home the most awards of the night with wins for best original screenplay, best director, and best foreign language film.
Much of this has been attributed to what Koreans self-proclaim as the Korean Wave, also referred to as Hallyu. Since the ‘90s, the Korean government started investing in their entertainment industry through subsidies and funding for start-ups.
Gangnam Style dance by Korean musician Psy in July 2012
As a result, Korean pop culture spread around the world and became one of the greatest cultural exporters in the 21st century. Although the United States has dominated the entertainment industry for most of that time, Korea has risen to become a top entertainment mecca alongside other countries such as Japan and Britain.
The spread of Korean entertainment is an interesting phenomenon. Social media networking and streaming on popular apps have caused it to spread across the Asian continent before spreading globally.
Korean entertainment may soon become a topic of discussion in Barry classrooms because of its impacts on cinema, graphic design, and even politics.
If interested in learning more about Korean entertainment, individuals can watch “Train to Busan,” “Oldboy,” and “The Handmaiden.” All three are critically acclaimed and available for viewing on Netflix.
Nonetheless, one thing is certain. The rising interest in Korean pop culture is an opportunity to find new friends, create new stories, and understand a beautiful new world— one embracing the highlight of different cultures and trends.