[EDITORIALS]Support Our Cultural Exports

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[EDITORIALS]Support Our Cultural Exports

The fever for things Korean in Asia's cultural markets is spreading to other products. Korean popular culture began to boom in China with imports of Korean TV dramas in 1996. Korean pop songs started gaining appeal in 1998. The boom has spread to Taiwan, Vietnam, Japan, Thailand, Philippines and Indonesia. The vocal duet Clon has become popular in Taiwan, and Jang Dong-geon, an actor, is admired by the Vietnamese. Ahn Jae-wuk is the most popular foreign actor in China.

The fever for things Korean is spreading fast among Asia's younger generation, outrunning Japan, which has dominated culture markets in the region for a long time. We believe we should make various efforts not only to promote the image of our country, but also to gain tangible economic gains through this upsurge in demand for Korean products.

Furthermore, we should come up with a long-term plan to check other countries, such as China, with the potential to outdo Korea.

Despite such needs, we have not yet analyzed the commercial demands of Asian youngsters, who are fascinated by Korean popular culture, nor the market in Asian countries for our cultural commodities. We have not yet decided whether we should export video tapes along with movies in China. Cooperation with Chinese film and TV producers has increased, but the attempts have been nothing more than saving some production costs. Some Korean pop singers fail to show up for their concerts overseas, critically damaging the image of Korea.

The government should begin, as a first step, to take advantage of the fever for things Korean by preparing basic data, including an analysis of successful commercial cases. Seoul should try to remove obstacles to exports of Korean TV dramas and performances, such as seeking the lifting of the ceiling on broadcast time on foreign TV shows. The government should support pop stars' performances in Asia to maintain the fever for Korea for the long-term.

In Korea, Seoul should develop tourist attractions, such as pop culture exhibition centers, and build various types of performance halls for a variety of cultural events, so that the effects of the fever for things Korean would be maximize through tourism promotion.

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