The modern history of South Korea behind the “Korean Wave”

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What’s it about?

Times article: “Hallyu! How Korean culture conquered the world”

In recent years, the Republic of Korea (as opposed to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea also known as North Korea), the country in the southern part of the Korean peninsula, has risen for its global cultural influence.

The Korean film ‘Parasite’ won four awards at the Academy Awards in 2020 as the first non-English-language film; BTS, a hugely popular Korean boy band, have collected 23 Guinness World Records titles across music and social media having the largest fan base in the world; The Korean TV show, Squid Games, has scored as Neflix’s No. 1 most-viewed TV series ever based on the platform’s official statistics.

The “Korean Wave (Hallyu)” or a “K-wave” has created a new sensation especially among young generations and produced terminologies such as K-pop, K-movies, K- drama, K-food, and K-beauty which some of them were added to the Oxford English Dictionary for their common reference to the popularity of Korean entertainment music, shows, cuisines, and beauty products.

However, South Korea was once one of the poorest countries in the world until 1960s. For example, South Korea’s GDP per capita after the Korean War (1950-1953) was only $64 which lagged behind the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ghana. Since then, less than half a century, South Korea has transformed itself into one of the leading economies which has empowered the birth of the Korean Wave.

So what’s the historical and social context of this economic development as well as the recent successful cultural economy of South Korea? Who are the most influential figures laying the foundation of modern South Korea in the 20th century? What are some distinctive characteristics of modern Korean society and people that created the transformation?

Join Nari Been in this fun and informative session as she will introduce the modern history of South Korea and some interesting cultural and social aspects behind Hallyu.

Who’s telling the story?

Nari Been was born in Seoul, South Korea and has lived in the US, Japan, France, China, and UK for her study and work.

She’s the founding leader of the EBRD Asian Network, the employee network that promotes and raises awareness of Asian culture and society in the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) based in London, UK.

She is the principal manager who is leading the EBRD’s Star Venture programme that supports tech startups in emerging markets. She is an enthusiast in education, social & economic development, entrepreneurship, innovation, arts, music, food, travels, and understanding new cultures and people.

Would you like to know more?

Click this link provided by Nari about the history of Korea