Posts tagged ‘South Korea’

Haru : An Unforgettable Day in Korea – Korea Tourism Organization campaign 2010

Earlier this fall, the KTO launched an “interactive” campaign to promote tourism in Korea, titled “Haru” (which means “one day” in Korean).

I had already noticed that campaigns promoting tourism in Korea (and in Seoul) usually featured popular Hallyu stars (비, 동방신기, 이병현, …), but I hadn’t seen this specific “interactive” kind of campaign before. It guess this creativity is due to the fact that Korea is eager to become a major tourism destination, competing with its powerful and attracting neighbours (Japan, and China).

Haru poster

KTO interactive campaign poster.

“Interactive” campaign, you said ?

So, how interactive is this campaign ?

The campaign consists in an approximately 24 minutes-long (basically one minute of movie equals one hour in the story, to make it 24 hours) “mini-drama” featuring some of the current top Hallyu names (singers and actors).

The story follows different characters, both in Seoul and in the Korean countryside. There’s the scenarist (played by LEE Da-Hae) with her actor boyfriend (played by U-know), who meets a young photographer (played by KIM Bum) on the train in the Korean countryside ; there’s also the two characters she is writing about – a great chef, and a fashion designer (played by PARK Si-Hoo and HAN Chae-young ) ; and there’s the idol group (BIGBANG, playing themselved) going to a entertain school children in the countryside after their school has closed.

While you watch the drama, there are times when you can click on the video, to make travel tips appear. These tips are about activities you can do while in Korea, Korean food, Korean cosmetics, music festivals, places to visit, fashion, cool places to hang out, shopping, things to do and see in the countryside…

When you click, a tag is saved, and the goal is for you to find the 24 tags in the movie. You can also create your own travel book once you have found at least 5 tags. Plus, you can create a “making-of” film featuring yourself among the 10 Korean stars featured in the campaign. And you can also download high quality wallpapers of the campaign, screensavers, …

The ultimate bonus is that you can enter a contest to win a trip to Korea, items from the stars and featured in the drama. AND, if you participate in the survey, you can win a SAMSUNG digital camera.

They didn’t lie when they said “interactive”.

HAN Chae-Young in Haru

HAN Chae-Young in Haru

A campaign aimed at a specific audience

I can’t help to think that this campaign is not really targetting people who have no special interest in Korea in order to make them interested, but is designed to attract people who have already been exposed to Korean entertainment and who would be more likely to be interested than people who have little knowledge about modern-day Korea.

Why do I think so ?

Well, first of all, the campaign is available in Chinese, Japanese and English languages only. And guess what ? Japanese and Chinese people represent a great part of tourists coming to Korea (as far as I know). And English-speaking people make the most part of Western people in Korea. While South-East Asian people are also potential tourists (thanks to the Hallyu), I guess they bring less money to Korea than, say, Japanese tourists. I remember seeing places in Seoul that were clearly targeted at Japanese tourists : shopkeepers could speak Japanese, there were things written in Japanese, ads featuring actors from Korean dramas that are very popular in Japan, …

Secondly, the campaign features Korean stars who can only be recognized by people who have at least some interest in Korean entertainment. For example, U-Know was a member of the extremely popular idol group DongBangShinKi – an idol group that was very popular in Japan. KIM Bum acted in a very popular drama in early 2009 – a drama that had a huge success all throughout Asia, and  even became one of the first dramas broadcasted on the first Internet platform offering legal viewing of Korean dramas in the USA. And I already talked about BIGBANG on this blog – currently one of the most popular, trend-setting idol group in Korea and Japan (and famous all over Asia and beyond).

Finally, thinks like Korean cosmetics or its fashion are not really widely known all around the world (at least as far as I know, please correct me if I’m wrong), but probably already have some success in Asia (I remember reading articles about “health tourism” in Korea – another interesting subject).

PARK Si-Hoo in Haru

PARK Si-Hoo in Haru

Interesting points about the campaign

Surprisingly, the campaign promotes both “urban” Korea, and the Korean countryside. Most young people interested in Korea probably mostly see it as an urban and modern country, and this campaign can make them aware of the hidden beauties of the whole country, not just its big cities. On the other hand, some Western people would probably see Korea through its cultural heritage, History, traditions, and the campaign can make them realize that Korea is also a modern and dynamic country.

