What are some Korean music-themed dramas


Hallyu (Korean wave)

The term Hallyu (Korean Wave) denotes the popularity of Korean entertainment culture in Asia and other parts of the world. The Korean wave began in the mid-1990s after Korea established diplomatic relations with China in 1992 and Korean television dramas and Korean pop music grew in popularity in Chinese circles. When one of the most successful television dramas What Is Love? (What is Love) was broadcast by the Chinese broadcaster CCTV, the audience rate was 4.2%, which means that more than 150 million Chinese have seen the series.

The popularity of Korean pop music, especially Korean dance music, skyrocketed with the broadcast of the radio program Music from Seoul in Beijing in 1997. When the boy band H.O.T. gave a concert in Beijing, the enthusiasm for Korean pop culture knew no bounds. The term Hallyu (Korean wave) was first used by Korean journalists in their reports at the time to describe the concert atmosphere. In November 1999, the word hallyu was picked up by the Beijing Youth Daily newspaper. From that moment on, the name was an established term for the Koreans. The Korean wave also hit Japan in 2003 when Japanese broadcaster NHK aired KBS TV-produced Winter Sonata, which became a hit. The male hero of this television series, known in Japan as "Yon Sama", was on everyone's lips. The Japanese audience was so excited that they even traveled to Korea to visit the locations, including Namiseom Island.

The Korean wave was not limited to pop music, but also encompassed traditional Korean culture, food, literature, and language. With an increasing number of Hallyu fans, more and more people around the world became enthusiastic about Korea. Clubs were formed for all possible Hallyu branches. In December 2017, a total of 73.12 million people in 92 countries joined these stakeholders in Asia, Oceania, America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

BTS In 2019, the boy band BTS won the Top Social Artist Award for the third year in a row and for the first time the Top Duo / Group award at the Billboard Music Awards. With their album Map of the Soul: Persona (at the top of the Billboard 200 charts) and the title Boy With Luv (number 8 on the Hot 100 singles chart), BTS is the most successful Hallyu act since Psy with his song Gangnam Style.

EXO, one of the most popular idol groups that have cast a spell over the world with their perfectly synchronized group dances.

TWICE,the first Korean girls group to hit the milestone of over 300 million views on YouTube.


The term "K-Pop" refers to Korean pop music, where the "K" stands for Korea. In addition to K-Pop, there is also T-Pop (Taiwan-Pop), J-Pop (JapanPop) and C-Pop (China-Pop). From the year 2000 onwards, K-Pop was also increasingly exported abroad. After the popularity of K-Pop was initially limited to East Asia, it is conquering the world at a rapid pace. Be it Europe, America, South America or China - K-Pop is very popular everywhere.

The song Gangnam Style by Psy made it as the first K-Pop song at number 1 on the official UK hit list for singles. It took second place on the American hit list Billboard’s Hot 100 and first places on French, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Canadian and Australian hit lists. The song's YouTube video has been viewed by over three billion viewers since the music video was released on July 15, 2012.

But even before Gangnam Style became so popular, there were pop idol groups. There are currently more than 150 idol groups in South Korea, including Big Bang, Girls' Generation, 2PM, EXO, Wanna One and BTS. The band TVXQ, which has countless loyal fans in Japan and Hong Kong, reunited in 2017 after completing their compulsory military service. In late 2009, Wonder Girls was the first Korean group to make it onto the US Billboard Hot 100 chart with their song Nobody. Unfortunately, the group broke up in 2017.

In recent years, K-Pop acts have seen a generation change, from second generation idols, namely Girls' Generation and Big Bang, to third generation idols such as BTS and TWICE, who actively use social media as a means of communication. The K-pop genre has also diversified with the advent of the indie scene.

In May 2019, BTS topped the Billboard 200 album list and won the Top Social Artist Award at the Billboard Music Awards three years in a row. BTS is rewriting the history of K-Pop with its dedicated fan club called ARMY.

The great success of the K-Pop singers is largely due to their exceptionally good voices, their fascinating stage presence and their perfectly choreographed, precise dance performances. You appear charismatic and relaxed on stage, but that is not just an innate talent, but the result of many years of hard work.

On June 3, 2016, the French daily Le Monde published an article entitled “K-Pop is arriving in France”, which reported exclusively on BTS. The band received the highest praise. The Great Escape, a music festival held in Brighton, England on May 18, 2017, hosted the “K-Pop Night Out,” which featured different genres of K-Pop. Not only well-known idol groups were presented at the event.

