2012 (Pilot Project)

The Hallyu Wave Part 1: Why?

Being born, raised and currently living my teenage years here in Canada has given me the opportunity to diversify my interests. A common interest myself and many of my friends have is Kpop, to be more general, the Hallyu Wave, also referred to as the Korean Wave.

When I first got into Kpop, people would ask me questions about why I liked it so much. The most recurring question was “Why do you listen to it? You don’t even speak Korean.” Even my parents were curious to know what it was about Korean Pop Culture that attracted me so much. I decided to have a mini interview with a group of my friends, asking them questions I’ve gotten in the past when people found out I listen to Korean music, or watch Korean dramas and TV shows etc.

These posts will be split into parts to keep the posts reasonable in length.

The first question was simple, “How did you discover Kpop/what got you into Kpop?”

The most common answer was Youtube. The Kpop industry relies heavily on Youtube because of its international fanbase. Owned by Google, it is the world’s largest video sharing and hosting website.

Often times, because of the diversity of people here in Canada, people are introduced to Kpop through their friends. This was my case as well as the case of many others. The interesting part is that the friend who introduced it to me isn’t Korean. Even though the lyrics aren’t in a language that everyone necessarily understands, it’s still appealing enough to keep people coming back to listen. Why you ask? That was next question.

If you don’t understand the language the songs are in, what aspect of the pop culture or music attracted you to the point of listening to it regularly?

This is the most common question a non-Korean Kpop fan will get from others and a difficult one to answer. In short, the consensus from my friends was that music is universal, you don’t have to speak or understand the language to enjoy the sound of the words and the music. A friend of mine pointed out that North-American music is internationally renown and yet not everyone in the world speaks English.

Another appealing aspect mentioned during the interviews is the way it’s presented. The fact that the majority of songs have choreography to go along with them is neat because it gives you something interesting to watch while you’re listening to music you enjoy. I’m not talking about walking around the stage singing into the mic, I mean real, synchronized dancing. People are most influenced by first impressions and right off the bat, if you have a group of attractive, talented people busting out into a really cool dance, it’ll draw more attention and make people want to investigate more on the subject and maybe even try to learn the dance.

Idol culture is a very neat aspect in Korean pop culture and I’ll be exploring that in my next post, discussing the differences between the way they live and promote their work compared to celebrities from North-America.

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