Korea’s Cultural Diplomacy: An Analysis of the Hallyu in India

Dr Ranjit Kumar Dhawan is Assistant Professor (ad-hoc) of Korean Studies in the Department of East Asian Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, at the University of Delhi, India.
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  • November 2017

    Korea’s rapid economic transformation from being one of the poorest countries during the 1950s to becoming a member of the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 1996 surprised the world, and is often considered the ‘Miracle on the Han River’. Within a period of a few decades, Korea became an economic powerhouse and one of the largest producers and exporters of steel, ships, automobiles, cell phones, etc. In recent years Hallyu or the ‘Korean Wave’ has taken the world by surprise. The term basically refers to the popularity of Korean cultural products such as Korean music, dance, dramas, movies, food, fashion, cosmetics, etc. across Asia and other parts of the world. The cultural industries have become one of the new engines of economic growth in Korea, and have been generating billions of dollars for this export-dependent country. The Korean Government has been playing an important role in the promotion of these cultural industries through cultural diplomacy. However, one country which has remained the least affected by the Korean Wave is India. Barring some areas in the north-eastern part of India where it has made some impact, the rest of the country largely remains unaware of this phenomenon. In recent years, the Korean Government has been making efforts for the promotion of the Korean Wave in India. This article analyses Korea’s cultural diplomacy efforts to spread the Korean Wave in India.