The Influences of Korean Wave on Vietnamese Youth During the first two decades of the 21st century, the Korean wave has spread to many countries around the world, including Vietnam. The Korean wave had a profound influence on the psychology and interests of the Vietnamese people, especially the youth. Therefore, the study titled “The Influences of Korean Wave on Vietnamese Youth” will find out the effects of the Korean wave on young people’s behaviors.
On the other hand, the study also helps Vietnamese enterprises gain more experience about the success of this phenomenon so that they are able to take advantage of these effects on their business, which targets Vietnamese customers. Overview about Korean Wave In the last two decades, the Korean wave has earned a very huge popularity in many countries around the world. Following the initial surge of interest in Korean television dramas and popular music, nowadays all things made in Korean ? from food, movies and dances to fashion and language ? are quite the rage.
The Korean wave is establishing itself as a global phenomenon that has already washed over East Asia and is now reaching the shores of Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. Korean Wave in the World The Korea Tourism Organization conducted an online survey of 12,085 non-Korean visitors from 102 countries on its website from May 11th to May 31st, 2012. The questionnaire, which included seven questions related to Korea, had been provided to the interviewees in different languages to see what makes the foreigners interested in the Korean wave.
The survey conducted asked the interviewees to select an item of the Korean wave that interested them the most. The results showed a little more than 53 percent of 6,447 respondents picked K-pop. This was followed by TV dramas with 33 percent, films with six percent and others with seven percent. By age group, 49 percent of the respondents were in their twenties, followed by those in their thirties at 18 percent, teenagers at 17 percent and those in their forties at eight percent.
The survey showed that, nowadays the Korean wave has been spread not only in Asia but also around entire world: from Asia to Europe, from America to Oceania and it is continuing to spread worldwide, where it is being consumed by an increase in global audiences. More importantly, most of the attracted people are in their 20s and teenagers who are enthusiastically consuming the images and messages offered by the Korean wave. Korean Wave in Vietnam Since the government of Vietnam and South Korea established an official diplomatic relationship, the Vietnamese audiences have more chances to enjoy Korean dramas.
Especially, during the final years of 20th century, many Korean television series were introduced in Vietnam through the exchange culture programs or promotional products offered from huge economic Korean groups. These films like “Yellow Daisy” (1997), “First Love” (1999), “Winter Sonata” (2002), “Jewel in the Palace” (2003), brought a fresh feeling to the Vietnamese audiences and were also the first step of the Korean wave beginning in Vietnam.
Moreover, this stage also saw a rapid development of information technology and mass media that made this wave closer to the audiences, especially the youth between 13 and 22 years old who were attracted easily more than other age groups. In the recent years, taking advantage of dramas’ fame, the Korean wave has been expanding to Korean music and fashion that has become an overwhelming cultural tendencies up to now. Three Main Aspects of Korean Wave on Young Generation Korean Dramas
During the last five years of 20th century, the Vietnamese dramas became boring because they were influenced strongly by the traditional viewpoints in society. In contrast, at this time, the first appearance of the Korean dramas with romantic love, complication in family relationship help the Vietnamese audiences be more satisfied with their entertainment needs. In addition, with the similarities in culture as well as the development of the mass media, Korean dramas have been accepted easily and have become more popular in Vietnam.
From the finding of our survey about the favorite movies, which was researched from 75 young people belonging to the 13-21 year olds in Ho Chi Minh City, the data was described by the pie chart below: [pic] As the chart shows, more than 30% of the interviewees pick Korean drama as their favorite film that also occupies the largest part in the chart. Following that, Chinese drama and European & American movies account for 23% and 25% respectively. The two last sectors are Vietnamese drama and the others with the figures being 11% and 10% respectively.
From the information above, it can be clearly observed that Korean drama is now dominating major attention of young Vietnamese audiences and it leaves strong influences on their lives. One of the most important reasons making the youth interested in Korean dramas is the beautiful appearance with the familiar formula being the handsome boys and beautiful girls with their perfect make-up. In addition, most of the characters always dress in fashionable clothes with hairstyles that not only attract the young generation to the content of the film but also create the fashion waves in reality.
