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definition - Korean drama

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Korean drama


Korean drama (Korean: 한국드라마) refers to televised dramas, in a miniseries format, produced in the Korean language. Many of these dramas have become popular throughout Asia and have contributed to the general phenomenon of the Korean wave, known as Hallyu (Korean: 한류), and also "drama fever" in some countries.[1] Most popular Korean dramas have also become popular in other parts of the world such as Latin America, the Middle East, and elsewhere.



Generally speaking, there are two main genres of Korean dramas. The first genre resembles western soap operas with shorter, terminating plots, and without the obvious sexual references often found in Western dramas. These dramas typically involve conflicts associated with relationships, money bargaining, relationships between in-laws (usually between the mother and son/daughter in law). As well, they often include complicated love triangles where the female hero usually falls in love with a "bad boy" main character who mistreats her. These dramas last anywhere from 16 episodes to over 100 (most often not exceeding 20).[citation needed]

The other main genre is Korean historical dramas (also known as sa geuk), which are fictionalized dramatizations of Korean history. Korean historical dramas typically involve very complex story lines with elaborate costumes, sets, and special effects.[2] Martial arts, sword fighting, and horsemanship are frequently a big component of Korean historical dramas as well. Typically, Korean dramas, whether the historical dramas or modern dramas, are characterized by excellent production quality, characters with depth, and intelligent scriptwriting but largely rely on the use of archetypal characters.[3]

  Popularity in Japan

The first Korean drama to gain widespread popularity in Japan was Winter Sonata, which was broadcast on the NHK satellite channel NHK BS2 in 2003. The program was aired twice in the same year due to high demand from viewers.[4] NHK even hosted a classical concert featuring Winter Sonata's melodic tunes performed by Korean musicians. Actor Bae Yong Joon, who played the male lead in Winter Sonata, is known as "Yon - sama".[4]

Some have claimed that Korean drama has improved relations between the two countries as more Japanese people became interested in Korean culture. Greater exposure to all things Korean, including language, cuisine, and history not only positively influenced the perception of Koreans among Japanese people, but also relieved some of the antagonism many Koreans had felt towards Japan. The increased interest in Korean culture has promoted Japanese tourism to South Korea and many tours geared towards fans of Winter Sonata and other Korean drama programs have attracted thousands of visitors to the country. Conversely, the series Iris had several pivotal scenes shot in Akita, Japan, which lead to an increase of Korean tourists in that part of Japan.[5][6][7]

Former Japanese prime minister Junichiro Koizumi has been known to be a big fan of Choi Ji Woo, known as "Jiwoo-hime" or "Princess Ji-woo" in Japan. The former Japanese first lady Miyuki Hatoyama, wife of former prime minister Yukio Hatoyama, has often proclaimed her love of Korean drama, even claiming that it is the secret to her youthful appearance.[8]

  Popularity in China

In 2006, South Korean programs on Chinese government TV networks accounted for more than all other foreign programs combined.[9]

  Popularity in Hong Kong

The Endless Love set of four romantic series hit Hong Kong in the early 21st Century. In 2005, Dae Jang Geum was broadcast on Hong Kong's TVB Jade network in Cantonese, further continuing the Korean wave in Hong Kong following the former part of the decade. Dae Jang Geum became the most highly-rated television series broadcast in Hong Kong of all time, until 2008 TVB drama Moonlight Resonance tied with it in terms of viewership ratings. Many other Korean dramas followed, and in 2008, TVB released its TVB J2 channel, which broadcast many more Korean series, intending for a younger audience. Its pay-TV service, TVB Payvision's drama channel also broadcast Korean dramas (as well as Japanese drama and Taiwanese dramas). The popularity of Korean dramas in Hong Kong also sparked an interest in K-pop and tourism to Korea.

  Popularity in India

Korean dramas have become popular in India, particularly in Manipur where Hindi films and TV serials were banned in 2000. As a result, local television stations began broadcasting subtitled Korean dramas instead. Many young people in Northeast India copy the hairstyles and clothes of the Korean actors.[10][11] Now-a-days they are popular in Tamilnadu too, especially in Karur, Namakkal & Coimbatore.Korean Dramas are also popular among K-Pop & Anime fans.

  Popularity in Thailand

When the popular drama of Dae Jang Geum was on the air in Thailand, Korean food started gaining wide popularity in Thailand.[citation needed] Due to lop-sided nature of entertainment exports favoring South Korea, the Thai government requested increased introduction of popular Thai films to South Korean media outlets. This led to the signing of an Agreement of Cultural Cooperation between the two countries in August 2004.[12]

  Popularity in Vietnam

The Saigon Broadcasting Television Network airs many Vietnamese dubbed Korean dramas.

  Popularity in the Philippines

Asian dramas, including Korean, have become hits in the 2000s.

The huge demand from viewers for Asian telenovelas has prompted Philippine TV stations to import Korean and Taiwanese dramas.

Top Korean drama series (locally called "Koreanovelas") like "Lovers in Paris," "Full House," "My Name is Sam Soon," "Stairway to Heaven" and "Coffee Prince" were imported and dubbed in Filipino, instantly becoming hits.

The success of "Dae Jang Geum" (or "Jewel in the Palace") in Korea was also replicated in the Philippines and many other Asian countries.

The Taiwanese drama "Meteor Garden" was also a ratings success when it aired years ago.

