[KS] Re: Korea-mania in China

Cheng Sea Ling c0cheng at hotmail.com
Wed Oct 3 12:19:32 EDT 2001

I write in response to Prof. Armstrong's observations of 'Korea-mania' in 
China. I have only observed bits and pieces of similar phenomenon in Hong 
Kong, where I am from but have only made short visits to in the past 5 
years. It is important to note that Hong Kong pop culture has had a strong 
influence on that of mainland China for what must be more than a decade. 
Pictures of HK pop idols as well as pop music could be seen and heard in 
many of the cities inland. BUt this is not to say that it's THROUGH HK that 
Korean culture enter the mainland.

In HK, Korean fashion became popular around 5 years ago, mostly by small 
boutique owners and their friends who personally travelled to Korea to buy 
clothes from Myongdong, Tongdaemun etc and accessories from Namdaemun at 
favourable prices. They have been selling well and people began to talk 
about 'Korean fasion' or 'Korean clothes' (my mother included). They became 
trendy and could be spotted in more and more shops and malls.  

Korean movies and TV drama made headway into the HK media slightly after 
that. Christmas in August attracted a large young audience in mainstream 
cinemas and was replayed at the Arts Centre, many queued up to watch Swiri 
and one of the most recent success was 'pan-chik-wang' (King Cheater?). I 
heard that the distributors purchased it at relatively low price and made 
much money after it became a big hit in HK. Korean productions seemed to be 
worthwhile investment for those in the media business, counting on its 
success. Some Korean movie stars  are also making a name on the local scene 
(Han Sokyu, Kim Eun-ha...Kim Hae-son first became famous for her 
association with Leon Lai [famous singer and actor in HK as well as 
mainland China and Korea]). Though I also read a gossip magazine that 
complains about Korean movie stars who don't have Chinese names but want to 
enter the Chinese market...

I think Korean media people have also made much effort to promote their 
productions. Korean drama has been dubbed into Putonghua by Taiwanese 
channels and put on Cable TV that I get here in England! Certainly, the 
exchanges are extensive and growing, and their significance waiting to be 

Sealing Cheng
Doctoral Student 
Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology
University of Oxford

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