September 3, 2012

K-pop diplomacy

South Korea’s soft power goes Gangnam Style.

The South Korean entertainment wave has crashed onto the global scene with the song "Gangnam Style". Set in a ritzy Seoul neighbourhood, the video has been seen by some as satire and a commentary on South Korean materialism. In less than two months, more than 95 million have clicked on the Youtube music video, making it the biggest hit in K-Pop, or Korean pop, history.

The video’s viral success parallels the rise of South Korean soft power: exports of video games, TV shows and music have doubled since 1999. As the influence of “Gangnam Style” grows, is it being used for political soft power?

In this episode of The Stream, we speak to Sukjong Hong (@hongriver), Writer for Open City Magazine; Esther Oh, Online News Editor at CJ Entertainment and Media; and Simon and Martina Stawski, Founders of @EatYourKimchi.

What do you think? Does the industry reflect the pressures to succeed found in Korean society? Send us your thoughts and comments on Facebook or Twitter using #AJStream.