The “drama” idea is really interesting, considering that dramas are a huge part of the Hallyu success. Again, people who are not familiar with Korean entertainment would probably not see this as a familiar point… but it sure rings a bell for any fan of K-entertainment !

Also, targetting this campaign at people who already have been in touch with something about Korea instead of people who haven’t is an interesting strategy. The KTO is not trying to “convert” new people to Korea, but is rather trying to work on its “fanbase”, by making them maybe more “addicted”, if you get what I mean…

And the interactivity of this campaign sure makes it stand out ! I don’t know much about other countries’ campaigns to promote tourism though … Got any campaign to share ?

I wonder if this campaign will make more people come and visit Korea …

Does it make you want to go there ?





All pictures used in this article are owned by the Korea Tourism Organization. They are taken from the campaign website.


October 30, 2010 at 3:56 pm 1 comment

Follow up : Taeyang’s SOLAR album launching campaign example, part 2

This is a quick follow-up of the previous article.

It seems the anticipation marketing campaign surrounding Taeyang’s SOLAR album release worked quite well :

– all the 30 000 deluxe edition copies have been sold

– the normal edition has been released

– the album has rather good rankings on online charts

– Taeyang has already ranked #1 on several music shows these past weeks (check his first win, I think, here).

Taeyang winning 1st spot...

– the new MV has been released : here (check here for the previous version). It was apparently met with more success than the 1st version…

– Taeyang is in full promotion mode : singing live often, and always getting cheering.

Picture from the new MV

So it seems quite safe to say this campaign was a success, mostly because  Taeyang delivered (it’s not the case for all the artists promoted this way in Korea – some don’t deliver, and since the anticipation is usually made to be really high, the downfall is even harder…). It is not a blasting success, with his single being played all the time everywhere for example, shooting Taeyang at a superstar status. Rather, it is a moderate success, and it’s what I tend to think the plan was.

Still, Taeyang remains quite special among Korean popular artists because he doesn’t try to follow the trend. Being successful while not following the trend is quite an achievement in a country like this ! This is the true success of this campaign.

Good job !


2010/07/20 update :

I forgot to mention the fact that Taeyang’s album was very well received outside of Korea, as soon as it was released through iTunes stores, especially in Canada and the USA (for more details about that, check a recent interview here, and its translation in English here). It was met with success in South-Korea only after a while, whereas it was an instant success on these iTunes stores… Taeyang’s music seems to have an international appeal that several other Korean artists can only dream of. This makes him “someone to watch” I guess ! We’ll see how far this will lead him to.

But using an online marketing strategy to promote his new album sure was a clever move considering all this : there’s no better way to reach people all around the world ! And it’s been a great success so far (and keeps getting more attention and success).


Another artist of the same company will soon release his come-back album. Se7en (the artist in question) is about to come back on the Korean music scene after a failed break-out in the US back in 2007 (after starting his career in Korea in 2003). He hasn’t released any new music since that time, which is the equivalent of being like dead for an entertainer in South-Korea !

The strategy built around his comeback is the same as for Taeyang’s album. The difference lies in the fact that Se7en has more experience and more albums released than Taeyang, so the expectations are probably not the same. And Se7en’s new music doesn’t seem to be the same kind as Taeyang’s…

The campaign : Se7en has a special teaser put on the entertainment company main page, as well as a special website for him. The titles of his album tracks have also been revealed not all at the same time. But there doesn’t seem to be a deluxe edition, and there is only one preview of just one song (not a minute-long preview of 7 songs).

I’m not going to focus on this campaign (except if something interesting about it comes up), but I just wanted to point out the similarity of the two campaigns, probably because both are artists of the same company.

Se7en teaser

July 16, 2010 at 10:50 pm Leave a comment

“Anticipation” marketing in South-Korea – Taeyang’s SOLAR album launching campaign example

It seems that South-Korean advertisers are the kings of “anticipation” (or “teasing” ?) marketing.

