SM entertainment performed its ‘SM Town Live World Tour’ on June 10th ~ 11th in Paris, France at Le Zenith de Paris. Lots of fans from various countries including Italy, Spain, Sweden, and Poland as well as France crowded around the concert hall. Super Junior, f(x), SHINee, and Girls’ Generation, who are the crews from SM entertainment, showed splendid performances and were very well received by European fans. The young singers from Korea introduced 44 songs over three hours. Around 7,000 fans from Europe sang along with hit songs and showed explosive response.
What is it that the huge amount of people are enthusiastic about? ‘It’ is called K-pop, which is the generic term for Korean popular music. The K-pop craze is one of the events that make the Korean status and competitiveness higher. As well as soap dramas and movies, K-pop has already created a boom though the ‘Korean Wave’ in Asia and America. Now, it has won Europeans’ hearts. The French have expressed enthusiastic interest and anticipation and have a good feeling about K-pop.
The Growing Process of K-pop
The history of K-pop began with Seo Tai-ji and Boys and H.O.T. They played rap or techno music. Since their advent, Korean music has been changed. After them, BOA and Wonder Girls appeared and were popular in Japan and America.
Now, Super Junior, Girls’Generation, and KARA are the best groups leading K-pop. When they debuted, they were just teen idols, but now they have become the most representative of Korean music.
K-pop is spreading quickly through social networking services like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Unlike in the past, through social networking services people all around the world enjoy Korean songs, dances and styles easily.
The revival of Korean Wave
The Korean Wave is a fever of Korean pop culture created in Southeast Asia from the end of the 1990. Chinese media used this term first. The Korean soap drama ‘Winter Sonata’ gained huge popularity in Japan. Also, almost all soap dramas which were popular domestically were exported to China and Southeast Asia. However, the zeal for Korean Wave had been cooling down over the past ten years. K-pop raised a new start for the Korean Wave again.
The Korean Wave has caused a variety of positive effects such as increasing tourism revenue and raising national image. People with blue eyes and fair hair are enthusiastic about Korean singers’ performances and are singing along loudly. K-pop is making a second round of glory days for the Korean Wave. It plays a role in sharing Korean culture, fashion, food, and life style with the youth of the world.
In order to gain popularity continuously, K-pop must keep its creativity and originality in its contents. K-pop’s entrance into Europe does not mean just entrance of music. The Korean lifestyle and culture enter into Europe together.
The meaning of the K-pop craze
It is nice that K-pop receives response not only from Asia but also from other countries. K-pop helps to eliminate prejudice from Western people as well as to create financial profits.
Until recently, a lot of people in the world thought that Asian culture had a low standard. The K-pop craze is the beginning of eliminating this prejudice. As it is only the start, K-pop should receive response from the public more modestly and objectively. And Koreans must strive to mature the culture through thorough checking and self reflection. With these efforts, at last K-pop has had a positive ripple effect and influence.
K-pop lovers imitate the dances and songs of Korean singers and perform on many stages. The Korean Wave continues to get bigger through Asia and Europe. Now, Korean pop culture is a culture which all the world’s people enjoy a lot.
The success of K-pop in Europe, which no one expected, gave us a refreshing jolt. This K-pop craze is establishing its own independent domain in a variety of culture and creative art.
Through expanding interest in Korean culture to Korea itself, Koreans can share our friendship, sympathy, and understanding with other countries, and we can lay strong foundations for industry, politics and diplomacy.
It’s a welcome issue that Korean Wave is receiving attention again. But in order to receive continuous love, we should make a strategy for cultivating our various cultural contents. Now, K-pop is making an impression all over the world. The world enjoys and understands Korean culture well. The fans who think of Korean idols will increase. The K-pop craze in Europe! This is a chance to rise up and develop Korean culture.
Lee Soo-min Reporter