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Korean drama gains popularity in Taiwan

2011/08/22 | Permalink | Source

By Kang Hyun-kyung

The increase in content of Korean dramas on Taiwan TV networks is proof of their gaining popularity.

According to the South Korean mission in Taipei, 120 Korean dramas in total have been televised in the country in the first half of this year, which is as many as Japanese dramas.

In light of viewer ratings, made-in-Korea soap operas are as high as Japanese dramas in Taiwan where Japanese cultural products are very popular.

Ming-Liang Liu, assistant representative of the Taipei Mission in Seoul, said the Confucian culture shaped the backbone of Korean dramas and among others, this is a key reason of their popularity in Taiwan.

"(As many people already know) Taiwanese people, and not to mention of Chinese, are heavily affected by the Confucian culture and still many cherish the traditional cultural code. They miss this element because many dramas aired in Taiwan don't feature this any longer", he said. "I clearly see that Korean dramas have that cultural code. I think this explains why Taiwanese people are so attached to Korean dramas".

Among hundreds of dramas that have been aired, the "Dae Jang Geum", "Full House" are in the top 10 popular Korean dramas' list in Taiwan.

Dramas played a leading role in the eruption of the Korean wave in Asia and some part of the Middle Eastern countries, including Iran. The trend is changing now as K-pop stars "stole the show".

Industry experts said social media, including YouTube, played a key role in "creating" the Korean wave boom in some European countries like France and Latin American countries such as Peru.

Apparently overshadowed by K-pop or Korean pop idols, the popularity of Korean dramas appeared to wane slowly in some regions.

But Korean dramas are still popular in Taiwan. Liu said the term hallyu was coined in his country in 1997 after the drama "Fireworks" appealed to the hearts of Taiwanese viewers.

Actress Lee Young-ae, a heroine of "Dae Jang Geum" that mesmerized the global viewers, played a lead role in "Fireworks".

Hallyu in Chinese implies that Korean dramas are overwhelmingly competitive and thus people in the Taiwanese entertainment industry need to be wary of their influence in Taiwan.

The popularity of Korean dramas was associated with a rapid increase of Taiwanese tourists to Korea.

Hallyu prompted a popular debate in Taiwan and other countries whether there was a role that the Korean government financed the production of dramas.

Industry experts denied this. Producers and directors noted that the-survival-of-the fittest rule dominated the industry and heavy competition prodded them to make dramas that can appeal to viewers.

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