After Hyundai’s “Shouting Korea” World Cup campaign (see here and here), that was launched gradually through teaser pictures and videos this past spring, summer kicks off strong with the following music campaign, promoting the first solo album (titled SOLAR) of singer Taeyang (from the group BigBang, featured in the Shouting Korea campaign).


Let’s start by pointing out that Taeyang is a member of a very famous band. He had already released a solo “mini-album” (titled “HOT”) back in 2008. The mini-album was met with a huge success, as well as the two following digital singles released in 2009. The other members of the group also did some solo activities (more or less, depending on each member), and all of them were successful, benefiting from the group popularity and each member’s own style. So, we are talking here about how the first “full” album (11 songs, 13 for the deluxe edition) of an already famous singer (but mostly famous for his group activities, from the eyes of the general audience) was promoted. The launching campaign can’t be the same as the ones made to promote new groups to the audience (although there are similarities).

Since the singer is already known by a part of the audience, his public image is important. And, in Taeyang’s case, his public image is one of a nice, hard-working and sensible hot young man.

So, what was done to promote his new album ?

The promoting campaign

Well, Korean entertainment companies love to create anticipation, so this campaign was all about continuously building anticipation until the release of the album. And it was (and still is) mostly an online campaign.

– In early June, rumors started to spread about a potential upcoming release of a new album by Taeyang. The news was later confirmed by his company.

– Then, the company launched a special website, on which they revealed the title of a song each day, up until the whole album songlist got complete.

At the beginning...

– And they didn’t stop here ! Then, the same way, the company put a minute-long audio extract of a song each day for the last week, up until the release of the album (on July 1st). Fans loved that ! This was a good way to have a first taste of the music.

The complete tracklist...

– All the while, anticipation was built around the title track through the release of pictures (including through Twitter) taken on the set of the shooting of the music video, featuring his best friend and fellow group leader G-dragon, as well as the popular singer and actress from the same company Sandara Park (therefore grabbing the interest from both boys and girls).

– On D-Day, Taeyang performed three of his songs on a special stage.

He is now starting the “promotion” phase of the launching of his solo album : live performances, interviews, probably talk shows, etc… (he talks a little about all these here)

Not just an album…

But there is also another aspect about this campaign : what was released on July 1st was the digital version of the album (available on pretty much every Korean online music platform), as well as the limited (30 000 copies) “deluxe” edition – the normal edition will only be released on July 12th !

Again, here, it was all about anticipation ! The entertainment company even put a special pop-up online a day before the release to tell at about what time the album was going to be available in stores (starting at 0:00 AM for the online downloading, 9:30-10:00 AM for the deluxe edition, both online and offline), and when the music video would be released (in the evening, during the first performance) so that eager fans could plan on when to storm in the stores !

When and where to get the deluxe edition...

The result ? The deluxe edition went out of stock almost as soon as it was released ! Anticipation was so high that it seemed really difficult to get one’s hand on the precious package ! And the songs have also met a huge success on legal downloading platforms.

Let’s talk about this deluxe edition. It is a special packaging, quite pretty apparently, and it contains bonuses : 2 more songs, a special packaging (compared to the normal edition), a special limited T-shirt, a 68 color picture book, a special autographed picture and a YG Family (the entertainment company) card with a special number to get cool presents through the website (including a free coupon to have the title song as the backgroung music of your cyworld page) and opportunities to take part in events this summer.

Content of the deluxe edition, as presented by the company on the website...

From having seen several special packages of Korean CDs, I can tell you they can make really pretty and shiny packagings ! It sure tempts you ! No wonder fans, with all this anticipation, rushed on this deluxe edition !

We’ll see if the success will last on the long term, but right now, this marketing strategy proved to be a huge success !

Except for …

… the music video.

A Music video had also been released (after a behind-the-scenes teaser – again !), but was oddly taken off from the official channels soon afterwards... Was it because the response was not good enough (including a part of the fans who didn’t like it, some even asking for it to be remade !) ? When will it be aired again ? Will it be changed ? We’ll see… Anyway, it was neither a dancing video nor a “music drama” video.

