Popular Japanese actress Nozomi Sasaki recently confessed through a social media live broadcast, “I fell in love with ‘Crash Landing on You’. “Senior broadcaster Tetsuko Kuroyanagi also introduced, “‘Crash Landing on You’ is the most interesting content I’ve seen lately.” ‘Crash Landing on You’ appears in a parody of comedians in Japan, and is used as a regular theme in entertainment programs. K-dramas with ‘Crash Landing on You’ and ‘Kingdom’ is creating a sensation in Japan, Southeast Asia, and North America beyond the sea. In the first half of this year, the fandom of Korean dramas is expanding all over the world as OTT viewing time increases due to COVID-19. In particular, in Japan, Korean dramas are emerging as the leading role in the ‘Korean Wave boom’ following ‘K-Pop’. As of the 27th of last month, three of the top five movies on Netflix in Japan are Korean dramas. ‘Crash Landing on You’ was in the top 10 for 10 weeks after it was first released, and it also climbed to number 1 in the 3rd week of May. ‘Itaewon Class’ (3rd place) and ‘The King’ (5th place) also followed, sparking the Korean Wave craze.
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In Japanese popular culture, ‘Korean dramas’ have been evaluated as old. This is because the content is for middle-aged fans who only like simple love stories. After ‘Winter Sonata’, the origin of the Korean Wave, ‘Hand’ has not been able to remove the tag as ‘for middle-aged women’. The formula that ‘Hand’ is for middle-aged women and ‘K-pop’ is for teenagers was also commonly used. The situation has changed 180 degrees since Netflix became the mainstream in Japan. This is because the interest in ‘Hand’ spread to all generations as content such as ‘Crash Landing on You’, ‘Itaewon Class’ and ‘The King’ hit the jackpot one after another. As Netflix said, “We plan to focus more on the production of world-popular K-content,” the Korean Wave in Japan is expected to expand further.
In Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, and Singapore, Korean dramas are also hitting high prices. ‘Itaewon Class’ swept the top spot on Netflix in these countries. In Hong Kong, ‘Kingdom’, ‘Crash Landing on You’ and ‘Itaewon Class’ once ranked 1st to 3rd in the city hall rankings side by side in March. The potential of Korean dramas has also been proven in the United States, the holy land of popular culture. According to Reel good, a streaming service information site, ‘Crash Landing on You’ (6th) and ‘Kingdom’ (9th) were named in the top 10 Netflix contents watched the most by Americans in the third week of March. The Korean zombie drama ‘Kingdom’ played a leading role in the spread of the Korean Wave in the United States. ‘Kingdom’, which was released to more than 190 countries around the world in March, was evaluated as “the most creative content” by combining the historical background of the Joseon Dynasty and the Western concept of ‘zombie’. Rotten Tomatoes, a site specializing in content criticism, rated the freshness of ‘Kingdom’ at 96%. With the popularity of the ‘Kingdom’ series, interest in Joseon Dynasty clothing has also increased in North America. The Joseon Dynasty hat ‘God’ was also sold on the online shopping mall Amazon.
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The K-content craze that shakes the world is expected to continue for a while. After ‘Parasite’ won the Oscars in the United States and the Grand Prize at the Cannes Film Festival in France, the premium was placed on Korean movies and dramas. It is known that Netflix paid much more than the production cost by purchasing the rights to ‘Time to Hunt’, which was difficult to release in theaters due to COVID-19. The thirst of American and Japanese pop culture consumers for fresh content is also beneficial for Korean content. In Japan, fear-eaten remakes of existing hits are a growing thirst for new storytelling. In the US, content consumers complaining of fatigue from overflowing heroes are emerging one after another. The fact that Korea is ranked as an excellent country in the prevention of COVID-19 also brightens the prospects for exporting cultural content. Kim Heon-sik, a popular culture critic, said, “The success of the corona quarantine will increase the national brand value of Korea, and accordingly, the consumption of cultural contents will increase.” Said
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