Korean Wave

The Korean Wave (Korean한류; Hanja韓流; RRHallyu; MRHallyu, About this soundlisten , a neologism, literally meaning "flow of Korea") is the increase in global popularity of South Korean culture since the 1990s.[1][2][3] First driven by the spread of K-dramas and K-pop across East, South and Southeast Asia during its initial stages, the Korean Wave evolved from a regional development into a global phenomenon, carried by the Internet and social media and the proliferation of K-pop music videos on YouTube.[4][5][6][7][8] The term Hallyu was first used by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in South Korea in 1999, when the ministry produced a music CD titled in Chinese "Hallyu—Song From Korea". The term was adopted by Chinese media to describe the success of South Korean popular culture in China.[9] The term was reintroduced in Japan as hanryu or kanryu by the Asahi Shimbun in 2001.[10]

Since the turn of the 21st century, South Korea has emerged as a major exporter of popular culture and tourism, aspects which have become a significant part of its burgeoning economy. The growing popularity of Korean pop culture in many parts of the world has prompted the South Korean government to support its creative industries through subsidies and funding for start-ups, as a form of soft power and in its aim of becoming one of the world's leading exporters of culture along with Japanese and British culture, a niche that the United States has dominated for nearly a century.[11][12] During this time, Korean society began to be recognized as developed on par with the Western world.[13]

The success of the Korean Wave owes in part to the development of social networking services and online video sharing platforms, which have allowed the Korean entertainment industry to reach a sizeable overseas audience. Use of these media in facilitating promotion, distribution and consumption of various forms of Korean entertainment (and K-pop in particular) has contributed to their surge in worldwide popularity since the mid-2000s.[12][14]

The Korean Wave has become an influential global phenomenon since the start of the 21st century, heavily impacting the contemporary cultures, music industry, film industry, television industry and behavioural aspects of various people throughout the world.[15][16][17][18][19]


The Korean term for the phenomenon of the Korean Wave is Hanryu (Hangul: 한류), more commonly romanized as Hallyu. The term is made of two root words; han (한/韓) meaning "Korean", and ryu (류/流) meaning "flow" or "wave",[20] and referring to the diffusion of Korean culture.

This term is sometimes applied differently outside of Korea; for example, overseas, Hallyu drama is used to describe Korean drama in general, but in Korea, Hallyu drama and Korean drama are taken to mean slightly different things. According to researcher Jeongmee Kim, the term Hallyu is used to refer only to dramas that have gained success overseas, or feature actors that are internationally recognised.[21]

The Korean Wave encompasses the global awareness of different aspects of South Korean culture including film and television (particularly "K-dramas"), K-pop, manhwa, the Korean language, and Korean cuisine. Some commentators also consider traditional Korean culture in its entirety to be part of the Korean Wave.[22] American political scientist Joseph Nye interprets the Korean Wave as "the growing popularity of all things Korean, from fashion and film to music and cuisine."[23]

Other Languages
azərbaycanca: Koreya dalğası
български: Корейска вълна
brezhoneg: Hallyu
català: Ona coreana
español: Ola coreana
français: Hallyu
한국어: 한류 (문화)
Bahasa Indonesia: Hallyu
italiano: Hallyu
Jawa: Hallyu
lietuvių: Hallyu
Bahasa Melayu: Gelombang Korea
Nederlands: Koreaanse golf
日本語: 韓流
português: Onda Coreana
Tagalog: Hallyu
Türkçe: Hallyu
українська: Корейська хвиля
Tiếng Việt: Làn sóng Hàn Quốc
中文: 韓流