Planting K-Pop on US soil, SM Entertainment announced its plans to create the SMTOWN Museum in Los Angeles. On August 7, SM Entertainment revealed that it will be building a place for US residents to experience hallyu in Los Angeles. The new SMTOWN Museum (tentative name) will be located at 6th and Oxford in Koreatown. “We’ve been planning for a long time to create a place where residents in Hollywood could experience hallyu, but we decided that it was more meaningful to bring US residents and tourists who were interested in hallyu to LA’s Koreatown,” said the agency.
It was only a matter of time. In the span of a decade, Korean pop music has gone from relative obscurity to sweep the entire Asian continent. Now, with a little help from Psy, K-pop has cast its eye on the potentially lucrative markets in the Americas and Europe. First came the United States, then Mexico. MBLAQ, a popular Korean boy band, arrived in Mexico this week for their first concert in Central and South America.
The stunning success of the video and the song has turned assumptions about nation branding and images of Korean upside down... "Gangnam Style" was an unexpected hit, not a promoted one...This says volumes about efforts to promote Korean cultural products overseas: What Koreans like is not necessarily what foreigners like.
Over the past few years, Korean popular culture, often abbreviated as “K-pop,” has gained immense popularity in many countries. Following the initial surge of interest in Korean television dramas and popular music, nowadays all things Korean ― from food, movies and dances to fashion and language ― are quite the rage.
Kazuo Korenaga, executive director of the Japan-Korea Economic Association in Tokyo, a group that seeks to promote business and cultural exchange between the two countries, said that, “Politics should be politics, the economy should be the economy. Economic sectors, including the treatment of South Korean stars in the Korean boom, should not be influenced by this issue.”
The "Korean Wave," known as "hallyu," began when the MBC TV soap opera "What is Love?" became a sensation in China after being first broadcast on the state-run CCTV channel in 1996. The Chinese audience response to "Daejanggeum (Jewel in the Palace)," a Korean costume drama starring Lee Young-ae and shown in the country in 2005, was also explosive.
As the Korean wave sweeps over Asia and the rest of the world, there is a growing audience for all things Korean. There are already dozens of K-pop sites, allkpop has 75 million views a month, but koreaBANG has a harder news edge.
South Korea has successfully individualized itself in Asia by forming a mainstream culture that has increasingly isomorphic qualities in the Eastern Hemisphere. This also coincides with the government’s public diplomacy strategy of successfully promoting Korea as a brand.