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'Hallyu' Boom Sweeps Uzbekistan

2005/05/11 | 171 views | Permalink | Source

The popularity of Korean pop-culture is skyrocketing in Uzbekistan as popular Korean television dramas are being aired to mark President Roh Moo-hyun's visit to the country. Uzbek people have much in common with Koreans such as Ural Altai linguistic roots, and Uzbekistan regards Korea as its third major partner after the U.S. and Russia. To commemorate Roh's recent visit to the country, the Uzbek state-run broadcaster has been showing scenes from Korean dramas that previously aired in full on Uzbekistan's national television.

"Winter Sonata" and "Summer Scent" are the most popular Korean dramas with Uzbeks so far, with "Winter Sonata" recording viewer ratings of 60 percent.

Korean-Uzbeks say the popularity of Korean culture has soared not only because of dramas but also thanks to the performance of the National Dance Company of Korea in Tashkent in July of last year, which introduced traditional Korean dance to the Uzbek audience.

More and more Uzbeks are even learning Korean these days. Currently, Korean language and literature courses are taught at Tashkent University, Nizami Teachers Training College, the University of Foreign Studies, and the University of Economics and International Relations. Korean language courses provided by private institutes are enjoying enormous popularity as well.

"'Winter Sonata' was popular with Uzbeks in 2003 to the extent that they associated all Korean women with the drama's main female character, who typically wore a duffle coat in the drama. And interest in Korean culture is on the rise again these days due to President Roh's recent visit to Uzbekistan", said Lee Yeo-kyung, who teaches Korean at Tashkent University.

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