The special meeting was held on June 2 at the Korean Cultural Center in Paris, where Minister Choung met members of the French Hallyu fan club, “Korean Connection.”
Minister Choung asked the center to arrange the meeting with the club to discuss the Korean wave, also known as Hallyu, in Europe after learning about an unusual rally in May organized by the club to protest for an extension of a K-pop concert. Nearly 300 K-pop lovers gathered in front of the Louvre Museum’s Pyramide to protest for more tickets to the SMTown Live World Tour on June 10.
The status of Hallyu in France was “higher than one can imagine,” according to a June 3 Yonhap News report.
|Minister Choung (fourth from the left) and members of the French Hallyu fan club “Korean Connection” pose after a meeting at the Korean Cultural Center in Paris. (Yonhap News)|
One of the club members said the number of Hallyu fan in France will soon surpass 100,000, considering that tickets to the two-day SMTown Live concerts sold out within ten minutes. Yonhap News quoted the club members as saying that this was in spite of the fact that the tickets were very expensive, starting at 110 Euros per person.
Minister Choung promised that he will help invite the members of the Korean Connection to next year’s Dream Concert, a free concert featuring K-pop idol groups.
The Hallyu phenomenon can also be found in the United Kingdom.
About 300 British youth K-pop lovers gathered in central London for a K-pop live contest organized by the Korean Cultural Center in London, Yonhap News reported on June 4.
Though the event was announced only through social network channels like YouTube and Facebook and was only able to accommodate 220 people, the event venue was crowded with nearly 300 K-pop lovers.
Nearly 80 teams applied by uploading their homemade videos on the internet. Out of all the applicants, five teams passed the online screening and competed for the votes from the live audience.
The applicants danced and sang just like their favorite K-pop idols groups, such as Girls’ Generation and 2NE1, or performed pieces from popular Korean TV dramas like “Secret Garden” in perfect Korean. One of the applicants even made the long trip from Milan, Italy, to London for the contest.
A group of U.K. teenagers and youth in 20s formed a group named “K-pop Team” to introduce Korean music to London by renting a club back in 2006.
The Korean culture boom isn’t just in Europe, though, and Egypt has proved a hotbed of K-pop excitement.
|Students of the Korean language program at Ain Shams University, Cairo, at a Korean speech contest in December 2010. (Yonhap News)|
Recently, more Egyptians, especially young people, have shown a strong interest in learning about the Korean language and culture. According to a Seoul Shinmun report on June 3, the Korean Language Department of Ain Shams University, Cairo, is at the center of the latest Korean culture and language boom in Egypt.
Established in September 2005, the department played a key role in teaching the Korean language and introducing Korean culture to the country. Along with Ain Shams University, a Korean language institute under the Embassy of Korea to Egypt has also been actively running Korean language classes since 1999. In 2010, nearly 900 people applied to study through the language program, which was initially designed for 150 students.
Thanks to the quick spread of Korean pop culture in the country, promising students have shown interest in the language and more people have become interested in learning about Korean culture in general. Dramas are particularly popular, with many Egyptian youth downloading their favorite shows off the internet.
For Egyptian students, popular Korean TV drams like “Winter Sonata” and “Jewel in the Palace” and films like “A Moment to Remember” are not only good language study materials, but also good tools to learn about a new culture.