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K-Pop’s Soft Power
The story of South Korea’s musical exports.
|By Neil Manticore-Griffin||June 2, 2011|
This spring, the Hollywood Bowl hosted a big-budget festival “for all generations” featuring a family-friendly parade of torch singers, hip-pop crews, and boy and girl bands. But instead of a shot in the arm for America’s pick-pocketed music industry, it’s a showcase for the boom of cultural exports from what CNN dubs “the Hollywood of the East”: South Korea.
K-Pop–named after (Japanese) J-Pop before it–has attained fashion first status in Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Singapore. More surprisingly, acts are making inroads into the self-sufficient charts of Japan–and more unpredictably, starting to occupy the imagination of a neo-capitalist China.
K-Pop’s rise began in the ’90s. South Korea had emerged as one of the Tiger Economies via a determined, decades-long drive to build up a competitive hi-tech manufacturing industry (starring Samsung, Hyundai and LG). This triumph of capitalism could only be achieved via a failure of democracy–a series of military republics kept free speech and wages down, as true to their own ideology as their more notorious neighbor. Democracy finally arrived in 1987, and the new rulers attempted to reform, while continuing to rely upon, the country’s chaebol (dynastic family businesses the size of multinational corporations). Likewise, as nearby China outpaced the Tiger Economies, South Korea’s previously isolationist foreign policy shifted to segyehwa–a political term usually translated as “globalization” (but more usefully ambiguous).
The dark side of South Korean pop music
By Lucy Williamson BBC News, Seoul
14 June 2011
South Korea’s pop industry is big business in Asia. As K-Pop sets its sights on Europe and the US, will this force a change in the way it treats its artists?
Selling singles is no way for a pop star to make money these days. Most artists find that touring and merchandise sales are more lucrative. So when it comes to concerts, size matters.
This is why the biggest date in the Korean pop calendar – the Dream Concert, at which up to 20 bands perform – is held in Seoul’s 66,800-seat World Cup Stadium.
Teenage crushes come here for a once-a-year date in a national love story, where commitment is measured in coloured balloons, and devotion is knowing all the words.
But the industry also has a less glamorous side: a history of controversy and legal disputes over the way it treats its young artists, which it is still struggling to shake. Read More →
Shared By: JYJ3
Shared By: JYJ3
Yoochun plays the character ‘Yoo Hyun’, who is the likely heir to the Mondo Group ‘throne’. On the other hand, Lee Da Hae plays ‘Mi Ri’, a girl who dreams of upward mobility through her education. Inevitably, the two characters ‘coincidentally’ meet each other on Jeju Island.
Although Mi Ri is in a relationship with Myung Hoon (played by actor Kim Seung Woo), she becomes attracted to Yoo Hyun, who has a higher status and more wealth. Up until now, Mi Ri ignored Yoo Hyun, stating, “You are like a rotten rope that I can see often only in Goshiwon.” However, after finding out that he is a second generation conglomerate, she is ruffling up a new temptation.