Korean Wave 101

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Korean Wave 101

As few who live in Korea could have avoided hearing during the past year or so, there’s a “Korean wave” out there. Korea’s popular culture, from movies to pop music to fashion, has become fashionable in many Asian countries ― particularly Japan, where Korean actor Bae Yong-joon, affectionately known there as “Yonsama,” was last year’s hottest celebrity.
The hanryu (“Korean wave”) phenomenon has even become a field of academic study. This fall, Chung-Ang University plans to launch a graduate program in hanryu studies, examining Korean culture in the context of other cultures in East Asia. The program will cover both popular culture and the serious arts, including music, theater, food, fashion and film.
If hanryu is now an academic discipline, then educated, socially aware residents of Korea (such as the Joong-Ang Daily’s readers) will want to make sure they’re familiar with the basics. To that end, here’s a quiz to test your knowledge of Korean pop culture. If you don’t do well, you might want to at least consider a correspondence course. Answers are on Page W7.

1. The common term for Korean teen-pop music is:
a) K-pop
b) Hanpop
c) Hanbeat
d) Joseon Motion

2. The number of Japanese tourists visiting Korea soared last year because of:
a) Discount golf packages on Jeju island
b) The popularity of the TV drama “Winter Sonata”
c) The popularity of singer BoA
d) Japanese right-wingers in speedboats trying to claim Tokto

3. Which Korean movie did not win an award at a major European film festival in 2004?
a) Park Chan-wook’s “Old Boy”
b) Kim Dong-wan’s “Repatriation”
c) Kim Ki-duk’s “3-Iron”
d) Kim Ki-duk’s “Samaria”

4. Which of these is not a Korean boy band?
a) Fly to the Sky
c) Shinhwa
d) Dongbangshingi

5. What was in the so-called “X-File” that made Korean headlines earlier this year?
a) Before-and-after photos documenting singer Ha Ri-su’s transgender surgery
b) Before-and-after photos documenting President Roh’s eye surgery
c) Gossip about dozens of Korean celebrities, compiled by a Seoul ad agency
d) Proof that Kim Jong-il is an alien

6. Which of these was a major theme in the hit TV drama “Daejanggeum?”
a) Kung fu
b) Korean royal cuisine
c) Calligraphy
d) Eating disorders

7. Which movie made actress Jeon Ji-hyun an Asian star?
a) “Virgin Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors”
b) “Shiri”
c) “My Sassy Girl”
d) “Taegukgi”

8. Which of these is not one of the Korean actors known in Japan as the “Four Kings”?
a) Jang Dong-gun
b) Won Bin
c) Cha In-pyo
d) Lee Byung-heon

9. Which Western star performed with BoA in 2003?
a) Avril Lavigne
b) Britney Spears
c) Marilyn Manson
d) Justin Timberlake

10. In “Winter Sonata,” where did Jun-sang (Bae Yong-joon) and Yu-jin (Choi Ji-woo) share their first kiss?
a) Hongdae
b) Chuncheon
c) Nami island
d) Jongno

11. What’s the English meaning of singer Be’s stage name?
a) Love
b) Sunshine
c) Rain
d) Two

12. TV producer Yoon Seok-ho (of “Winter Sonata”) plans to start filming the last of his “seasonal” TV dramas this year. What’s the planned title?
a) “Summer’s Fragrance”
b) “Spring’s Waltz”
c) “Autumn Leaves”
d) “Monsoon Season”

13. Director Kim Ki-duk’s film “Seom” (The Isle) is notorious for a scene in which a character:
a) Swallows a mouthful of fish hooks
b) Eats a live octopus
c) Seduces the high-school student next door
d) Refers to Tokto as “Takeshima”

14. In China, what’s the slang term for the teenage fad of imitating Korean fashion?
a) “Ha han”
b) “Hanryu ai”
c) “Yonsama wei”
d) “Boa shi”

15. Which of these was not the premise of a Korean reality TV show?
a) A bachelor gets fashion tips from stylish young women
b) An ordinary woman has a date with a celebrity
c) A woman undergoes plastic surgery
d) A rich girl experiences country life

16. Which American movie star said he’d like to star in a remake of “Old Boy”?
a) Wesley Snipes
b) Nicolas Cage
c) Keanu Reeves
d) Michael Douglas

17. The name of the all-girl band Fin.K.L is an abbreviation of:
a) Finger Killing Lover
b) Fine Killing Liberty
c) Find Korea’s Liberty
d) Finland-Korea Linkage

18. Who won the Favorite Korean Artist award at last month’s MTV Asia Awards?
a) BoA
b) Be
c) Se7en
d) Shin Seung-hun

19. Which of these Korean celebrities speaks four languages?
a) Se7en
b) Kangta
c) Lee Hyo-lee
d) BoA

20. In the TV drama “Stairway to Heaven,” what song is heard every time Kwon Sang-woo chases Choi Ji-woo?
a) “Stairway to Heaven”
b) “Ave Maria”
c) “When a Man Loves a Woman”
d) “Uptown Girl”

21. The pioneering Korean underground band Crying Nut recently reunited after a hiatus of more than two years. They spent that time:
a) Playing Starcraft
b) In college
c) In the army
d) Recording solo albums

22. The box-office-record-breaking war movie “Taegukgi” actually uses an incorrect romanization for its title, which is the name of the South Korean flag. What is the correct spelling, according to official romanization standards?
a) Taegukki
b) Taekukgi
c) Taegeukgi
d) Taegeukki

23. What’s the name of the Korean girl band with one Japanese member that’s starting to become big in Japan?
a) Sugar
b) Salt
c) Salt-and-Pepa
d) Jjajangmyeon

24. In which of these TV dramas is a character not diagnosed with leukemia?
a) “Autumn’s Tale”
b) “Beautiful Days”
c) “Winter Sonata”
d) “Goodbye, My Love”

25. In which of these TV dramas does a character not suffer from amnesia?
a) “I’m Sorry, I Love You”
b) “Winter Sonata”
c) “Save the Last Dance for Me”
d) “Stairway to Heaven”



1. a)
2. b)
3. b) “Repatriation” won an award at last year’s Sundance Film Festival, but that was in Colorado.
4. b) SMAP is a boy band, but they’re Japanese. (They’re also in their 30s.)
5. c)
6. b)
7. c)
8. c) The fourth “king” is Bae Yong-joon (“Yonsama”).
9. b)
10. c)
11. c) Actually, the correct romanization of the word is “Bi.”
12. b)
13. a)
14. a)
15. d)
16. b)
17. b)
18. b)
19. d)
20. b)
21. c)
22. c)
23. a)
24. c)
25. a)

by J-Weekend
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