Hallyu, also known to many as the Korean wave, has spread all over the world like a bush fire. From dramas, music, fashion, food and even cosmetics, the popularity of Korea has definitely increased exponentially in such a short period of time.
This sudden popularity has been really good for Korea in so many ways. This unexpected fame brought about by the Korea wave has definitely helped the image of South Korea abroad. Before the start of the Korean wave, most people from Western Countries didn't really know a lot about South Korea, other than what they learned from history books.
The Korean War was probably the first thing that came to mind when people were asked what they knew about South Korea but because of the Korean wave, a lot of people have become more and more interested in South Korea to the point where people from other countries are learning the Korean language. This is just one of the many positive effects of the Korean wave.
The Korean wave started with the popularity of Korean dramas. Korean dramas had a certain novelty and cuteness to them that appealed to a lot of foreigners. The story lines and dialogue are so unique and interesting that they were able to cross cultural boundaries. It didn't hurt too, that the main actors and actresses cast in the dramas were very good looking.
This obviously helped a lot and also made the dramas more attractive to the younger generation. What's more interesting is that Korean dramas, such as "Winter Sonata," are popular with a lot of age groups. From teenagers to middle-aged adults, they are all bedazzled.
There is just a certain charm to Korean dramas that attract people from all backgrounds, age and gender. Korean dramas have helped the country's tourism in a very big way. South Korea has a lot of tourists every year because a lot of them are fascinated by the dramas they've seen and want to go see the places they have seen in the dramas.
One example is Nami Island. Nami Island's popularity is overwhelming. On any given day, whether it be winter, spring, summer or fall, you can expect to see a lot of foreigners there, trying to re-enact the famous pose from the "Winter Sonata" drama. People also go to other places that were used as famous backdrops in different dramas.
K-pop has also greatly increased the popularity of South Korea. There are many boy and girl bands that have a solid fan base abroad. These bands are like ambassadors for South Korea to the rest of the world. Fans all over the world try to imitate the way they dress, the way they do their hair and the way they look.
This is a gateway to a lot of other things that allow South Korea to be famous abroad. Through K-Pop, a lot of foreigners have become interested in the Korean language. "Anyeonghaseyo" is a phrase that is common nowadays, and there are other words such as "Oppa", "Yeppeo" and "Gwiyeopda" that a lot of other young people abroad are familiar with. K-pop is one of the strongest reasons why South Korea is so popular these days.
Kimchi, bulgogi, Korean ginseng and Korean barbeque are just some of the foods foreigners crave. The popularity of Korean food abroad has never been this high. There is a strong demand for kimchi abroad.
In summary, the Korean wave has been a great thing for South Korea. Because of this phenomenon, Korean products such as cars and electronics have gotten better consumer reviews and the demand has definitely increased over the years.
The Korean wave has definitely helped the economy by bringing in tourists and, to prove this point, I have friends from a small town in Canada who recently came here. They don't really have access to Korean food in their town, but they knew a lot of things about Korea before coming here. They loved kimchi, "Sokcho Sundae" and other Korean foods while they were here.
They went around different places in Korea and had already heard of those places before their arrival. I was so impressed with their knowledge of Korea. This shows the power of hallyu and there are no signs of the Korean wave slowing. If anything, it seems to just get bigger and better.
The writer is a Filipino living in Chuncheon City, Gangwan Province. He graduated from Kangwon National University with a major in international trade. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.