The true hero of Hallyu, ‘Korean People’

Hallyu(한류) is called Korean wave or Korean fever in English. It is a phenomenon of Korean culture developing throughout Asia and also being favored by people around the world. It started in mid 1990s with the growing popularity of Korean drama in China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. The word Hallyu began to be used at this time.

Hallyu rose after one of the biggest Hallyu area, Japan’s NHK, broadcasted ‘Winter Sonata’(겨울연가) in 2004. This drama created nicknames ‘Sama’(樣) and ‘Hime’(姬) e ntrusted to main characters in dramas. ‘Sama’ means deference.

Since then, the English soccer star, David Beckham was the only foreigner to gain nickname ‘Sama’.
Also, Korean traditional drama ‘Dae Jang Geum(대장금)’, which the broadcasted from 2003 September to 2004 August, is a major Hallyu drama. It recorded ratings over 50% in Korea. ‘Dae Jang Geum’ was aired in all over the Asia including China, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Uzbekistan, and Iran. It gained lots of spotlights from all over the world.

Hallyu, which started with dramas, enlarged with music, movies, and games. Korean singer, BoA, gained first place on the Japanese Oricon chart. Another singer, Rain, was the first Asian artist to perform at the New York Madison Square Garden. Now, interest in Korean culture due to dramas and music is helping the increase in Korean auto mobiles, cell phones, and more. Also, affection and interest toward Korean language, Korean foods and culture is expanding.

Drama Winter Sonata

Then, why do Chinese, Japanese, Thai and more people around the world get enthusiastic about Hallyu? We can surmise from the characteristics of Korean dramas. Koreans call themselves people with lots of ‘Jeong’ (정), which is Korean typical way of opening hearts. Jeong is the Korean word for innate emotion. From old times, Korean families and friends help each other if one is troubled, giving hospitality to travelers, and share everything

The first European to introduce Korea to Europe was the Dutch sailor, Hendrik Hamel. He introduces Jeong of Korea in Hamel drift story “Treats from an idolater was more humane than any treat I received from the Catholics.” Also, the Japanese actor, Kuroda Fukumi said “the Korean value that captured Japanese was Jeong, and it entered Japanese society with Jeong. So, it triggered Hallyu.”

Hallyu’s main character is not its culture or product. At the center of Hallyu, there is Korean who has true Jeong that loves another. I hope all of you can meet the hero of Hallyu, “Korean people” and feel the real Hallyu.

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