But there is also some kind of controversy about the choice of the title track : since it is quite different from what is usually released these days in mainstream Korean music charts (mainly dance groups or solo ballads), it seems to be disturbing for a part of the Korean audience. Some fans write that others songs would have been better suited as the title song… which is something the entertainment company had anticipated since it had stated in its press releases that the choice of the title track was unusual but that it was the artist’s choice and that people would like it after listenning to it…

This makes following this campaign quite interesting : on one part it is really successful, but there are a few points (basically, things that are “unusual”) that could lessen the success of the overall campaign.

Creativity vs downloading

I guess this whole “teasing marketing” widely used in South-Korea is at least partially due to the fact that music files can always be found for illegal downloading online as soon as the album is released (and even before sometimes : cases of songs that had been leaked to the public before the official release already happened !). This happens for different reasons, one being because the Hallyu reached people from all around the world, who can’t all buy in Korea and who are glad to find songs from their favorites artists any way they can. Although this company has started to make its artists’ new songs available through worldwide iTunes stores (starting this spring with a digital single from one of Taeyang’s bandmate) – in order to prevent too much illegal downloading, or because they noticed the international audience and needs ? – most companies don’t do so.

South-Korea, a country with high-speed Internet connection, is a country where downloading seems “normal” for young people. Thats’ probably why music albums are usually sold in beautiful packages, and in several editions (normal, deluxe, revised, …). Creativity is used to offer something more than music, so that people will by CDs. Nowadays, the CD isn’t enough. Performances are also a great way to please the fans and make money.

Such a campaign aims at reducing the negative effects of illegal downloading, by creating the desire for the fans to buy the album (either deluxe or not) through great packaging and special content (the normal edition offers a smaller photobook and a family card too). But it also tries to reach to non-fans through performances, support from other famous artists, …

This kind of strategies work real fine in South-Korea (and it also seems to work well in Japan). It shows once more that Internet is a great tool to promote an artist. Who still thinks Internet is bad for music (after other successful examples of different kinds, like artists discovered through MySpace, or the success of the French My Major Company) ?

July 3, 2010 at 9:54 pm 1 comment

Korea and the world – culture and entertainment – the Hallyu – part 2 : development

This article is the second of the “Korea and the world – culture and entertainment – the Hallyu” series. The first part (about what the Hallyu is) can be found here.

This article is based on what I experienced, noticed and learned about the Hallyu, so it is only partial and somehow biased. Since it is still quite a new phenomenom (about 10 years-old), I haven’t found much thorough studies about it (but I warmly welcome any such work you might send me !). That’s why you are all welcome to contribute to this article through the comment section, in order to make it more complete..

In this article, I try to show how the Hallyu reached countries around the world on different levels.

In France (Europe)

The Hallyu mainly reached France through films. Since Europe is quite far from Asia – and quite different too,  and since the Korean community here is not as huge as it is in the USA, the Hallyu hasn’t really hit Europe strongly yet.

In France, a country in which cinema is important (it is an art), the Korean wave is a Cinema wave. It reached a peak in 2004-2005, with the success of PARK Chan-Wook’s “Old Boy” at the Cannes Film Festival. Still, Korean films are mostly enjoyed by movie-lovers and not the average Joe. It doesn’t help that Korean movies are mostly screened in big cities (sometimes only in Paris), and not always for a long time. The total of Korean films screened in French movie theaters, including co-productions, are : 6 in 2002, 9 in 2003, 10 in 2004, 11 in 2005, 6 in 2006, 7 in 2007, and 11 in 2008 (according to L’annuel du Cinéma 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009). So it seems that there was a second peak in 2008, but I’m not sure it stayed the same in 2009 (I feel like there were very few Korean films last year).

Number of Korean movies screened in France since 2002

It seems, from what I see, that these past years, Korean cinema mostly appeals to its fans and movie-fans, whereas it once succeeded in reaching a wider audience, in the first half of the 2000’s, with KIM Ki-duk’s movies, IM Kwon-Taek movies, and others, including PARK Chan-wook’s.