Another side, Korean dramas are generally consistent with the psychology of young people. To be more specific, instead of some love stories with unhappy endings, the recent Korean films such as: “Boys over flowers”, “Dream High”, “You’re Beautiful” focus on the honest emotions of high school students with many funny and interesting details but not less romantic. Finally, an important point of Korean television series is the introduction of Korean culture, especially cuisines. According to Huang “Kim Chi, one of the traditional Korean foods, has become a [sic] accompaniment of the acceptance of Korean TV dramas” (2009, p. 26). In this way, these films lead young viewers to the content of the films as well as make the curious about them. Korean Music After the significant success of dramas, the Korean wave has continued expanding its influences on the young Vietnamese generation by the appearance of Korean music, also known K-pop as Shin Hyunjoon (2009) states “As the danceable rhythm and catchy melody performed by good-looking singers and groups swept across East- and Southeast Asia, Korean pop music has become one of the main components of the so-called Korean Wave” (para. 2).
According to our finding in a survey of 75 young people in Ho Chi Minh City, it can be clearly seen that the interest level in Korean music occupied a minority of the total interviewees. [pic] As regards details, 35% of young respondents picked K-pop as their favorite music. This was followed by European & American music with 27%, Vietnamese music with 21%, Japanese music with 11% and others with 6%. The results above shows that K-pop dominates the music market of the Vietnamese youth due to some reason below: Firstly, Korean songs always satisfy the tastes of young audiences with their dynamic melodies.
In addition, with the joyful voices and ear-catching rhythms, these songs overcome the barriers of language in order to become closer to young listeners. Secondly, Korean songs also attract young people’s attention to their perfect images. To be more detailed, handsome boys and beautiful girls who have professional dancing skills perform most of the music videos. Besides, these clips are carefully combined with the effects from the colorful lights to create the bright picture. That is also the reason why the song Gangnam Style by PSY becomes famous and creates a new Korean wave up to now.
According to the BBC, PSY became the first South Korean artist to hit number one on the UK music charts and his song became the first Korean song to reach No. 1 on YouTube (October 31st ,2012) Finally, an important element contributing to the success of Korean songs is the content or message from the video clip. Actually, these stories affect the Vietnamese music market because they may be so colorful and full of energy or may be so sad with a lot of tears by some love stories which the main actor or actress gets cancer.
Take the Single “Chuyen Nhu Chua Bat Dau” of well-known singer “My Tam” as an example of this. This song is also a sad story following the Korean style and it touches the hearts of the youth lightly. My Tam is very smart when choosing this song to register with Youtube and she became the first Vietnamese to be an official partner of YouTube (Tuoitrenews, August 2nd, 2012) Korean Fashion Fashion, which affects everybody’s lives by getting them involved in something has become an inevitable part of young people.
Gradually, Korean fashion is one of the strongest elements, which affects remarkably to the youth. According to survey about the fashion styles from the poll of the youth, Korean fashion was the most popular style, accounting for 93% of the overall interviewees. It was followed by Vietnamese fashion with 34%. Obviously, overcoming the culture barriers in modern society, the upward trend of Korean fashion has penetrated deeply into the lives of many young Vietnamese. A reality has shown that “in the streets of Ho Chi Minh
City and Hanoi, fashion conscious young Vietnamese have adopted the darker makeup colors, thinly shaved eyebrows, body-hugging clothes, and square-toed shoes of Seoul fashion” (The Russia Journal, Jan. 25th 2002, p. 33). [pic] Besides, the youth seem to be more fashionable and want to please each other, “stars of such dramas have become shining idols in those nations and fans there emulate the fashion, hairstyle or makeup of Korean stars” (“Hyundai heavy industries report on pop culture”, 2004).
To clarify, most of young people love the Korean fashion style due to its popularity and current fashion trend. Moreover, another reason that convinces the level of explaining the fashion choices is that the Korean fashion style suits their styles and helps them express their personalities. In addition, Korean fashion has many similarities with Vietnamese fashion with 40% and 28%, respectively. Subsequently, 10% of young people are interested in the Korean fashion style because they want to be like their Korean idols. [pic] The Positive and Negative Influences of Korean Wave
Obviously, these analyses above indicate that nowadays, the Korean wave leaves significant impacts on the Vietnamese people in general as well as the young generation in particular including both positive and negative aspects. Positive Influences Through admiring the Korean stars in dramas and music as well as for their fashion styles, Vietnamese youth can not only satisfy their own entertainment needs but also learn beautiful and fashionable dressing styles, smart and educated behaviors from their Korean idols in the films. Another positive effect is a number of Korean stars will be able to ecome shining mirrors for the Vietnamese youth due to their efforts in both entertainment and education. Take Kim Tae Hee, a beautiful actress is famous not only for her professional performance but also her admirable academic achievements, as an illustration of this. She always topped the class with a perfect G. P. A during the period of high school. After graduating, Kim Tae Hee continued her studies at Seoul University, the most prestigious University in Korea. Negative Influences The Korean wave has spread rapidly throughout Vietnam without selecting to be suitable for the Vietnamese tradition.
