What's hallyu?

Found 2 pretty good materials about hallyu:

Where does the word hallyu come from?

The origin of the term is not sure: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_wave
Some say it comes from the Japanese word ryu (流) as a postfix to refer to ‘~way’, ‘~style’, ‘~group’; some say it comes from a Korean CD whose Chinese title was 韩流, Hanliu, literally the Korean Wave; some say it comes from Chinese media to describe the success of the first aired Kdramas on Chinese TV.

On this paper, it's slightly different:



Source: KIM M. (2011) « The role of the government in cultural industry: Some observations from Korea’s experience », Keio Communication Review , n°33.

Then the other material was about: Main factors that made Hallyu possible and that maintained Hallyu

Such as

Continuous support from the Korean government: Korea is probably one of the only countries in the world that has a Ministry of Culture (Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to be exact). A division of the ministry, the Popular Culture Industry Division, focuses on Korean pop music, fashion, mass entertainment, comic books, cartoons, and other key products. The division along with three other divisions are referred to as the Cultural Content Office. Its budget is a staggering USD 5.5 billion, with the aim to boost economic growth particularly through growing the country’s cultural industry export industry. Additionally, the Korean government sponsors 20-30% of a USD 1 billion investment fund earmarked to nurture and export popular culture. The remaining funds comes from investment banks and private companies and are managed by the Korean Venture Investment Corporation.

One of the strategies of managing Hallyu is the careful study of its target audience – mostly people in Asian countries. The Korean government and its divisions follow these Asian countries and cultures closely to understand which Korean Wave products would have the best probability of success in different markets. The secret is that no one understands these markets better than Korea.

The Korean government has also been very active in managing Hallyu outside of Korea by conducting different cultural festivals displaying the Korean offerings, conducting PR campaigns to publicize Korean uniqueness and indirectly helping the entertainment industry by creating a very conducive environment. As of August 2020, the Korean Culture and Information Service has set up 32 Korean Cultural Centers in 28 countries across Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, and America to promote Hallyu.

The Korean government has also built and opened “K-Culture Valley” in Goyang, a Hallyu inspired theme park which would house everything from film studios, Korean restaurants, live music concerts to movie galleries, hotels, shopping malls selling Korean celebrity merchandise and even a Korean theme park at a cost of USD 1.2 billion. The purpose of this theme park has been to put in one place all the interesting components of Hallyu for visitors.

Lesser animosity towards Korea in Southeast Asian region: History, in a strange way, is positively aiding Korea and the growth of Hallyu. Most Asian countries were former colonies of Japan during the World War time. The direct result of this has been the continuing animosity towards Japan in many Asian countries, most notably in mainland China.

That’s impressive:
Hallyu Fan clubs


There’s one thing I didn’t understand in the paper though: how come lifting bans on imported and distributed content (programs, movies…) from Japan or foreign countries was a + for Hallyu or Korea?





It clearly explains it. Because there was no imported content, local content became more and better to fill the gap and the needs of the audience. Afterwards, because Korean content had become more sophisticated and of higher quality, it became competitive and thus was able to conquer overseas markets.

I am not sure I have understood it correctly.
What I have understood is that before, Japanese content was banned in Korea because of the past Japanese protectorate since 1945 and domestic content was the policy to improve the domestic infrastructure, production, quality.

But progressively, from ~ 1998, they reversed the policy to allow foreign content including Japanese content and competitors.

From the pov of Korea, why allowing foreign content in their programs? Why not keeping the same policy about foreign content in their territory?

Because if they banned Japanese content, then they couldn’t reasonably expect the Japanese to buy theirs. So now they were confident in the quality of their content, that it could compete side by side with anything else out there, they decided to bury the hatchet in order to be able to do commercial exchanges. For pragmatic reasons.
At least that’s the way I understand it. I haven’t done any very deep study in the matter. But I did read that wonderful book by Euny Hong, “The Birth of Korean Cool” (2014) It was a real eye-opener.

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That makes sense!

Thanks for the recommendation!
I don’t know why, I prefer to read history books about everything that is Asian. Their history is so rich!
The present is also interesting, but I don’t feel this amazingness from the past or from evolution!

If you look at Korea just after the war, and Korea today, I think it’s a really amazing feat. And it also shows a government which was not always democratic or just, but it did have smart plans to advance the country and it did take right decisions on that directions. Investing on what was needed to further the country’s interests, economic growth and international value, both in terms of money and in terms of prestige, cultural, technological and other. I am no historian, but I think it’s one of the most amazing feats in the 20th-21st century.
I had linked a documentary on this. Although it’s a government-made, self-congratulatory thing, still what it says is true. Here it is again, and some more on the subject:

This one is a bit dry but it has precious original footage.

This is an US documentary, again with rare archive. An insight of the US help to S. Korea in rebuilding the country.

This one is a personal video and it explains the logic of helping the chaebols in order to achieve economic growth. It’s interesting because it’s not the official view.

This one focuses on export-led industrialization of South Korea and tells about the sacrifice of many people who went to work abroad in exchange of foreign aid which helped rebuild and industrialize the country.

The economic aspect is explained here too:

But the dictatorship that built the success was often cruel and violent. Here is a documentary which presents a more balanced view of the sacrifices behind the “Han River Miracle”
Part 1 https://youtu.be/wLnOOUE4QsU
Part 2 https://youtu.be/W5uYgmnZZZ0
Here is a well-made BBC documentary, made in 2011, whose predictions for the future have all come true.

In this very recent documentary (November 2020) we enter the world of Hallyu.

Here is about Korean cultural exports including language:

And here is the flip side of the country’s success:


I’ve already watched documentaries about South Korea, so the period around 1990 - nowadays is not an unknown territory :grinning:
I find documentaries good for a beginning or a general presentation and showing pictures or interviewing people, but the format of a documentary is made that they can’t explain or go into details like research papers or something written over a subject. A pity!

It’s more rare to find a good book or a documentary that oversees all periods.
I still prefer the past over the present because I love history, the modern era is interesting, but for me, the feelings are not the same.
I can’t explain why, like we can’t explain why we like a colour more than another one or why others would like a pattern of crochet and we don’t lol