It seems that Korean cinema benefited from the interest of French people in Japanese films and culture. This Japanese trend is still on, and started in the 80’s (mainly thanks to the manga and anime Akira). The same people, attracted by Japan, were also usually attracted by Hong-Kong films too. And that’s probably how some Korean films started to gain interest from French moviegoers.

But the music part of the Hallyu doesn’t seem to have reached France (and Europe) that much yet (even though there seems to be more and more awareness about Korean music in several European countries). Most of the youngsters who know about it seem to be of Asian descent. But, thanks to Internet, it seems that there are more “non-ethnic-Asian” people starting to have interest into Korean pop music these past years. It still stays a minor movement, as it isn’t known at all at the national level, but it is there (Japanese music is more widely known, but is still not big enough to have Japanese songs played on national radio networks, so Korean music ….).

And Korean dramas (TV series) are only known by kpop fans, through Internet (at least in France).

If you are from any European country beside France and know about the Hallyu, please tell us about how the Hallyu reached your country.

In North-America (USA, Canada)

Contrary to France, it seems that the Hallyu reached North-America mostly through music (Kpop), and dramas. These past years especially, there’s been more and more signs of a possible big Korean wave hit in North-America : Korean singers trying to succeed in the USA (starting to have some success now in 2010, with concerts of the Wonder Girls and 2PM this spring, Rain winning an MTV award last week, …), Korean top actors and stars playing in US blockbusters with mid-success (LEE Byung-hyun, Rain), the launching of a website officially broadcasting Korean dramas subtitled in English since somewhere around 2008 (only for people in the US), …

Things are probably turning out like this because Korean artists have been trying to conquer the Western market through the USA (and not Europe), and also because of the Asian community in North-America.

If you are from North-America, please let me know more about how the Hallyu reached your country.

In Japan

The Hallyu hit the Japanese shores strongly right at the beginning of the phenomenom, mostly through dramas and music, and is still going quite strong.

Japan is actually (I think) the first country Korean artists seem to try to conquer when they want to expand overseas. Many of Korean top singers are also very famous in Japan, with even some, like BoA, almost considered as Japanese artists (since she’s been working in Japan for a long time, and released many songs in Japanese). I actually saw albums from BoA labelled as “J-pop” in some Japanese music stores … Some of these artists took Japanese names for their promotion in Japan (the most famous one being DongBanShinKi/Tohoshinki). Some new groups even started in Japan before Korea (CN Blue for example) !

It is interesting to notice that Korean artists adapt themselves to the country they try to conquer, by taking a local name for example, but mostly by promoting exclusive songs in Japanese (and not their Korean songs translated in Japanese, even though they also do that), making different music video adapted to the codes of the country, taking part in local shows, changing their fashion style, etc… And it works when they do that !

Still from the drama "IRIS"

About dramas, they are quite popular, and some are even intended to a Japanese audience too (not only Korean) from the very beginning. An example would be IRIS, broadcasted in Korea in late 2009 (while I was there), and that has just been broadcasted this spring in Japan (with new exclusive music, …). The trailer had been released with English subtitles from the very beginning (check it out here). It seems that the drama met quite a success in Japan too. But other dramas are popular in Japan, some being truly Korean, others being Korean version of famous Japanese manga (like the frenzy around Boys Over Flowers, the Korean version of Hana Yori Dango, a beloved manga, in early 2009) or Asian stories.

In China

It seems that Korean dramas and some big Korean singers and groups are very popular in China. A huge concert took place in China this past May, with several famous Korean singers, and it was sold-out very fast.

I don’t know much more about the Hallyu in China though, but it must be visible since the term “Hallyu” comes from Chinese journalists and since China was one of the first countries to be reached by the Korean wave in the late 90s, along with Japan.

If you are from China and would like to share with us about the Hallyu in your country, feel free to do so in the comment section.

In South-East Asia

It seems that pretty much every aspect of the Korean wave has reached south-east asian countries : music, dramas, and movies. I met youngsters fans of Korean singers in Vietnam and Thailand, and I know that youngsters in Malaysia and the Philipines are also huge fans of Hallyu stars and dramas. I also noticed ads using Korean popstars in SEA countries.

