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Love, Korean Style! Drama and the Korean Wave

An addition to the Spring term series of seminars at SOAS, given by the director of Winter Sonata and other famous TV drama series.

Love, Korean Style! Drama and the Korean Wave

Director Yun Seokho (Winter Sonata & SOAS Visiting Scholar)
Date: 7 March 2014, 5:15 – 7:00 PM
Venue: Russell Square, College Buildings Room G50

Part 1: Korean Wave

1. Development of Korean Wave

The term Hallyu or Korean Wave, was coined by the Chinese media in 1999 when Korean popular culture such as TV dramas and pop music that were exported to China from 1997 became popular. Later when the Korean drama ‘Autumn in My Heart’ was shown to much acclaim in Taiwan and throughout Southeast Asian in 2001, the Korean Wave became a new trend in Asia’s popular culture. The Korean Wave grew further after ‘Winter Sonata’ was broadcasted in Japan 2003. More recently, together with dramas and pop music, as other elements of Korean popular culture such as food, fashion, books, and tourism became popular in Asia, Korean Wave has also been gradually gaining ground in South America and Europe as well.

In this presentation, along with the historical background of the Korean Wave and the phenomena of the Korean Wave in various countries, the development of the Korean Wave will also be considered.

2. Korean Wave and TV Dramas

Why did Korean dramas become popular in Asia?

We will consider cultural proximities and cultural discount rate and try to understand them by looking at scenes from dramas.

Why did for instance, Taiwanese media describe ‘Autumn in My Heart’ as a Western jam easily spread with East Asian values?

When ‘Iris’ was broadcast in Uzbekistan, why were many love scenes deleted?

Part 2: Love, Korean Style

1. Characteristics of Korean Love Story Dramas

Among Korean dramas, love story dramas in particular are the most popular in Asia. What could be their characteristics?

  • Heavy in romanticism and fantasies, including many stories of fateful and everlasting love
  • Good in portraying attractive male images.
  • Good in using media aesthetics and music to allow viewers to become emotionally sink into dramas.

2. My Love Story

  • Provide an emotional catharsis to viewers by effectively using a fantastic image to describe a pure, beautiful, and warm love story.
  • Romance, a love emotion that would be difficult to describe in English, an emotion different from a Western love.

“Korean-style love story is like a love kept in one’s heart rather than showing it.”

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