Its remake, the Korean "Boys over Flowers" starring Lee Min-ho, Kim Hyun-joong, Kim Boom, Kim Joon and actress Koo Hye-sun, also succeeded in capturing audiences. It was aired in the Philippines on ABS-CBN from May to August and became a phenomenal success.

"It is the phenomenal hit for idol dramas this year with its ratings peaking at 33 percent in the metropolitan area here. It was the No. 5 program overall nationwide following the primetime dramas and newscast, and No. 1 in its timeslot," said Leng Raymundo, ABS-CBN vice president for program acquisition, quoting TNS ratings.

Top Philippine TV stations GMA Network and ABS-CBN are leading the way in importing Korean dramas.

In past years, GMA Network aired a score of dramas, including ``Full House," "All About Eve," "My Name is Sam Soon," "Stairway to Heaven," "Jewel in the Palace," "Endless Love I: Autumn in My Heart", "Endless Love II: Winter Sonata," among others, according to Joey Abacan, GMA Network vice president for Program Management.

ABS-CBN, for its part, has aired a number of Koreanovelas, including "Marrying a Millionaire," "101st Proposal," "Green Rose" and "Memories of Bali."

Abacan says Filipinos love Koreanovelas because they can relate to the stories.

"Filipinos love drama and stories that we can relate to. Most of the time, the Korean dramas are quite escapist and moving. Aside from the touching plotlines, the production is really a visual experience of places that most of us are not accustomed to seeing," he said. [13]

  Popularity and availability in North America

Korean dramas became popular in the United States particularly in regions with populations of ethnic Koreans. The spread of the popularity of Korean dramas typically centered around these regions perhaps because Korean drama programming is publicly available in those broadcast areas. Now, due to information spread via the Internet, cable and satellite TV, and DVD rental businesses, along with K-dramas' quality English subtitling and good production quality, Korean dramas have become even more popular across a diverse American audience.[citation needed]

In November 2008, Netflix began offering several Korean dramas as part of its video selection. In August 2009, DramaFever began offering free subtitled video streaming service, with video advertisements, in the United States.[14] As of May 2010, Korean dramas began airing on a DramaFever channel on Hulu. Additionally, Korean dramas are available at online DVD retailers. Some Korean dramas, however, are not available for region 1 (North America) encoding and NTSC video format.

  Popularity in Latin America

Some Korean dramas have gained modest popularity in Latin American countries such as Brazil, Mexico, Peru, and Chile.[citation needed]

  Notable actors

Jang Keun Suk

  References in other media

The format was parodied in MADtv with Bobby Lee and Korean American guest-stars Sung Kang and Cathy Shim. Korean drama clichés also appear in a comedic way, including the camera set-up style, constant replayed clips, melodramatic music, and the tragic love triangle. The MADtv parody also features exaggerated English "subtitles", which are relevant to the plot, but do not actually translate the Korean words spoken that are actually irrelevant to the plot, satirizing the incorrect and exaggerated subtitles found on some foreign-language films and TV shows.

  See also


  1. ^ Chitransh, Anugya. "‘Korean Wave’ takes Indian kids in its sway". The Times of India. http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-06-03/india/32005319_1_korean-drama-korean-wave-korean-tv. Retrieved 7 June 2012. 
  2. ^ Eckersley, M (ed.) 2009, Drama from the rim: Asian Pacific drama book, 2nd ed., Drama Victoria, Melbourne. p56.
  3. ^ Eckersley, M (ed.) 2009, Drama from the rim: Asian Pacific drama book, 2nd ed., Drama Victoria, Melbourne. p57.
  4. ^ a b Winter Sonata Fever in Japan. Uniorb.com. Retrieved on 2011-08-15.
  5. ^ Inoue, Chihiro (2009-04-13). "Spy drama pulls S.Koreans to Akita". The Japan Times. http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20100413f1.html. Retrieved 2010-04-26. 
  6. ^ (Korean) 이해리 (2009-02-04). "아리가또∼ 아이리스". Donga. http://news.donga.com/3//20100204/25945864/1. Retrieved 2010-04-21. 
  7. ^ "Akita sees huge increase in Korean tourists". Japan Probe. 2010-01-16. http://www.japanprobe.com/2010/01/16/akita-sees-huge-increase-in-korean-tourists/. Retrieved 2010-04-23. 
  8. ^ [1][dead link]
  9. ^ Faiola, Anthony (August 31, 2006). "Japanese Women Catch the 'Korean Wave'". The Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/30/AR2006083002985_2.html. 
  10. ^ Sunita, Akoijam (April 4, 2012). "Korea Comes to Manipur". Caravan Magazine. http://www.caravanmagazine.in/Story/522/Korea-Comes-to-Manipur.html. Retrieved April 4, 2012. 
  11. ^ "India's northeast mesmerized by South Korea". Agence France-Presse. April 4, 2012. http://news.yahoo.com/video/world-15749633/india-s-northeast-mesmerized-by-south-korea-28827262.html#crsl=%252Fvideo%252Fworld-15749633%252Findia-s-northeast-mesmerized-by-south-korea-28827262.html. Retrieved April 4, 2012. 
  12. ^ Royal Thai Embassy, Seoul || Home > Thailand – ROK Relations > Bilateral relations. Thaiembassy.or.kr. Retrieved on 2011-08-15.
  13. ^ Korean Dramas Continue to Captivate the Philippines
  14. ^ Knock it off: Global treaty against media piracy won't work in Asia Jeff Yang, SFGate, November 11, 2009.


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