‘Korean wave’ crashes into BYU campus


By Harlee Hunsaker

A lot of people have watched “Squid Game,” listened to the boy band BTS and even used Korean skin care. If you haven’t, you probably know someone who has. 

In recent years, there’s been an increase in Korean culture popularity across the globe. From K-pop to K-dramas and everything in between, people seem to love it. 

But one doesn’t have to be in physically in Korea to access their culture. In fact, you can access it on BYU campus. 

BYU students gathered for a Halloween themed K-pop dance party hosted by the Korean Student Association club on campus.

“In Utah, we are a minority, and it’s not really common to bring minorities together,” club president Vivian Lee said. “Doing that at this school, I think it’s really great.”

Lee organized the K-pop dance party to share her culture with others, but the sharing of Korean culture is becoming increasingly easy due to the “Korean wave”.

 “It’s a machine. It’s a huge machine,” said Richard McBride, BYU chair of Asian and Near Eastern Languages. He has taught a variety of classes including Korean culture and said there are three Korean waves.

“Korean food, Korean music and Korean film and Korean dramas. The first stage was kind of those things,” McBride said.

He explained that in the late 1990’s, Korean banks failed due to bad loans and they needed to rebrand themselves. 

First, the rise of Samsung. Since then, the rise of Korean film, television, video games and especially music have gained popularity. 

Earlier this year, the Asia Scotland Institute reported BTS has gained the South Korean economy $4.9 billion dollars.

Korea has exposed the world to their culture. For example, Netflix said 142 million households have watched the Korean series “Squid Game.” 

But McBride asks an interesting question, “We live in a globalized world when but when you globalize too much what do you sacrifice in the process?”

McBride wonders if this mass globalization will lead to a loss of individual culture throughout the world. However, Lee isn’t worried. 

“It makes me very proud of our country,” she said.

The K-pop dancing college students at the party are also enjoying the globalization of Korean culture. So for now, sit back and watch the Korean wave crash down into your own life. 

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