Hallyu is a term coined by the Chinese Media which literally means the “Korean Wave”. It is a collective term used to refer to the phenomenal growth of Korean popular culture incorporating everything from music, movies, drama to online games and the Korean cuisine. This craze for Korean culture is spreading at an astonishing pace, stretching from content-based products like movies, popular songs, and television dramas to such cultural hardware as food, clothing, accessories, mobile phones, and the likes. Hallyu is a cultural asset through which people in the immediate area can improve communication and understanding.
Hallyu, or Korean Wave, is the growing aspiration to know more about Korean culture. The road to Hallyu is trodden everyday by new visitors who are warmly welcomed by Korean people and fascinated by the culture. The drive to know more about Korea stimulates Hallyu to develop into more sophisticated cultural forms, which in turn, brings Hallyu to a higher level. Hallyu goes beyond the love for television and movie stars. It is about fully appreciating the Korean culture portrayed through them. To ride the Korean Wave means the drive to know more about Korean culture.
Hallyu or the Korean wave has been a blessing for Korea, its businesses, culture and country image.Hallyu has become one of the biggest cultural phenomena across Asia Pacific. So tremendous has the Hallyu effect been that it has contributed 0.2% of Korea’s GDP in 2004, amounting to approximately USD 2 billion. Hallyu is known to be the friendly wave that hit Korea.
More specifically, Hallyu is an upshot of the clash of two crosscurrents: first, the relative decline in Japan’s economic, political, and cultural leadership in Asia, which lead to the startling rise of China; second, the proliferation of (neo) liberal doctrines leading to a higher level of regional integration in economy and culture, which is at odds with the residual forces of Cold War and postcolonial politics that reproduce political schisms in the region. The following briefly outlines the principal political and economic conditions from which Hallyu sprung to life. Hallyu is all about lofty soul-searching and noble quests for Asiatic ingenuity. In other words, Hallyu did not “originate” in Korea. Rather, it is a cultural tempest steered by the aesthetic and political judgment of extensive publics in East and South East Asia. In this respect and others, the rise of Hallyu is a significant political event.
Hallyu is a powerful catalyst in healing colonial wounds and alleviating postcolonial resentment between Japan and Korea. Hallyu, like other cultural trends, is at its worst when driven by aggressive nationalist impulses coupled with unbridled commercialism. Right now, Hallyu is at critical moment; and so is the prospect for building a healthy regional cultural sphere. At this crossroads, a judicious intervention of the concerned regional public is imperative.