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Youn Yuh-jung, Oh My Girl bag trophies at Korea Popular Culture and Arts Awards

K-pop idol group Oh My Girl receives Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Commendation (Yonhap)
K-pop idol group Oh My Girl receives Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Commendation (Yonhap)
K-pop cultural icons including Oscar-winning actor Youn Yuh-jung, television director Kim Tae-ho, idol groups NCT Dream and Oh My Girl were named as the winners of the Korea Popular Culture and Arts Awards on Thursday.

The 12th edition of the annual awards, conferred by the Korea Creative Content Agency and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, recognized individuals’ contributions in spreading the Korean Wave.

A total of 29 celebrities from diverse areas of the entertainment industry were awarded this year.

Youn Yuh-jung won the Geumgwan Order of Cultural Merit, the awards’ highest honor, recognizing her contribution to the Korean film scene through her Oscar-winning performance in the US film “Minari.”

Singer-songwriter Lee Jang-hee and the late film producer Lee Chun-yeon received the second-highest Eungwan medal.

Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Commendations were given to nine artists, including boy band NCT Dream. Actress Han Ye-ri was among the seven artists who received the Prime Minister Commendations, while TV director Kim Tae-ho and other six artists racked up the Presidential Commendations at the awards.

The 12th Korea Popular Culture and Arts Awards, which were held off Thursday at the National Theater of Korea, central Seoul, started off with a joint performance by rapper Aquinas, trot singer Kim Tae-yeon and dance crew Alien. K-pop stars NCT Dream and Oh My Girl followed with their performances.

Culture Minister Hwang Hee delivered his congratulatory speech at the event, expressing gratitude to those who contributed to promoting Korean pop culture and the arts.

“While all the people in cultural sector suffered greatly by the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic, we have witnessed the miracle with Korean cultural contents coming to global fans attention more than ever. We are well aware that this is created by the blood, sweat and tears of singers, actors, comedians, voice actors, screenwriters, performers and more,” Hwang said.

“We are truly proud of all the people who contributed to raising Korea’s soft power, which transcends national boundaries and races. The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism will support and promise to be with the artists and workers in the pop culture industry to enhance the power of Korean culture,” he added.

By Lee Si-jin (sj_lee@heraldcorp.com)
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