‘Yon-sama,’ Bae Yongjoon is the leading role of Hallyu Fever which is situation that Korean culture, movies and entertain contents are popular in other countries. As you know, Yon-sama syndrome is the hottest in Japan. The Sookmyung Times (SMT) met two Japanese exchange students to talk about Hallyu Fever. Yoshie Kamikawa (Yoshie) who loves Korean singer BOA and Koh Ahra (KOH) who is a Korean resident in Japan, and skilled in Korean. The two beautiful Japanese women chatted freely about culture between Korea and Japan in soft beams of sunlight.
SMT はじめましで(How do you do?) We will talk about “Hallyu Fever.” Do you have a drama you’re impressed with? Have you ever watced, what’s Your Feeling?
Yoshie I don’t watch drama well. But I watched Dae Jang Geum. I think Korean dramas’ stories are much longer than Japanese dramas’ stories.
KOH I watched some dramas like Gung, My Girl and Coffee Prince. I liked the dramas because handsome people appeared a lot.
SMT What do you think about Korean famous entertainers and Korean entertainment culture?
Yoshie I loved BOA very much. Because of BOA, I went to Korea as an exchange student. Korean entertainers almost all go to the university, but in Japan, many idols are not interested in schoolwork. Most of them graduated from high school and didn’t go on to university.
KOH I like Rain and Lee Hyori especially. Wonder Girls are so beautiful and TVXQ (Tong Vfang Xien Qi) do their best in Japan, so my Japanese friends and I like them. Also, 2PM are so popular recently. In my case, I was so surprised that TVXQ’s fans did volunteer work and donations as birthday gifts instead of goods for the birthdays of the members who they love. Japanese fans didn’t do that so far.
SMT Have you ever felt Hallyu Fever actually in Japan?
KOH My friends’ mothers mainlined on Korea dramas. They knew dramas that I don’t know and loved drama so much and knew a handle for gossip of Korean evenly. When they bought picture albums and so pleased, I thought Korea is well-known in Japan.
Yoshie I felt Hallyu Fever when I went to the BOA concert. One notable difference, Japanese fans are so silent. But fans from Korea are a bit too cheerful because of their concert custom.
SMT If you go to Myeong-dong, you would see many shops there that have marketing at foreigners. Especially, they target many Japanese tourists. What do you think that Hallyu Fever contributes to create this atmosphere?
KOH, Yoshie There are specialty shops which sell calendars and fans of idols and famous actors. Foreigners enter those shops, but Koreans don’t enter there. When I see that, I feel many foreigners come to Korea to find the goods cheap. I have entered those shops following a friend, and there are so many Japanese and Chinese. And the people think they can cut down the price in Myeong-dong, so they talk with clumsy English or Korean to buy at a bargain. At those times, I feel ‘Hallyu fever’ and do it the same every time. Not only is there Hallyu Fever, but also Myeong-dong is cheaper than Japan’s cities. So many Japanese go there more.
SMT Did you watch the latest dramas when you came to Korea? Hallyu dramas are almost so personal and strong
emotionally like Winter Sonata, but Makjang dramas— a lot of abuse, violence, immorality and nudity in the drama—have been criticized recently in Korea. What do you think about Makjang dramas like Wife’s Temptation and Boys Over Flowers?
Yoshie I like those dramas more than others. However one thing that is dangerous I think the scene of high
school’s students driving a car is okay, but the scene with teenagers’ smoking didn’t have to be there.
KOH Then, Japan is the very same. Strange to say, in Japan, those dramas are more popular. In Korea, although those dramas were criticized, Japanese almost all think, “So what? The drama was based on a cartoon after all.” People watch dramas for enjoyment and drama is a little unreal naturally.
SMT Frankly speaking, Korea and Japan have many political problems historically. Do you think Hallyu Fever and Korean entertainment culture have done a lot to help the betterment of relationships between Korea and Japan?
Yoshie Though there are many political problems like Dokdo— the island in Dokdo-ri Ulleung-eup Ullenung-gun,
Gyeongsangbuk-do of Korea—so far, in my opinion, cultural power such as Hallyu Fever is much needed to make peace between the countries.
KOH I think so, too. But what I’m a little fearful about is, ‘A drama is just a drama.’ Many people just watched a drama and thought simply, ‘Korean men are so good’ or ‘let’s associate with Korean men.’ In the drama, Korea seems to be so beautiful. I was worried foreigners saw famous Korean streets and beautiful scenes and liked the good side only. If they come to Korea directly, Korea could be different from what they had imagined. I agree Hallyu Fever is so good, but this problem will become an object of public concern.
Yoshie Kamikawa (21)
I loved BOA so much. There is no one around me who especially likes BOA. I want to associate with a friend who likes BOA. I’m very cheerful and I like to talk with friends. I prefer a person of the same age. I don’t care if you aren’t skilled in Japanese.
Koh Ahra (22)
Other people think of me as a Korean resident in Japan, but I never think that. I have a mind to become a real Korean quickly. I came to the university as an exchange student to enlarge the Korea I know. I want to make Korean friends a lot, but frankly, I didn’t make many friends because I just come and go to classes. I want to associate with a person my age, too. And I like to eat delicious food, so I want to have a friend to eat with.