Cookie-cutter hallyu won’t last long: culture minister

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Sept 3, 2014 - 21:25
  • Updated : Sept 3, 2014 - 21:25
New Culture Minister Kim Jong-deok said Wednesday that hallyu was bound to lose its appeal unless it moves on from its current cookie-cutter style and content.

“Hallyu is now driven mostly by (the popularity of a small bunch of) entertainers (the so-called hallyu stars,)” he told a group of reporters in Seoul on Wednesday. But that’s not a sustainable strategy.

Speaking at his first press conference since taking office on Aug. 21, the minister stressed the need for genuine cultural exchange and cultural diversity if hallyu is to reach another level and develop into a source of “soft power” for Korea. 
Culture Minister Kim Jong-deok

“Fundamentally, hallyu is about cultural exchange. And I mean exchange, not one-way traffic in which Korea only exports things,” he said.

Hallyu started in the late 1990s with a string of successful Korean soap operas in Japan and China. Now with K-pop at the forefront, it is reaching out to a broader audience in Europe, the Americas and the Middle East.

The next stage of hallyu that he envisions is when this exchange takes root in Korea, a country that is ethnically and culturally homogeneous.

“Through these exchanges, Koreans will learn to enjoy other cultures,” which then will spur their creativity, he added.

Before joining the ministry, Kim taught industrial design at Seoul’s Hongik University, with his expertise and experience spanning various areas such as computer games, advertising and film.

By Lee Sun-young (