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Korean Movies: Cultural Envoys for Iran

2009/11/13 | Permalink | Source

By Mahdi Sadati
Contributing Writer

TEHERAN-About 23 million Iranians have access to the Internet, enabling them to communicate with other communities and obtain information according to their interests. Many of these users are teenagers who usually search for photos and video clips of their favorite actors and singers. Online shopping is also becoming popular with young people.

If you search for the names of Korean stars whose movies have been broadcast in Iran, you can find many Web sites and blogs that Iranians have made for their favorite stars. At (Open the link class='liennormal' href="korean_drama_Jumong.php"> you can find the latest movie information and gossip, and buy movies like "Shining Inheritance" and "Terms of Endearment".Another site, from which I have bought several Korean movies is (Open the link). It offers the latest Korean dramas and TV series at the best prices, less than $15.

In Iran there is no copyright for foreign movies and software; thus, you can find many Web sites that offer free downloads of every popular movie and TV series.

Korean dramas have storylines that people can easily identify, and the plots and themes are equally easy to follow. There is little complexity to the stories, which makes it easy to distinguish between good and evil roles. Korean dramas are a mixture of history and fables.

The costumes in Korean dramas are beautiful and all of them are brightly colored. These ancient outfits cover the whole body, which is similar to customs for Iranian women. This makes Iranian women want to buy Korean dresses.

The characters in these dramas are very important in capturing the attention of Iranians, especially young people. The key characters are well cast in their roles and their faces really express what's going on in their minds. In Korean dramas, Iranian people see people with many different characteristics and through them they can imagine love, hatred, jealousy, sacrifice and treason.

The first Korean drama broadcast by Iranian state-run TV was "A Jewel in the Palace" ("Dae Jang Geum"). It was full of new, innovative and creative scenes and stories. The soap opera is about a cook who overcomes many hardships to become the first female royal physician of the Joseon Dynasty of Korea.

Many Iranians could empathize with the female actress Lee Young-ae, and if you were in Iran, you could see that many people talked about her character and the challenges she faced.

Korea is rich in both culture and civilization, and Iran also has a great and ancient history but not many movies have been produced about its history. Eastern countries are known for being more sympathetic to Western countries and this can often be observed in movies.

Western movies are beautiful because of the use of special effects but Eastern movies, on the contrary, are brilliant because of their portrayal of human behavior and attitudes. A good example of this is the American television series "Heroes".

In this show there is a contrast between the Western characters who only are self-absorbed with no ethical or moral connection to one another and Hiro (the Japanese hero). Hiro stays loyal to his friend and talks passionately about his family and his desire to do well, whereas the Western character "Sylar" is abusive towards people and then kills them.

One of obvious effects of Korean dramas on Iranian society is the growing interest in young people to learn the Korean language. If you like someone, it is obvious that you try to learn about him or her. A good movie can provoke many to investigate and learn about the culture and language of its country of origin. Iranians in Korea have created a blog,, to teach Korean to its users

Korean actors are used by LG to advertise electronic devices in Iran, and this factor, plus the good quality of the products, is benefiting the Korean economy.

These two countries could have more cultural contact with each other, and Iranian and Korean movies could play the role of cultural envoys. Through cinema, Koreans and Iranians could become more familiar with each other's literature and culture, and this could help to improve bilateral relationships. Politicians could also consider these facts and use them as a basis for improving relationships between the two countries
Iranian Magazine "Hamshahry Javan", literally meaning "young citizen", reported about the "Jumong" Drama and its effects in Iran in its Volume 225.

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