[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
Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology
University of Oxford
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