Hallyu fever in Brazil
A few days ago, I gave a lecture at Sookmyung Women’s University on “Korean Culture in South America.” There, I discussed K-pop in Brazil. The popularity of K-pop in Brazil began with Psy’s “Gangnam Style.” According to the Korea Creative Content Agency, the music video of “Gangnam Style” got over one billion views, with one-fifth from Brazil. Psy was invited to the Rio de Janeiro Carnival in 2013. Even my grandmother asked me about Psy and “Gangnam Style.” For the Brazil World Cup last year, Ailee, Shinee, Mblaq, CN Blue, Infinite and B.A.P performed at Music Bank in Brazil, and more than 20,000 fans attended the event.
How can K-pop continue to succeed in Brazil? I interviewed a dozen Brazilian K-pop fans studying in Korea as exchange students. When asked how they came to like Korean culture, they said they were introduced by friends or exposed through Japanese culture. There are many Japanese immigrants in Brazil, and the spread of the Korean Wave in Japan influenced Japanese immigrants in Brazil. Some said that they became fans after watching videos on YouTube.
Why do they like Korean culture? Firstly, they said that Koreans were different from others. It affected the lifestyles of the fans, who like to learn the language or imitate the makeup style and fashion. Secondly, they found Korean celebrities sincere and passionate. The K-pop fans find that Korean musicians value friendship and teamwork among band members and have serious passion for music and performance. Lastly, the fans appreciate the quality of music, choreography, stage performance, costumes and music videos.
Therefore, in order for Korean culture to remain popular as it is today, quality content needs to be provided in convenient forms on the Internet. Also, fan loyalty can be maintained through various events. Fans play a crucial role in spreading K-pop to other people. And the interests should be expanded to other areas that can influence lifestyle, such as Korean cuisine, beauty and fashion. I hope to see a greater variety of Korea’s cultural contents - film, dramas, games, characters, literature and comics as well as K-pop - loved and appreciated in Brazil.
The author is a TV personality from Brazil who appears on the JTBC talk show “Non-Summit.”
JoongAng Ilbo, Nov. 5, Page 32
by CARLOS GORITO