I agree that Winter Sonata is the pioneer of Henrys. Like the article describes, Winter Sonata contain different elements which catch the eyeballs of middle aged women. The ‘pure love’ plots, the romantic and slow-paced scenes and the choice of actors blended and created a chemistry action which provide rooms for the audience to fantasize and envision themselves in the scenes of the drama. Winter Sonata not only fulfills the sensational needs of the middle aged women, but also fulfills their psychological needs.
While they are enjoying the beautiful scenery in the television screen, at the same time they can be satisfied with their hidden desire, as the writer pointed out. I think this is the largest attraction to the audience, as the drama triggers their imagination. They can feel excited but comfortable when imagining their own stories in their safety zone, where they can forget the reality. Freshness is also an important element of Korean dramas that attracts Japanese. I think that this can be also applied to Hong Kong audience.
As the plots and themes of local Hong Kong mainstream drama are always alike, audiences can easily predict the flow and ending of the dramas. While Hong Kong audiences are bored by the similar stories, Korea dramas provide them with different themes, scenes and cinematographic techniques, which can increase their interest in these foreign dramas. Besides freshness, the original Watching dramas’ habit of Hong Kong people also help enhancing the import of Korean dramas to Hong Kong.
Knowing that many Hong Kong audiences are addicted to dramas, paid television companies have set up many channels which are specially for playing different dramas day and night. Therefore, there are great demands for buying dramas from other countries, as there are not enough local drama productions to fulfill the request of different audiences. Teenagers build forums and groups for particular drama through internet in order to provide platforms for discussing and sharing with other audiences.
However middle aged women seldom take the initiative to act like the teenagers, as they may not be good users of computer. But still, I think the avid middle aged women fans can give an impetus to promotion of Korean drama, by creating a frenzy of watching Korea drama day and night and discussing the content with their neighbor. The mania of diddle aged women rise the attention by the mass media successfully, which help Winter Sonata gain famous and increase the interest of other people to discover the fascination of it by watching this drama.
The products related to Korea entertainment industry also help expanding the Henrys. The products like, photos, calendar and key chains of popular idols and props which were used in famous dramas were purchased by the fervent fans all over the world. Stores were set up in Monks in Hong Kong which were specialized in selling these Henrys products and Shin-Kobo in Japan become ‘a small Korean city, which is famous for the Korean assistants and the stores selling idol products. These reflect that people in most of the East Asian countries are putting their focus on the Korean trend.
Fans are pursuing fast and new idol products while merchandisers are finding the commercial potential in Korea entertainment industry in order to make profit. Henrys becomes more important in some of the people’s living. Using Winter Sonata’ as the example, the article brings out that the sweeping of Korean popular culture through East Asian countries can improve the inter-country relationships. The research pointed out that he perceptions of Korean by Japanese can be changed after watching a Korean drama, as they can know more about the recent Korea imperceptibly.
Becoming more familiar with Korean things, they are more willing to take the initiative to learn more about Korea. For example, they search the Korea places where scenes of drama were took place through internet, and they plan their own trip to Korea, in order to collect first-hand information about Korea by their own experiences. Thus, the blank parts of Korean in Japanese’s mind are replaced with different new and trendy Korean knowledge, which may learn from different Korean culture.
The research also spotted that though the image of South Korea is growing more positive, there is no change on the perception to North Korea. Besides the negative news reported in Japanese media, I think the settings in South Korean drama may also contribute on imputing bad images of North Korea in Japanese mind. North Korea is often playing an evil- doer in most South Korea drama, for example in a popular drama ‘Iris’, the secret organization which aim to destroy South Korea by nuclear weapon is started by North Korea government.
By the exaggeration in mass media, Japanese have an even worse impression on North Korea. After reading this article, I think the soft power of South Korea give much contribution to her raising world status. Not only has she had flourishing Korean entertainment, her technology development on gadgets are also widely adopted in many countries, like Samsung products and mobile applications. All these Korean pop culture are penetrating through many countries by different forms, entering many people’s daily life, thus building up favorable impression to other countries.
Under the globalizes world, local culture can easily passed to other countries by internet or international companies. For example, Sys and Girl’s Generation’s music videos are always being played on the Samsung television in many electric appliance selling stores. Therefore, Korea popular culture is more exposed to the world and increases her acceptance by other countries. Undoubtedly, Henrys has improved the mutual understating between Korea and other countries, like increasing the mutual understanding between Japan and Korea.
However, though South Korea now is having a great soft power, I think it can only influence other countries culturally and economically, but not politically. A good cultural relationship between two countries may not be able to improve the political relationship of them as well. Take the dispute on Tasmania between Japan and Korea, both countries are having normal cultural relationship, but when tackling conflict which affect their sovereignty and own interests, the advantage of having good cultural relationship is Just negligible. Both countries will defend their own interest and cultural relationship will not be under their consideration.
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