Attracting attention from the international media and people around the world. The Great Escape, one of the biggest music festivals in Europe, featured stars like Adele, Ellie Goulding and Ed Sheeran. BTS created a K-pop sensation that had never been seen before in the US market. In the US, where K-pop is still far from mainstream, there were scenes of American fans singing along in Korean and waving posters in Korean that went around the world and surprised people. Her appearances not only at the Billboard Music Awards, but also on major US talk shows such as the Ellen DeGeneres Show attracted a lot of attention from Americans and Koreans. Just four years after their debut, the band BTS has become the most successful K-Pop act in the world.

K-pop fans all over the world

In May 2019, the Dream Concert brought all the big names in the K-Pop scene together, much to the delight of the global audience. An all-star line-up including SHINees Taemin, Red Velvet, Seventeen, NCT DREAM, Mamamoo and many more, heated it up as a unique opportunity for a multitude of Korean artists to fan out at one of the biggest K-pop concerts in Korea. The star line-up and special appearances of 2019 delighted the eyes and ears of K-pop fans in Korea and abroad alike. Every year, many international fans flock to Korea for the Dream Concert, which in 2019 marks the 25th anniversary.

Television dramas

The television dramas What is Love (MBC) and Winter Sonata (KBS) heralded the Korean wave for Korean dramas initially in China and Japan. The history TV series "Jewel in the Palace" (Dae Jang Geum) by MBC, which themed the palace kitchen, ran between 2003 and 2004 and is still one of the most watched television dramas in Korea. Dae Jang Geum was broadcast in 91 countries around the world. The audience was fascinated by the portrayal of life at the royal court, the traditional costumes, the food culture and the medical knowledge of the time.

The series was particularly popular in the Middle East, particularly Iran, where it achieved an average audience rating of 57% and maximum ratings of 90%. Dae Jang Geum has been exported to countries around the world, including Asia, North America, Europe and the Middle East - from Japan and Egypt to Mexico and Poland - and grossed around KRW 13 billion. Dae Jang Geum not only conveyed a piece of Korean television culture. It went way beyond that, as the drama is believed to have spread the Hallyu phenomenon to Korean cuisine, fashion, and medicine. The production-boosting effect of the series is estimated at KRW 111.9 billion.

In 2013, series such as My Love from the Star and That Winter, the Wind Blows were internationally popular. In 2016, Dokkaebi (Guardian: The Lonely and Great God), Moonlight Drawn by Clouds and Descendants of the Sun revived the Hallyu phenomenon.

In 2014, the SBS series My Love from the Star was sold to China for USD 40,000 per episode and was very successful there. Subsequently, the prices for the distribution rights for Korean dramas in China skyrocketed.

The 2016 TV series Descendants of the Sun was called "Taehu Syndrome" (short for the Korean title) and sold in 27 countries, including the United Kingdom, France, USA, Japan and China, and achieved a profit of over 10 billion KRW.

In September 2017, Korea was invited to the Festival de la Fiction TV, a French festival for drama, as the Guest of Honor (Invitée d'honneur). The directors and producers of the following three Korean dramas took part - W from station MBC, Signal from station tvN and The Package from station JTBC.

1.Descendants of the Sun recorded an audience share of over 30% in Korea.

2. Dokkaebi,referring to a mythical Korean goblin opened a new chapter in fantasy drama.


Korean Hallyu movie stars such as Bae Yong-joon (better known as Yon Sama in Japan), Jang Dong-gun, Lee Seo-jin, Kwon Sang-woo and Won Bin are still highly regarded abroad. Jang Keun-suk, Lee Byunghun, Rain, Jun Ki-hyun and Bae Doona recently made a name for themselves in the international film world with leading roles in Hollywood films. International film festivals in Korea such as the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF), the Jeonju International Film Festival (JIFF) and the Bucheon International Fantasy Film Festival (BiFan) have greatly contributed to making Korean film directors and stars famous around the world.

The film Train to Busan, which gained international acclaim for its interesting subject matter and solid narrative structure, was sold in more than 160 countries in the Americas, Europe and other regions, and grossed over $ 52 million.

The international film community is showing increasing interest in Korean films and directors. The directors most valued in the West include Im Kwon-taek, Lee Chang-dong, Park Chan-wook, Hong Sang-soo, Kim Jee-woon and Bong Joon-ho. They have produced masterpieces such as Strokes of Fire by Im Kwon-taek (2002), Poetry by Lee Chang-dong (2007), Thirst by Park Chan-wook (2009) and The Taste of Money by Im Sang-soo (2012). The film Parasite by Bong Joon-ho made Korean film history. In 2020 it was the first non-English-language production in the history of the Academy Awards to receive the award for the best film of the year. He received a total of four Oscars (best film, best director, best original screenplay, best international film). Other awards included the Palme d'Or at the 72nd Cannes International Film Festival in 2019 and the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film 2020.

