Korean Content Spreading Around the World1)
The Netflix drama <Squid Game> has changed the landscape of the global drama market. The show, which was released around the world on September 17, has been a worldwide phenomenon, ranking first in all 83 countries where Netflix officially serviced. Following this, <My Name> and <Hometown cha-cha-cha> are also supporting the global strength of Korean drama content with high performance. Korean dramas, which until now have been considered only a "mania genre" in North America and Europe, have been attracting attention from mainstream audiences since the success of Squid Game. On October 26, an event called "Travel to Korea in New York with Squid Games" was held in Manhattan, New York. 3,115 people who were interested in Korean culture applied for the event, and 80 of them were selected. Like the characters in the drama, they wore green training suits and played games such as "the Dalgona honeycomb cookie challenge," "the Ddakji game," and "Red Light, Green Light," and personnel in pink host costumes were also placed. Participants who had already learned how to play through the drama were easily able to participate. Park Jaeseok, head of the New York branch of the Korea Tourism Organization, said, "I saw the Squid Game craze, so after the drama aired, we organized an event to greatly increase interest in Korean tourism among locals at a time when curiosity about Korean culture, including Hangul and Korean food, has reached its peak." As such, Korean culture is naturally spreading around the world due to the Korean drama craze.
Despite the linguistic barriers, there is a reason why Korean dramas are attracting worldwide attention. First, they actively utilize Korea's reality as material for content and highlight Koreans' sense of community. The game motivation and method in <Squid Game> comes to exemplify the real economic inequality. In addition, <Hometown cha-cha-cha> shows people helping each other in rural villages. In response, Sung Sangmin, a pop culture critic, said, "Jeong, a Korean emotion, in other words, is solidarity, and solidarity has become a spirit of the times around the world where pandemics and refugee problems are serious." Based on these characteristics, Korean content has grown its influence worldwide. And one of the characteristics of Korean dramas is that they intensively describe the psychology of the characters. In the past, North America and Europe were not interested in Korean dramas because they had a strong tendency to focus on characters' psychological portrayals, but responses to these delicate emotional expressions have recently been re-examined. Viewers around the world have become more interested, saying, "I feel less cold than when watching American series," and "I follow the story from the perspective of one of the characters, not from the observer's point of view." As such, if Korea maintains these characteristics and continues to mass-produce high-quality content, the country will be able to become a cultural powerhouse in its own way.
1) Kang Youngyeon, ""It's a Squid Game!"… Sugar Honneycomb Toffee and Ddakji-Chigi in the Middle of New York, "Rare Scenery,"" Korea Economy, October 27, 2021