Chung-Ang University to offer ‘Hanryu’ degreeChung-Ang University is planning to create a master’s degree program in “Hanryu,” an interdisciplinary study covering Korean and East Asian culture, this fall.
The program is designed to explore what’s behind the domestic pop culture that created the “Korean wave” in Asia. The academic program will cover a wide variety of subjects, including fine, commercial, modern and traditional arts, and music, theater art, food, fashion and film. The foundation of the program is to “to systematically educate people about a more genuine Korean culture in a broader sense in an academic setting,” said Park Bum-hoon, president of the university.
The Korean pop culture boom was so prevalent that the Chinese media coined the word “Hanryu,” or “Korean wave,” to describe the phenomenon. There were concerns among Korean government officials and academics, however, that Hanryu might become a fad, and they wanted measures in place to prolong the cultural trend.
“Now, Hanryu is restricted to pop culture, and the end of the popularity of Korean pop stars could lead to its demise,” Mr. Park said, adding that to theorize Hanryu in an academic way and systemize it will be the school’s role in developing it further.
“We should reexamine Hanryu as an academic discipline, and turn temporary and unorganized Hanryu-related tourism into a long-lasting medium to further globalize Korean culture,” Mr. Park said.
The three-semester master’s program is aimed at both Koreans and foreign students. The size of each class will be 50 students, with no limit on the total number of foreign students. Besides the degree program, the school will offer a six-month long certification program for 50 to 100 students, which includes two months of practical training.
The school will use its well-established arts programs, including music, theater arts and cinema studies. Graduates of the program will be able to work in the tourism and cultural industries, Mr. Park said.
Kang Chul-keun, the director who is overseeing the program’s curriculum, said it will teach both theory and practical applications, and cover not only Korean but also East Asian culture. “For example, the courses will include a comparative study of Korean traditional opera, or pansori, Japan’s kabuki and China’s jingju,” Mr. Kang said, although the curriculum has not yet been set.
“The program will be a venue for cultural exchanges between Korea and other Asian countries and provide an opportunity to modernize Asian traditional theater arts,” he noted.
Mr. Park studied music at Chung-Ang University and continued his studies in musical theory and composition at Musashino Art University, Japan. Returning to Korea, he taught at Chung-Ang and Seoul National universities and was awarded prestigious medals by the government.
He also composed music for the opening ceremony of the 1986 Seoul Asian Games and took part in composing ceremonial music for the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games, the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup and the 2003 Summer Universiade in Daegu. Mr. Park was appointed to his current position on Feb. 3.
by Limb Jae-un