What Korea did right: A Gong Yoo or Lee Min-ho didn’t happen overnight

On the first day of classes every semester, when I meet my new students, I always ask them what brought them to Korean language class. Their facial expressions show they are too timid to speak in front of new classmates, but after a couple of students confidently say they are fans of this or that K-drama or K-pop group, the rest of the class suddenly feels liberated, and violent shrieking follows as they find common fandoms among them.

Though I’m Korean, I admit I’m not a huge fan of Korean dramas. I tried to watch some contemporary ones, just to keep up with my students. I also got hooked, but I don’t follow each new release that comes out.

It is known that the 1991 Korean soap opera “What on Earth is Love (Sarangi Mwogilae)” recorded an unprecedented high viewership locally. When CCTV China aired the drama series, it surprisingly piqued Chinese viewers’ interest in Korean culture for the first time.



More cultural creators explored more diverse storytelling on various platforms, such as games, characters, musicals and animation. A mobile game “BTS World,” developed by Takeone Company Corp and published by Netmarble, won as mobile game of the year at the 2019 Golden Joystick Awards, and brought Big Hit Entertainment enormous success.


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