“Korean Wave” vs. sources of Korean culture
I will now introduce the history of Korean culture and how it influenced the “Korean Wave” or Hallyu. Hallyu is the term the Chinese use for the “Korean Wave”—the phenomenon of Korean entertainment and popular culture that is spreading over the world. According to the K-Pop story, Korean culture is rooted in the culture of the Huns. It was said that the Huns lived near Lake Baikal in Siberia, close to Mongolia, so sources of Korean culture can be traced back to Mongolia. Today, a lot of Mongolian people come to Korea. Mongolians, rather than other Asian workers, do most of the service jobs in Korea. It’s difficult to tell if someone is Mongolian when they are among Koreans; and a funny thing is that even Koreans can’t easily distinguish between Koreans and Mongolians. Many Koreans can recognize Japanese more easily than they can Mongolians. This shows us Koreans came from the Huns, and it helps us understand Korean culture. It’s cold in Mongolia. The ancestors of Koreans came from these cold regions, so nowadays Koreans still live with their mouths saying “Hurry! Hurry!” every second.
Listen to “Wrongful Encounter”:
Koreans like to sing with concert singers. They want to be one with the concert singer. This singer, Kim Gun Mo, became one of the most popular singers in Korea since he released “Wrongful Encounter” in 1995. The lyrics of this song tell how a boy introduced his girlfriend to his friend without thinking anything about it, but then his girlfriend left him for his friend. It is a sad song. But this song is loved in Korea even 20 years later. The main character of the song seems to be a kind of nerd. He does not understand girls.
Now you’ll hear “Long Time Ago the Man”:
What is the K-Pop story?
In order for you to enjoy K-Pop, you need to know the K-Pop story, which tells about Korean culture. What are the currents that run through Korean culture? According to the K-Pop story, most Koreans don’t know what these currents are either. According to the K-Pop story, Korean culture is “what Koreans say, how Koreans act, how Koreans think.” The K-Pop story describes Korean culture, where they came from, who they are, what they do. Koreans have one of the highest literacy rates in the world, and one of the highest levels of education. But one fault Koreans have is they fight between themselves. And it is very hard to understand why they fight all day long, even every second.
Now listen to this: “To J”:
Most Koreans can’t explain much about K-Pop if they are asked about it. They usually say K-Pop is the music of Korean singers, like in other countries. If you listen to these people, you might think that K-Pop is nothing special and feel a little disappointed as a fan of K-Pop.
Many young people were enthusiastic about Psy’s “Gangnam Style” when it came out because it mocked the Korean tradition of bragging. Now let’s listen to “Gangnam Style”.
But after Psy released “Hangover” in June 2014, many of his fans turned their backs on him, and many people were not interested in his music in America. What happened? People want to buy what they are used to. K-Pop is same thing. People like the style they expect from K-Pop, a style that includes Korean culture or Korean style. They don’t like K-Pop that imitates Hip-Hop.