Центр розвитку та популяризації Корейської Культури в Україні
The Korean wave reaches European shores
The Korean wave reaches European shores

The Korean wave reaches European shores

Tickets for SM Entertainment’s “Town Live Paris Concert” on June 10 sold out after just 15 minutes. A second concert, which was added after French fans held a flash mob outside the Louvre to demand more tickets, sold out a mere ten minutes after going on sale.

Hong Suk-kyung, a professor at the University of Bordeaux’s School of Journalism, gave a paper entitled “Understanding the Enjoyment of East Asian Culture in Western Europe” on May 13 at a symposium hosted by the Korean Society for Journalism & Communication Studies at Bexco in Busan.

In her research, she found more than 20 websites sharing information on Korean dramas and music that were available to European fans.  She also found that subtitles for Korean dramas were usually produced in about 15 different languages, and that popular dramas were given subtitles significantly faster than other dramas.

In an interview with the Dong-a Ilbo, Hong said, “It takes a week for most Korean dramas to be translated into an average of 15 languages, but ‘Boys Over Flowers’ got subtitled in 20 languages three days after it first aired.”

Professor Hong attributed some of Hallyu’s initial growth in Europe to Japanese manga. She said, “French people who became accustomed to Asian culture through Japanese manga naturally became interested in Korean dramas.”  Introducing dramas based off of comic books or including well-known K-pop stars in the cast has been a proven formula for popularizing Korean dramas in Europe, with “Full House” and “Boys over Flowers” finding success based on fan familiarity with their comic book source material.

Hong also believes that K-pop fills a cultural vacuum in Europe by providing lots of large, multi-member boy and girl bands aimed at young listeners, saying “K-pop will become even more popular in Europe, since the local pop culture contents don’t cater enough to the tastes of young women and girls.”

Because there are no TV channels that air Korean TV shows or K-pop videos in France, the internet plays an important role in spreading Korean cultural contents. Each month, an average of 500 thousand fans visit the website “Kpop France” for French-language K-pop information and news, and “WithS2,” a website that provides subtitles for Korean dramas, has more than 200 volunteers working on translating dramas into a variety of languages. According to Hong’s paper, these fan club websites and social networking services have been crucial to the spread of the Korean wave in Europe.

She also said, “K-Pop FM, the first K-pop radio station in France, is headquartered in Marseille, the most multicultural city in France. It shows that young French people’s desire for a multicultural community is also part of what makes the Korean Wave popular in France.”

Link: www.korea.net

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