As early as the 2000s, more and more Korean films were proving to be box office hits, drawing over 10 million viewers. The Admiral: Roaring Currents, the biggest hit of 2014, had 17.61 million viewers. In the following years, Ode to My Father (2014), Assassination (2015), Veteran (2015), Train to Busan (2016), A Taxi Driver (2017), Along with the Gods: The Last 49 Days (2017) and Extreme Job (2019) hit the 10 million viewer mark.

In 2011, Korea was the guest of honor at the Guanajuato International Film Festival. 76 Korean films were shown, including Whispering Corridors and Bedeviled by directors Bong-Joon-ho and Kim Dongwon, which were shown in the horror category.

At the India International Film Festival, Goa, held in November 2016, South Korea was selected as the focus country for the first time, and director Im Kwon-taek received the Lifetime Achievement Award. The film, directed by Lee Joon-ik, The Throne was also shown in the International Competition category, while The Age of Shadows by director Kim Jee-woon was selected as the graduation film.

1. Most Respected Admiral in History, Yi Sun-sin The Admiral: Roaring Currents, a film based on the Battle of Myeongnyang, the fiercest battle of the Imjin Waeran (Japanese invasion of Korea, 1592-1598), sheds light on combat tactics and "loyalty" of Admiral Yi Sun-sin to his people. The film drew 17.61 million viewers, making it the top grossing film of all time in Korea.

2. Maestro Chung Myung-whunwar music director and conductor at the Opéra de la Bastille in Paris. In July 2013 he was awarded the Una Vita Nella Musica Prize by the Teatro de la Fenice in Venice.


In 2015 the pianist Cho Seong-jin became the first Korean to win the renowned International Chopin Piano Competition in Poland. The pianist's son Jeung-beum was also the first Korean to win in the piano category at the ARD International Music Competition in Munich in 2017.

Korean singers won the first three prizes at the Gian Battista Viotti International Music Competition in Italy in 2016. Meanwhile, Korean pianists won the first three prizes at the Prague Spring International Music Competition that same year.

Korea has many excellent solo singers such as Sumi Jo (soprano), Hei-kyung Hong (soprano), Youngok Shin (soprano), Kwangchul Youn (bass) and Samuel Yoon (bass-baritone). You have engagements all over the world. In the field of instrumental music, Yeol Eum Son (piano), Dong-hyek Lim (piano), Sarah Chang (violin) and Zia Hyunsu Shin (violin) perform regularly, mostly in Korea, the USA and various European countries. Lee Hee-ah, a pianist who has only two fingers on each hand, is particularly admired not only for her excellent playing, but also for her superior handling of her handicap.

A generation earlier, Koreans also excelled in the field of classical music. They include the two pianists Han Tong-il and Paik Kun-woo. They fascinated audiences for two decades, from the 1950s to the 1970s, and they still play for their fans today.

Chung Myung-whun, a world-famous pianist, has received more recognition for his conducting in recent years. He conducted some of the world's most prestigious orchestras, including the Berlin Philharmonic and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, before becoming music director and chief conductor of the Opéra de la Bastille in Paris. Chung was also chief conductor of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra and now leads the One Korea Youth Orchestra. As a member of the Chung Trio, he regularly gives concerts with his two sisters Chung Kyung-wha, who has achieved worldwide fame as a violinist, and Chung Myungwha, who plays the cello.

Musical theater

The Korean theater audience has recently shown increased interest in musicals, so world-famous productions such as Jekyll & Hyde, Chicago and Cats have also been shown in Korea, either with the original cast or with Korean actors. But there are also many talented Koreans who have written and staged new musicals. Some of these productions have been shown in Japan and Southeast Asia. The success of these musicals also made some of the actors such as Choi Jung-won, Nam Kyung-joo and Jo Seungwoo famous, while others became great musical stars after making a name for themselves in the K-pop scene, including Yoon Bok-hee, Insooni and Ock Joo-hyun.

Kim Ki-min and Olesya Novikova at the performance of Swan Lake by the Mariinsky Ballet and Orchestra. Kim is the first Asian dancer to become a member of the Mariinsky Ballet.

Modern dance and ballet

With the establishment of the National Dance Company of Korea in 1962, Koreans became more interested in modern dance. A great dancer, Sin Cha Hong (or Hong Sin-ja, born 1943) stepped into the public spotlight. She is now regarded as a performance artist and Korea's first avant-garde dancer. She was a student of Alwin Nikolais in the USA and worked there until 1990. After returning to Korea, she devoted herself to modern dance. In 1980 two ballet ensembles were founded in Korea, the Universal Ballet (1984) and the Seoul Ballet (1986), which perform with their own productions in Korea and overseas. Kang Suejin is one of the most famous ballet dancers. In 1986 she was the first Asian woman to become a member of the Stuttgart Ballet and is now artistic director of the Korean National Ballet.

