In the Know: K-Pop
Considered to be among South Korea’s “greatest exports,” Korean pop music and dramas have been gaining legions of fans worldwide.
Millions of fans have gone gaga over K-Pop superstars and their catchy tunes, energetic dance moves and good looks.
K-Pop’s popularity has turned it into a multimillion dollar business. SM Entertainment, South Korea’s top record label and music talent agency, which is said to have kicked off the K-Pop phenomenon in the 1990s, made over $270 million in 2015 alone, and was included in Forbes Magazine’s Asia’s 200 Best Under a Billion in 2013.
Apart from K-Pop, South Korea is also known for its well-loved koreanovelas whose fans come from all corners of the globe. Not only have these K-Dramas captured the imagination of households, they have also sparked interest in Korean tourism, as filming locations become tourist magnets and “pilgrimage” sites for foreign fans.
Among the early international hits was Winter Sonata, first aired in 2002, whose success can be traced to its basic formula of beautiful people, beautiful scenery and a plot that revolves around love, death and romantic longing, accompanied by melodramatic music.
Period drama Jewel in the Palace, first aired in 2003, was viewed in at least 87 countries, including the Philippines. The drama treated its viewers to traditional Korean architecture, music, clothing and food, making it a hit among foreign fans.
Early this year, popular K-drama Descendants of the Sun reached 120 million views on the Chinese online video platform IQiyi, with Chinese online media outlets citing it as the most-mentioned Korean drama on social media.
Compiled by Kate Pedroso, Inquirer Research
Sources: Forbes, TIME, Korea Times, Korean Culture and Information Service