What is Korean wave or Hallyu

The Korean wave or so-called Hallyu is the global popularity originated in South Korea that had a strong impact throughout the world and influenced contemporary culture, music, film and television industry. It became viral to the young generations which made them obsessed and crazy about Korean singers, actors, actresses or net idols. South Korea is one of the only countries in the world that has a driven goal to become the world’s leading influential of popular culture. Hallyu was first spread to China and Japan then to Southeast Asia and many other countries which it continues to impact until today. It made Korea gain into the positive of its businesses, culture and country image. Moreover, Hallyu has become one of the biggest cultural phenomena across Asia since the early 1999s. The effects have boosted Korean economy rapidly and they have become very rich. Movies, music, dramas and games change the view of the world to Korean country’s image and its economy as it became the main components of the Korean wave, giving birth to a new generation of Korean celebrities to have superstar status in the entire Southeast Asian countries. Furthermore, Korean popular culture has also impacted the global fashion industry where many teenagers dress up like the celebrities for example, G-Dragon. Although Hallyu has grown for many years, its future will be challenging. Brand Korea needs to balance not over-commercializing Hallyu but to maintain the market in its way. Therefore, it is interesting to see how Korea continues to sustain its appearance to global audiences.

Influence of Korean wave in Thailand

Thailand gets a lot of Korean wave influence from food, fashion, lifestyle and entertainment. The Korean pop culture has powerfully affected Thai youth society insisting on popular music, drama, language and cuisine. The boom was started in 2006 with TVXQ, a korean boy band, who created a widespread among Thai teens with their songs on top of the charts. K-pop has lived among the people throughout Asia and the world. Due to the growth in global culture, Korean wave has an effect on trade between Thailand and South Korea. Thailand is a country that has many tourists so when it comes to the world’s market, they know how to follow trends and gain their popularity by bringing in new culture and getting influenced by other countries. According to entertainment, the Korean wave has influenced on Thai entertainment. Many Thai people love to watch Korean dramas, movies and variety shows but also love to watch Korean entertainments that are in Thai editions. It can be seen that, Thai entertainment companies buy copyrights of Korean programs in Thai versions and sometimes use Korean celebrities to play in Thai dramas to gain more audiences. First Thai drama called “Love and Lies” (กลรักเกมมายา) was played by a Korean actor, Jung II-Woo produced by the True4U channel. Moreover, in recent years, Thai entertainment producers remake Korean entertainment programs such as “The Mask Singer Thailand”, “I Can See Your Voice”, “Let Me In Thailand”, broadcasting by Workpoint TV. Furthermore, in terms of music, k-pop music becomes a cross-cultural business. There are Thai born artists like Nichkhun from boy band 2PM, BamBam from Got7 and Lisa from Blackpink who become part of K-pop entertainment. Their participation made significant impacts on Thai society, they gained interest from Thai people who later became the consumers of Korean cultural products. Besides, the life of a k-pop fan is to keep up with their idol or group every single day and see what they do each day through updates or fan sites. When a fan spends a lot of time keeping up with her or his idol, that person tends to adapt some things his or her idol does. Additionally, there have been many Korean cover dances in Thailand, where those groups dance the Korean song and compete with each other. At the same time, the sound and style of K-pop has affected the Thai pop music of younger generations too. It can be said that K-pop has totally affected the Thai youths, influencing them to adapt Korean culture into the society. 

Trend of Korean Wave in Thailand

  • Fashion and beauty

Nowadays, Korean things are all around Thai society such as Korean series, K-pop music, Korean food, Korean make-up brand, Korean costumes and surgery. However, in the past, Korean trend was not popular in Thailand. Thai people did not know anything about the images of K-pop or any other Korean things. But the trend started when K-pop music and stars appeared on social media and became popular among teenagers. At that time, popular bands like Super Junior and Girls Generation have presented their images in a way of fashion. A lot of Thai teenagers tend to be crazy about K-pop stars more than Thai singers. So, they copied hair styles or dressed in K-pop costumes. Some teenagers like to see how the idols dressed, whether they were on stage, airport fashion or in random vlog videos. They always look out for those idols’ clothing, matching their outfits in different Korean styles. Moreover, the cosmetic brands from Korea are imported into Thai high-end department stores for example, Etude House, Moonshot, Peripera, Innisfree and many more. Moreover, Korean surgery is also a trend in Thailand, not only women do surgery but men also do too. It almost became a new norm in Thai society where Thai people feel that their beauty standard is unpopular, so the plastic surgery included double eye-lid, breast surgery and face lifting. 

  • Food

When Korean trend is popular, its cultures follow and influence other countries, one of those is Thailand. Korean food plays a big role in Thai food marketing because when people see an idol eating some certain food, they want to try it as well. There are many Korean restaurants open in Bangkok like Bon Chon, Red Sun and Bibimbap House. Kimchi, tteokbokki and fried chicken with Korean spice paste are one of the most famous Korean foods among Thais. Besides, those Thai people who tend to eat Korean food are because they got influenced by Korean dramas or Korean celebrities. Not only Korean food influences Thai culture but Thai food also influences Korean culture. There are Korean restaurants in Thailand, but Korean pubs also encourage many Thai youths to entertain in Korean style by opening Korean music in the pub and drink Soju instead of Thai beer. Therefore, it represents cross-culturalism between these two countries.

  • Traveling

Thai people like to follow trends, especially when they watch Korean dramas or MV taken in one of Korean famous attractions like the Seoul Tower. They would pack their belongings and fly to Korea to go to the same destinations as their idols. This shows how Korean culture has strongly affected to Thai people. Numerous of Thai tourists visit South Korea every year, gaining the growth of Korean economy. Hallyu has given Korean tourism to reposition the image of Korea. As the movies, music bands and the dramas gained popularity, people from many countries have been travelling into Korea to experience the Korean culture. Korean government offers package tours which include a visit to the shooting locations, the various towns and resorts that were famous due to the movies and dramas. Apparently, as a Korean fever, Thai people are nearly the top-list of Korean tourism industry. The effect of the tourist boom, Korea earned billions from tourism. As a result, the power of Korean trend is being shaped because of the mass media and popular culture.

Hallyu has launched Korea to the global stage. Because of the international attention on Korea and its pop culture, the Korean government has supported the entertainments and cultural products to push Korea as a global influence. They have been very active in managing Hallyu outside of Korea by organizing different cultural festivals, offering package tours, PR campaigns to publicize Korean uniqueness and helping the entertainment industry by creating best quality dramas, movies and music. The popularity of leading Korean brands across the world has highlighted certain keys of success for Koreans in a way of quality, designs and the mood for the products and services. Also, entertainment products like movies, music, dramas have the best production quality which can be compared to Hollywood production in value and quality. The growth of Korean wave over the past years has significantly outbreak throughout the world. It can be seen that, Korean wave phenomenon is a way for Korea to develop its soft power. Therefore, Korean wave impacted not only Thailand but other countries around the world.