Emulating the Idols of the “Korean Wave” in North Korea

It seems that everywhere I go, I run into the smiles of the flawless faces of the popular music idols and rising television and movie stars of South Korea. Although they may not be known as a part of what is mainstream popular culture in every location, somehow the South Korean singers, actors, and actresses have found their way into the hearts and onto the playlists of more than a few of my friends and acquaintances throughout the globe. The slim, well-dressed men and women of South Korean music groups and television dramas decorate bedroom walls and influence the fashion and tastes of many of the people I have encountered.

 

But to what extent has the South “Korean Wave” been able to captivate audiences in North Korea considering the division preventing exchange between the two halves of the Korean peninsula? Continue reading

On My Way to See You

There is a new show on Korea’s Channel A called “On My Way to See You”. The show invites female North Korean refugees to talk about the experiences they had as teenagers and young adults in the North. Some of the ladies were performers at North Korea’s national performing arts group in Pyongyang, while others had less privileged lives and witnessed their family members’ deaths to diseases that modern technology could have easily prevent. Kim Jieun, from Youngwon, Pyeongannamdo, had a particularly heartbreaking story about her grandmother.

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The Influence of the Korean Wave in North Korea

That’s right. The Korean Wave has spread to various parts of the world. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say it’s a worldwide sensation! Just looking at YouTube, you can find so much proof of this from videos of prison mates doing a mass choreographed dance of a popular kpop song in the Philippines to Americans doing covers of Korean songs IN KOREAN. I can’t help but be amazed at the amount of influence South Korean pop culture has had all over the world. But the thing that amazes me even more is that this phenomenon has also reached North Korea. Continue reading