Other successful ballet dancers are Seo Hee, who became a member of the ABT Studio Ensemble in 2004 and performed as a solo dancer in 2012, and Kim Ki-min, who became the first Asian ballet and solo dancer in Mariinski Ballet in 2011.

Park Seon-mee, a student at the Korea National University of Arts, became the first Korean woman to win the Moscow International Ballet Competition in June 2017, one of the three largest ballet competitions in the world.

1. The Gwangju Biennale As one of the most important art fairs in Asia, the Gwangju Biennale has made a decisive contribution to the development of close relationships between Gwangju, all of Korea and the world through its engagement with contemporary art. The Gwangju Biennale has existed since 1995 and is the first fair of its kind in Asia.

2.The Vegetarian by the internationally recognized Korean writer Han Kang

Modern art

The internationally known painter Lee Jong-sang is considered a representative of traditional Korean painting. Lee U-fan, Park Seo-bo and Lim Ok-sang, on the other hand, are among the Korean painters who are famous for their modern, unique style. The founder of video art Nam June Paik died in 2006. In Insadong and Samcheong-dong in Seoul, many art galleries invite you to visit, including the Gana Art Space, the Seoul Art Center Gongpyeong Gallery and the Kyung-in Museum of Fine Art also many galleries can be found in the districts of Cheongdam-dong and Hannamdong. The Gwangju Biennale, which took place for the first time in 1995 and opens its doors every two years, is now regarded as one of the largest art fairs in Asia.

Modern literature

As a writer, Han Kang has demonstrated the potential for the globalization of modern Korean literature. Her novel Die Vegetarianin won the Man Booker International Prize in 2016 in English translation, which is considered one of the three most prestigious literary prizes in the world. Han Kang's Human Acts received the Italian Malaparte Prize in 2017.

Immediately after Shin Kyong-sook's novel Please Look After Mom was published by the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group in the USA, the book was among the top ten on the Amazon bestseller list and appeared in 30 countries in Asia and Japan, in Europe and Australia.

After the book was also published in Slovenian, the author traveled to Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, in June 2012 for a book presentation of her novel.

After the establishment of the Department of Korean Studies at Sofia University in Bulgaria in 1995, more and more contemporary Korean novels and short stories were translated for local readers, including A Dwarf Launches a Little Ball by Cho Se-hui and Our Twisted Hero by Yi Mun Yol.

In 2008, the King Sejong Institute was founded, a cultural institution dedicated to spreading the Korean language around the world. For this purpose, 17 schools affiliated to the König Sejong Institute were opened in various countries in 2008. In July 2017 there were already 171 schools in 54 countries.

In September 2012 the 78th International Congress of the Pen Club met in Gyeongju, which was the capital of the ancient Silla Empire for a period of a thousand years. 900 writers from 114 countries took part in the congress, including Nobel Prize winners such as Jean-Mari Gustave Le Clézia from France, Akinwande Oluwole Wole Soyinka from Nigeria and Ferit Orhan Pamuk from Turkey. The Congress had previously met twice in Korea, in 1970 and 1988.

Korean cuisine and culinary specialties

Korean food culture can also be seen as a Hallyu division. In the world's major metropolises, in New York, London and Paris, there are now restaurants that offer traditional Korean dishes that are praised by even the most critical gourmets. Kimchi, bulgogi and bibimbap as well as other favorite dishes of Koreans for many generations are now prepared in numerous households around the world. In America, chefs in many restaurants combine traditional Korean dishes with Western cuisine. For example, the New York Bibimbap burger, kimchi hotdogs and gochujang steaks, which are open to the exotic and all new products, are on the table.

After ranking fourth on the National Restaurant Association's list of hottest ethnic dishes in 2013, Korean cuisine ranked second in 2014. This reflects a shift in perception among Americans and a significant increase in visits to Korean restaurants in the United States. There are around 5,000 Korean restaurants in the country, with an average annual growth rate of 3.5% between 2011 and 2016. The most famous Korean dish in the US is kimchi. The tangy taste and health benefits, such as anti-cancer properties, have attracted attention. Roy Choi, a Korean-American chef whose Korean-Mexican kimchi tacos took the United States by storm, made Time magazine's list of the world's 100 most influential people in 2016.

There are more than 100 Korean restaurants in Paris alone. More than half of the visitors are French. Initially, only Koreans and their Asian friends went there. Bulgogi and bibimbap are the most popular dishes in Korean restaurants in Paris. Bibimbap is particularly valued for its balanced nutritional content and good taste.

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