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Korean wave

Let's go to the Movies: Korean Films with English Subtitles

Thanks to Psy and the constant replay of Gangnam Style (which was recently just declared the second most watched video on YouTube EVER), the world now knows that there's much more to Korea than kimchi and electronics companies.  Finally, westerners are seeing this other, hipper side of the country that Korea's neighbors discovered long ago.  Korean pop culture, particularly its music (K-pop), TV shows, and and cinema have become increasingly popular around Asia and in Europe over the past decade or so.  This trend, also known as the Hallyu Wave has become a big export of Korea and is one of the primary reasons tourists flock to Seoul, the Hollywood of Asia, on a regular basis.

Although music may seem to be the bigger component of The Wave, Korean cinema has become increasingly recognized and celebrated around the world.  Just recently, the Korean film Pieta took home the win at the Venice Film Festival.  The Thieves was just proclaimed to be the most popular closing night film ever at the International Hawaii Film Festival.  Even Hollywood is getting in on the Korean film action.  Oldboy, a  controversial revenge film, is currently being remade by Spike Lee and is expected to come out in October of next year.

Although I have always been a fan of foreign films, I didn't get into Korean films until I moved here.  I've seen my fair share of them via MySoju, a web database of Korean movies and TV shows that can be streamed with English subtitles.  I have, for the most part, been impressed with the ones that I've seen.  Romances tend to be a bit cheesy (with inevitable endings of cancer or amnesia) but dramas and horror flicks are done quite well.  I've also learned a lot about Korean culture in addition to some useful phrases through these movies.  Still, watching the films on a 10 inch netbook with the occasional error or freeze leaves something to be desired.  Fortunately, I, along with other foreigners in Korea, no longer have to rely on the internet to get our Korean film fix.
 


K-Pop: A Secret Weapon of Korea for Future Cultural Domination?

Jeremy Lin

A few days ago the internet was chattering with the most remarkable news: a stereotype was misbehaving! An Asian was cleaning up on multiple basketball courts, surrounded on all sides and at all times by gigantic, powerful black people—their muscles like pistons, their hearts threatening to burst, as they thundered back and forth along the court, as though each was John Henry reborn! What the hell was going on here? Had the gods of the races lost their minds? Would a man in a mustache and a sombrero put down his acoustic guitar, step away from his mariachi band, and form a Silicon Valley startup? Would a woman in a black beekeeper’s burka go on national television and ask how short skirts and bare cleavage equal female liberation, exactly? Would The Autobiography of Malcolm X slip out of Donald Trump’s business suit by accident? Would a man with dreadlocks finally formulate a proper theory of quantum gravity?


NY Daily News Covers Hallyu and Growing K-Pop ‘Invasion’


KTO Tourism Videos: Please Watch and Take a Quick Survey

Recently, I have been asked to put together a short piece on the effectiveness of Korea tourism promotional efforts. It would help me out greatly if all readers would watch the four short videos below and share their impression on a brief survey HERE.

I have no affiliation with the KTO and data from this survey will be used solely to help me put together an article for a business and economic discussion on Korea Business Central. Thanks for your time and participation.

 

Video 1: “Come! See! Play!”

 

Video 2: “Charm Lee – Head of KTO”


The Korean Wave

If you are flipping through the Korea Guide book which is easily available at any of the Tourist Information center across Korea, you will come across the Korean TV Drama – Winter Sonata – used very often across many a pages. There would be mentions about Winter Sonta in the Hanryu or the Korean Wave section and then there would be mentions about its various filming locations in Korea in the recommended places to visit section.

So what makes this 2002 Korean TV Drama – The Winter Sonata (Gyoeul Yonga) so popular. Or rather the actor Bae Yong Joo so popular in Japan that


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