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Top 10 News Part 4- The Year's Cultural High Notes

2006/12/20 Source

In this fourth installment of the year's top ten news, we look at the cultural high notes of 2006.
The year's highlights range across the creative spectrum from pop music and movies to dramas and non-verbal performances.
Son Heekyung has this overview.

Korean pop culture has quickly spread across Asia in the past few years.
2006 was no exception for the Korean wave thanks to musical artists like Rain, Boa and Seven, all of whom helped promote Korean pop culture across Asia.
Their concerts in and out of the country attracted hordes of young crowds and created a fanatical following.
Biggest of them all was superstar singer Rain, who expanded his popularity beyond Asia.
He became the first Asian to hold a solo concert at New York's Madison Square Garden.
Recently, he launched a six-month concert tour of 35 cities in 12 countries.
Rain also made history as the first Korean entertainer named to Time magazine's list of the year's 100 most influential people.
His major contributions to the spread of Korean pop culture abroad led to his being named a good will ambassador for the country's tourism sector.

RECORDED: "I will commit my utmost efforts to promoting Korea around the world. I hope foreign tourists will come to Korea and learn about its culture as well as visit the country's signature tourist sites. Oh, and get to know Korean music better, including mine".

Rain also made his motion-picture debut this year, but making this year's headlines in cinema was the release of the two biggest movies in Korean film history.
"The King and the Clown" assumed the all-time box office throne early this year, selling more than 12 million tickets nationwide.
Its reign didn't last long however as "The Host" ripped the record apart with its monster-themed action.
The country's biggest film festival celebrated its eleventh anniversary this year, solidifying its status as Asia's premier cinematic event.
The annual Pusan International Film Festival invited industry big wigs, directors and actors to the country's largest port city.
This year the venue was moved to the beach so more people could soak up the fun.

RECORDED: "For the festival to develop into one of the world's dynamic film events what's important is the next 10 years. We have laid the groundwork for its future by holding a large number of world premieres, and upgrading the business side".

The little-known topic of "gisaeng", Korea's Joseon-era female entertainers grew as a cultural phenomenon in the second half of the year, propelled by the TV drama "Hwangjin-i".
Experts say "gisaeng" culture can appeal to people from all backgrounds and with its unique artistry could join the Korean wave.

Recorded: "During the Joseon Dynasty, gisaeng were seen as high culture. Gisaeng culture includes dance, song and musical instruments and is still considered traditional culture. Through engaging this topic, people can escape their everyday life and learn about Korea's past".

And, after romping its way through the US, breakdance is emerging as Korea's newest cultural product.
The hip-hop dance scene exploded after domestic b-boy crews won the world's most notable breakdance battles.
Since then, more aspiring dancers got their groove on, and their variety of onstage moves are sparking audiences' curiosity.
Audiences of foreigners, meanwhile, are raving over the percussion-driven stage show "Jump", including Prince Charles who saw the show in London.

On the classical music scene, pianist Kim Sunwook became the first Korean to win the prestigious Leeds International Pianoforte Competition.
Both genres are seen as ways to boost Korea's image beyond its borders.

The subtropical island of Jeju is hosting Asia's first Hallyu Expo, a feast of Korean TV dramas, movies and pop tunes.
The 100-day expo running through to March aims to heighten overseas awareness of Korean culture.

"The Korean wave keeps barreling its way across Asia and continues to sweep into other parts of the globe.
Sustaining that momentum, however, will require Korean stars to delve into other cultures and a further breaking of the language barrier.
And experts also say they hope that the cultural currents will increasingly move in more than one direction.

Son Heekyung, Arirang News".

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