Not everybody likes the Korean Wave, apparently

At least not in Cambodia:

At a nearby café, a Chinese-Cambodian businesswoman said she was saving money to get cosmetic surgery in Gangnam, the glamorous Beverly Hills of Seoul that Psy raps about in his global hit.

But the lure of plastic surgery in Korea – a trendy item for Asian women who want the pointy nose and larger eyes they consider beautiful – is apparently wearing off too.

“I should be careful. I don’t want to look like those K-pop girls. Too fake,” she said. “And those K-drama men, ugh, they look girly. Too much make-up.”

Don’t read too much into this, though:

Opposition to Korean Wave usually rides on other frictions, and doesn’t always come down to acceptance or rejection of Korean pop culture itself. “As political issues rise and fall, culture can get sucked in. But so do cars, appliances, and whatever else,” said Mark Russell, author of Pop Goes Korea: Behind the Revolution in Movies, Music and Internet Culture.
“Girls Generation’s ‘Gee’ has 95 million YouTube hits,” Russell said. “Frank Ocean doesn’t have more than 12 million for a song.”

I’ll say this—a lot of the traffic at my Tumblr photoblog comes from “foreign” teenage K-pop and K-drama fans, of which there appears to be legions. At least on Tumblr.

  • SomeguyinKorea

    Comparing Girls Generation and Frank Ocean?  Good choice.  Both are like an icepick to my eardrums.

  • pawikirogii 석아

    i read that article and concluded the piece said more about the author than it said about the alleged decline of the k wave.

  • will.i.aint

    I’ll say this—a lot of the traffic at my Tumblr photoblog comes from “foreign” teenage K-pop and K-drama fans, of which there appears to be legions. At least on Tumblr.

    I was always a little skeptical about the whole overseas K-drama craze.

    But then a few years ago, while visiting the US, I went searching for a website to download Korean dramas, so that my wife wouldn’t miss any episodes while she was out of the country.  I found a forum that had the download links.  Interestingly enough, it was a forum for Hungarian K-drama fans, and it included a section for those who translate the dialogue from Korean into Hungarian and create subtitles.

    Now keep in mind – Hungary is a country with a population of roughly 10 million.  So I couldn’t help but wonder . . . are there REALLY so many K-drama fans in Hungary that it justifies all of the work that goes into translating the dialogue into Hungarian and creating subtitles?  I asked one of the people who did the translations/subtitling — and he said there are thousands of K-drama fans in Hungary and the popularity of the shows just continues to grow.

  • Gorky

    the white album barely has 400,000 hits.
    i think at this rate it is safe to say that the beatles will never be as popular as girls generation.

  • stereo

    What do you mean by your last paragraph? Why did you put foreign in quotation? What does “legion” mean? Does it mean “a lot”, or “activist group”?

  • Robert Koehler

    I put “foreign” because they’re probably not “foreign” in their countries of residence, and in this case, “legion” means a lot.

  • pipokun

    says a lot about this generation. 

  • pipokun

    for a little fan group on a forum? why not?

  • DC Musicfreak

    This is a bit off, logicwise: “Such a reaction is partly due to the growing perception that South Korean pop culture is shallow, a view perpetuated by the relentless sponsoring of K-pop by the South Korean government, often at the expense of its traditional culture.
    Each year, the government has increased spending on K-pop by 12 percent, but has stepped up spending on traditional culture by only 2 percent, according to Daniel Tudor, author of Korea: The Impossible Country.”

    SE Asian kids are not clamoring for pansori and the like and the government sponsorship is usually a mark against or at least a burden for K-pop, but not really criticized as a sign it is shallow.  Not everybody’s ready for deep material like Taylor Swift or Justin Bieber  anyway. 😉

  • keyinjpop

    Anybody see the English translation for GG’s “I Got A Boy” song? It would piss off so many extreme feminists.

    Judging from some of the sites I frequent, K-pop has a noticeably big following. Still small compared to mainstream American acts but big nonetheless and it’s mostly teens and twenty-somethings. I guessing Frank Ocean fans don’t waste their time in front of the computer pressing F5 for view counts.

  • Annie Nonimus

    Well, no one compares new releases to catalogue sales. But feel free to wig out about subjects you clearly don’t understand.

  • gbnhj

    Also, check this for an insight into the music business. That song appears to have gotten shopped around originally as an English-version song, before GG recorded it in Korean.

  • dabin

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  • Brendon Carr

    I think they’re missing out on pansori in Southeast Asia, for what it’s worth.