This means that through this wave, the majority of young generation gradually forget Vietnamese culture. In recent years, many young couples prefer wearing “Hanbok”, the Korean traditional dress in their weddings, to “Ao dai”, the Vietnamese traditional dress, for example. In addition, they also try to memorize the information about their favorite stars rather than the celebrities of our country Another significant drawback that should be noted is that a group of young people have an excessive devotion to their idols, which exceeds the acceptable limits of Vietnamese culture.
Moreover, a large number of young people spend too much time and money on dressing up and applying make- up like the Korean style, and hunting for clothes, which are rather similar to their idols. The consequence is the appearance of inappropriate fashion styles and hairstyles everywhere, especially in the big cities. Opportunities from Korean Wave in business The Korean wave brings positive images that become a transporter of other Korean products such as technologies, fashions, cosmetics, tourism and entertainment services.
Based on the influences of the Korean wave, Vietnamese enterprises can apply some effective strategies in Vietnam. The first strategy is the collaboration with Korean stars for marketing and development of the products in Vietnam, using Korean idols as models for advertising products, for example Lee Min Ho playing a role in advertising Lotte Pie and Jang Dong Gun modeling for Close Up toothpaste. By holding some events in Vietnam and connecting stars’ images with product concepts, producers can increase the demand and interest of Korean fans, then they can increase the consumption and revenue.
The SoundFest Music Festival on April 14th, 2012 was a very successful event sponsored by Samsung and Coca Cola. Instead of buying tickets at a high price to satisfy their passion for seeing Big Bang – a well-known South Korean pop band, fans also had chances to go to the festival free if they won the promotional prize from Samsung and Coca Cola. Korean fans found a code under Coca Cola bottle caps or sent the IMEI number of Samsung phones to get the tickets. Besides increasing the revenue, producers also upgraded their image and value in their market.
The second strategy is that companies can take full advantages of this wave to trade on fashion and cosmetic products because the image of Korean actors and singers significantly affected the youth’s consumption tendencies. The local distributors can import Korean fashion and cosmetic products to put up for sale in the Vietnam market. Besides that, they should also consider designing and producing fashion products with the Korean style so that they can match the youth’s taste. The third strategy is to develop tourism packages designed for Korean fans.
Tour packages that combine concerts, shopping and sightseeing help tourist not only understand the Korean entertainment industry well, but also can visit the wonderful places and studios in the dramas, such as the snow mountain in Sonata Winter and the palaces in Dae Jang Geum. The reality has shown that Vietravel Company cooperated with Korean Air to make the Korean tour package in August 2012, which combines some special activities on music festival and travelling tour. This is a shinning signal for cooperation between Korea and Vietnam in tourist industry.
The forth strategy is designing restaurant and coffee shop with Korean styles. Although the prices at the restaurant are expensive, the youth willingly spend their money on enjoying special Korean food. The youth can find Korean entertainment, such as movies and music discs, posters of famous singers and actors and the lasted fashion magazines, in these coffee shops. This is also a place to exchange cultural things, the Korean fans can share information and open a club for practicing the Korean language.
The Korean wave may bring many opportunities to Vietnamese enterprises so that if they can catch the chance and understand the wave well, they can have wise strategies to develop their businesses in the future. Conclusion The result of our survey of 75 young people in Ho Chi Minh City about the influences of the Korean wave on Vietnamese youth proves again that the Korean wave not only spreads around the world but also has a direct impact on Vietnamese youth, especially from three elements: drama, music and fashion.
Besides that, we can also find out the concrete psychology and interests of the Vietnamese youth for business strategies. Therefore, the Vietnamese policy makers are able to make reasonable policies to encourage the development of the Vietnamese entertainment industry. This creates the dynamic to propagandize Vietnamese art and culture around the world to bring more profits for the Vietnamese entertainment industry. On the other hand, the Vietnamese entertainment industry can benchmark the Korean wave to reach around the world so that we are able to create a same phenomenon in the near future.