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Hallyu (Korean Wave), cultural fusion and Asia's cultural communityDispatch 1 from the 6th Jeju Forum for Peace & Prosperity, May 27-29
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승인 2011.05.27  17:17:48
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[May 27, 5 p.m.]

The Jeju Weekly currently has reporters at the forum venue covering a wide range of talks, sessions and panels. We will be posting brief reports on our Web site throughout the weekend, and then compile them into a comprehensive report for Issue 51 of The Weekly as well as in our Chinese edition. -- Ed.

The 6th Jeju Forum for Peace and Prosperity, hosted at the Haevichi Hotel & Resort in Pyoseon, Seogwipo City, began on May 27 at 2 p.m. with five concurrent presentations of 16 scheduled for the day. A total 63 conferences will occur over the three-day period.

The forum, organized by several national and provincial organizations, will be conducted under the theme of “New Asia for Peace and Prosperity,” with the purpose of expanding previous years’ topics of discussion from specifically concerning the notion of peace to subject matters that directly affect its establishment like economics, environmental concerns, and cultural issues.

This expansion highlights great changes to the forum. Established in 2001 to continue the efforts of the June 2000 North-South Summit, the Jeju Peace Forum was originally a biennial event, but was changed this year for the purpose of creating a globally recognized forum where ideas are continually discussed and worked towards. Jeju Peace Foundation President Han Tae Kyu has said that the year between forums resulted in a lag in implementing the ideas and proposals discussed during the conference and now that it has been expanded to a yearly event it will help to foster multilateral communication in Asia.

Some of the topics to be discussed on Friday, May 27, are International Cooperation for Peaceful and Ecological Conservation and Utilization of DMZ, The Korean Wave (Hallyu) and Cultural Fusion in East Asia: Toward an East Asian Cultural Community, World Natural Heritage and Environmental Conservation, among other issues.


▲ From left, TOUCHSKY President and Drama Producer Park In Taek, Director the China institute of Internationals studies' Department for American Studies Liu Qing, Actor and CEO of EnterKorea Co. Ltd. Chung Han Yong, and ECO of Show & Arts inc. and professor of Cultural Contents, Konkuk University Han Kyung Ah. Photo by Darryl Coote.

During the first day of The 6th Jeju Forum for Peace and Prosperity, the presentation “The Korean Wave (Hallyu), Cultural Fusion in East Asia: Toward an East Asian Cultural Community,” set out to not only define the term Hallyu, but to also understand its influence, popularity and future in the region.

Park In Taek, president of TOUCHSKY, a drama production company, generally defined Hallyu as “the consumption of all different aspects of Korea … affecting the Korean lifestyle, Korean cuisine and the Korean way of life.”

He detailed the purpose of the discussion as a platform in which to develop ways that “further mesmerize Asian consumers.”

The focus of Park’s talk, as well as a common theme throughout the conference, was that Korean entertainment displayed a perfect combination of Confucian values, which many Asian countries have in common, and modernization, what most of these same countries aspire to acheive.

“These Korean dramas reflect the Asian norm,” he said.

Liu Qing, director of the department for American Studies at the China Institute of international Studies, reiterated this thought saying the “Korean wave represents a modern style.”

Liu detailed the history of Korean entrainment in China saying that the first Korean television show aired there in 1996 and that it was the Chinese press which coined the term Hallyu.

▲ The five-member panel and moderator (far left) Hong Kiwon, associate professor of Sookmyung Women's University's Graduate School of Public Policy and Industry, during the "The Korean Wave (Hallyu) and Cultural fusion in East Asia: Toward an East Asian Cultural Community," where they discussed issues pertaining to the growth of Korea's entertainment industry. Photo by Darryl Coote

He said Hallyu has established a mutual cultural communication between China and Korea, but it is necessary to enhance this dialogue through “cultural pluralism” if this industry is going to continue to prosper. Liu suggested for the Korean Wave and the Chinese Wind (China's equivalent of Hallyu) to work together, fostering a more diverse cultural pool. This diversity, Liu believes, will strengthen the relationship between the two countries, both economically and politically.

Chung Han Yong, CEO of EnterKorea Company and renowned actor, warned that Korea’s new found success in the entertainment business should not lead to the industry becoming “stagnant.”

Having been there at the beginning of Hallyu during the early to mid '90s, Chung said that its popularity was unexpected.

Originally, they thought Hallyu was too national-centric and did not reflect a wider global audience, but what resulted was a form of entertainment, he believes, that “resurrected” Korean values that had been lost to both globalization and modernization, while at the same time appealing to the international audience they assumed their content would alienate.

The resurgence of these lost values was attributed to many of the Hallyu shows that focus on family values and other Confucian beliefs while living in a modern, luxurious society.

He fears that due to its unexpected and rapidly growing popularity, if producers and directors create shows that are contrived to be “Hallyu” in form, function and style, an “anti-Hallyu” will be born. Hallyu must focus more on the art of entertainment and not on making money, he said.

“We always need to be very humble in dealing with Hallyu,” said Chung.

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