If you are from South-East Asia and would like to share with us about how the Hallyu reached your country, feel free to do so in the comment section.

Other countries

It seems (from the Hallyu international fan communities, the fan-subtitles for dramas, the subtitles for official programs of the Korean TV channel promoting Korea, …) that there are also people reached by the Hallyu in Middle-East countries, Europe (Spain, Russia, ..), Brazil, some other South-Amercian countries, and even Africa !! Now, it may still only be a really minor movement in each country, but it is still quite impressive !

If you are from one of these countries and know about the Hallyu, please share with us how it spread in your country through the comment section.

How did the Hallyu spread ?

Nothing really surprising in how the Hallyu spread around the world : it started in Asia, with its closest neighbours (Japan and China), then spread to South-East Asia, North America and Europe on different levels, and finally reached the rest of the world. Feel free to correct me if I’m mistaken here.

The spread of the Hallyu in the world.

Knowing this, many Korean artists are learning Japanese, Chinese and/or English (when in a band, sometimes each member would specialize in one language). I guess Korean is not a global language…

Korean pop-culture got to be known first through Asian TV channels, International Film Festivals and Asian radio channels. But the Hallyu also started when the Internet started to become more widely used, so it also took advantage from that. Actually, nowadays, it’s mostly through Internet that the Hallyu reaches many countries (videos, communities, music, …). And it seems that the Korean entertainment industry knows quite well how to use Internet (no wonder since South-Korea is one of the top high-tech nations) and uses that knowledge to further spread the Hallyu worldwide.

Fasten your seatbelts everyone ~ a big Korean wave might hit you one of these days !

한류 화이팅 !!

The next article of this series will be about some key players of the Hallyu, and the one after should be about strategies using the Hallyu effect.

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June 11, 2010 at 3:46 pm 3 comments

Korea and the world – culture and entertainment – the Hallyu – part 1

I will try to post a series of articles about the 한류 (Hallyu), first defining what it is for people who are new to this phenomenom, and then trying to analyse some of its components, what kind of conclusions we can draw from it, etc.

1- What is the Hallyu ?

Where does the term come from and what does it define ?

If you are not familiar with Korean entertainment and culture, you may not have heard of the term “Hallyu” until now. Let’s start by saying that it’s pretty sure it’s because of this phenomenom that I became interested in Korea in the first place – and everything that followed (I am very fond of this country, its people, its food, its culture, everything … well, almost (too much confucianism can be quite heavy to bear)) !! Without that, I doubt I would have travelled to Korea. And I wouldn’t have been able to see the results of this phenomenom with my own eyes in several asian countries.

So, now, have I triggered your curiosity ?

Well, if we just look at the word :

– ‘한’ (“han”) is the character meaning ‘Korea’ (as in ‘한국’ -> Korean country, ‘한국어’ or ‘한국말’ -> the Korean language, …) – it is also the character said to define the very unique Korean feeling (the “Han”), the supposedly very essence of what Korea and being Korean is, but it’s not the topic here,

– and ‘류’ (“ryu”) appears to be a Sino-Korean term (a big part of the Korean language is derived from Chinese characters) that means  ‘current’ (like current in the water, or the current of time), meaning a ‘flow of something’ (in this case, a ‘flow of Korea’), but it is more commonly translated as ‘wave’ in this case.

Therefore, if you put the two characters together, you get “Korean wave” – that is the commonly used translation of this word. And it’s actually quite a suitable term for what it defines : a Korean wave that reached the shores of pretty much every Asian country, and even made its way to the West (USA, Europe) – just not as strongly as in Asia, and even reached Middle-Eastern countries !

It’s not surprising that the word used to describe this case comes from the Chinese language (mandarin, to be precise) … since it is said that it was the Chinese journalists themselves who first used it (created it) to describe what they observed, back in the late 90s ! The Korean people then started using this word too, and so now it remains the only word used to describe this phenomenom.

So, let’s dig deeper now, and see what this whole “Korean wave” is all about.

