BTS: What their success means for Kpop in the West

Korea-Canada Blog

Kpop acts becoming successful in the West isn’t a completely new phenomenon. I remember when I was younger, my mom showing me SNSD’s “The Boys” and then several years later, Psy’s “Gangnam Style” became a huge hit. Many Kpop acts, unknown to the general public, have also generated a huge foreign following in North America and the UK. The latest Korean group to be breaking boundaries in the West is BTS also known as Bangtan Boys.

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Coming from a small company, Bighit Entertainment, the boys have had a long road to the status of international fame they claim today. The seven member boy group (members Jin, Suga, RM, J-Hope, Jimin, V and Jungkook) debuted on June 12, 2013 with their song “No More Dream”. Since their debut the group of boys have racked up a long list of awards and accomplishments. Most notably a handful of Daesangs, 2 Billboard Top…

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A K-Culture Lover’s Bookshelf

Korea-Canada Blog

As both a book lover and a lover of Korean culture, I have collected my share of books about South Korea on my shelf. Here are my top 3 that I recommend to anyone looking to learn a little more about Korea’s history and culture:

A Geek in Korea by Daniel Tudor

61Z-2zl163L._SX375_BO1,204,203,200_Summary:A Geek in Korea is a book packed full of colourful images and tidbits about everything ranging from Korean slang to Kpop, to Korean history and politics. The book also includes interviews with YouTubers Simon and Martina of “Eat Your Kimchi” as well as with Jaurim vocalist Kim Yoon-ah.

A Geek in Korea is a good basic for every K-Culture lover’s bookshelf. It’s an easy read packed full of useful information.

Daniel Tudor is a writer and journalist who lives in South Korea. He is originally from the States, making his book a good view of South…

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Korean Superstitions

Korea-Canada Blog

Superstitions are widely held and often irrational beliefs about things such as luck, prophecy or spiritual beings. They appear across different cultures; just think of a few popular ones in Canada such as “don’t walk under a ladder” and the old “lucky pennies” but have you heard of these South Korean superstitions?

EXAMS

Korean culture is very competitive so doing well in school is very important. Students will do everything in their power to do well on their exams, often studying long hours. As a result, there are several superstitions about what to do and not do before your exams. Here are a few of my favourites: 

Seaweed soup: Don’t eat seaweed soup before your exams. The slippery texture of the food will cause all of the information to slip out of your brain.

No shampoo: Don’t wash your hair the night before an exam because if you do you…

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BTS & Youth Empowerment

BTS has long been a symbol of hope and ability to accomplish dreams for fans around the world but their advocacy for youth I feel is sometimes overlooked by their music, talents and amazing success. LYRICS BTS has always put political lyrics in their meaning. Starting with their first single “No More Dream” and continuing... Continue Reading →

Kpop – a Path to International Success

Korea-Canada Blog

South Korea’s soft-power approach through Hallyu has shown some amazing success in these recent past years. With international recognition of artists like Psy, BIGBANG and BTS, Kpop has become a powerhouse industry in South Korea.

21317934_1832966313385289_1951685034605011976_n.jpgC: BTS Facebook

So how did Kpop become so influential today? To understand the emergence of Kpop we have to go back to 1997 Asian financial crisis. The crisis started in Thailand after the collapse of their currency. The crisis spread hitting Thailand, Indonesia and South Korea the hardest. The debt emergency in Korea stopped the export of many goods. With no natural resources and a economy that was overly dependent on chaebols (South Korean mega conglomerates) South Korea was forced to rethink their economy.

Then President and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Kim Daejung, made the decision to push information technology and (surprise!) pop culture to gain revenue. Using the United States and the UK…

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More Than KPop – Korean Indie Bands

Korea-Canada Blog

When you think Korean music, most of our minds turn to “Psy’s Gangnam Style” or to the many KPop girl groups and boy groups the Korean Pop music industry has churned out. While I personally enjoy KPop music, it isn’t for everyone and it isn’t the only thing that the Korean music scene has to offer.

gallery_psy_6gap_01(0)Image: YG Entertainment 

More Than Kpop will be a mini blog series introducing different types of Korean music out there, excluding the already well-known KPop. The first ‘genre’ I would like to introduce are Korean Indie bands.

While Indie music is really an umbrella term originally meaning independent from major labels or records, for the sake of this blog I will be using the term to refer to Korean bands outside of the KPop world.

Today’s Korean Indie band sound is characterized by Stephen Epstein, Associate Professor and Director of the Asian Studies Institute…

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