Surfing the Korean Wave

Corean band BTS
Corean band BTS

Ever since Psy hit the airwaves with Gangnam Style in 2012, South Korean culture has become a global phenomenon. K-pop has taken the world by storm and Korean films and TV series are topping Western charts. For a country that was previously quite insular, its culture is now one of its greatest exports. It even has a name, ‘hallyu', meaning ‘Korean wave’.

Today, the world cannot seem to get enough of Korean culture. BTS and Blackpink are household names. Parasite won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 2020, and Hellbound and Squid Game were the biggest series ever launches on Netflix. Beyond entertainment, K-beauty has seduced a global audience.

Korean food has become widely available, too. Besides the sophistication of traditional dishes like kimchi and bulgogi, there is also a cruder side to the country’s culinary trends. Mukbang videos are going viral on YouTube, showing people eating vast amounts of food quickly.

Korea has built a cultural economy that is trending worldwide.