Here’s a short definition of it that I found on the Korean Internet : 1990년대 말부터 동남아시아에서 일기 시작한 한국 대중문화의 열풍 (1). According to it, the Korean wave is the sudden popularity of Korean mass culture observed all around Asia since the late 90s. Basically, in 1996, Korean dramas (TV series) were being exported to China (I don’t know if it was the first time or if it had occured in the past), and there, they were met with a huge success, and within two years a ‘Korea frenzy’ had started, as Korean singers had also started to be appreciated outside their own country.

Winter Sonata : the drama that triggered the Hallyu in Japan. (2)

Photo credit :


But it’s not all about China : Japan had its share in the process. Korean tearjerking drama “Winter Sonata” (겨울 연가, 2002 – I haven’t seen it but heard so much about it !) won the hearts of countless Japanese women, starting the Korean frenzy in Japan. To give you some idea about how big its success was, I saw with my own eyes tons of Japanese magasines with Bae Yong-joon, the lead actor of “Winter Sonata”, on their covers in Japan, in 2009 – several years after the drama first aired ! I also noticed places in Seoul clearly targeted at Japanese tourists since they also use his image to sell. Here’s a picture I took in Seoul this fall :

Proofs that the Hallyu is still on... (photo by Nathalie Veldhuizen, do not copy without permission)

The man on the poster in the middle is no one else than Bae Yong-joon, and he is surrounded by products with images of other famous Hallyu stars.

So, to sum it all up : ‘Hallyu’ is the expression created by Chinese journalists in late 90s-early 2000 to describe the Korean cultural success across Asia (and the world). Its most visible manifestations are all the Korean cultural products (TV series, movies, CDs, …) and stars (actors, singers, multi-entertainers) that are famous all around Asia (from Japan to Malaysia, through China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Philipines, …). In the West, it’s mostly through Korean movies (in Europe), or Korean idol bands that the Asian-American young people like, that we can see the Hallyu. But the Hallyu has also reached the shores of South-American countries, Russia, Central Asian countries, and even the African continent … The Korean Wave sure is a big wave !

I will explain more about things like the developpement of the Korean wave, its key players, the strategies adopted by Korea to use this phenomenom to promote their country, and other aspects of this huge and interesting topic in upcoming articles (hence the “part 1” on this article’s title).

Sources :


(2) Photo credit :


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March 26, 2010 at 11:55 am 4 comments

Some facts about Korean military service

Article originally posted at in 2007 (since the website doesn’t exist anymore, and as the article was quite popular, I post it again here).

So, I went on a little research abour this topic, and here’s what I found out (please correct me if I’m wrong).

– officially, South-Korea is still at war with North-Korea since no Peace Treaty was ever signed. Men are therefore trained for war, in extreme conditions.

– the mandatory military service was created in 1949, like the army, in order to protect Korea’s independance.

– every Korean male citizen must go to the army for a bit more than two years. They can be in the active service or civil service and administration jobs, depending on their health condition.

– the age limit is from 18 to 30 or so…

– they can be dismissed from it only if they are unable physically to do the training. They can also be released if they get a very bad injury during service, and come back after their recovery … or not if the doctors say so.

– the first months are active training in camp and it’s the same for everyone. Then, they can be sent to the DMZ or in dangerous areas, or to work in cities, public services, etc…

– according to my Korean friends and to what I found in books, it’s very difficult physically and psychologically. Korean men tend to have nightmares about military service even after they’re done with it !

– it’s strictly forbidden to avoid going to the army. If you say you don’t want to go to the army because of your conscience, religion, or such things, you’re very likely to have problems, to be sent to jail for some time, and to have troubles finding a good job later on. There is a big government and social pressure about this : if you don’t go to the army (except if it’s because of health problems), you are considered as a coward, even a criminel, a rebel to the State, or things like this. It’s a matter of pride for your family and such. But things may change slowly …

– some Korean men can avoid the military service if they have the US citizenship, which is becoming a trend these days : mothers go to the USA to give birth, the baby gets the US citizenship this way and will have the opportunity to have a different education later on and avoid the Korean military

Creative Commons License
Some facts about the Korean military service by Nathalie VELDHUIZEN is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at

January 31, 2009 at 12:21 am 1 comment


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