Featured Article: “From BTS to ‘Squid Game’: How South Korea Became a Cultural Juggernaut” by Choe Sang-Hun
For many years, South Korea’s movies, TV shows and music were mostly consumed by a South Korean audience. However, with K-pop stars, award-winning films such as “Parasite” and the Netflix drama “Squid Game,” South Korean culture is now known and appreciated by a global audience.
In this lesson, you will learn about the growing industry of South Korean TV shows, movies and music. Then you will watch or listen to a South Korean TV show, song or movie and write a review about it.
Do you watch any TV shows or movies from South Korea? What about listening to South Korean music? If so, what do you like about it? What makes it unique or appealing to you?
If you’re not familiar with any TV shows, movies or music from South Korea, take a moment to watch one of the music videos and trailers mentioned in the article you’re about to read.
Why do you think what you just watched has appealed so strongly to a global audience? What specific elements of it resonated for you?
Questions for Writing and Discussion
Read the article, then answer the following questions:
1. What are some of the factors that have led to the change in how South Korean content is consumed and appreciated internationally?
2. How did South Korean creators start to develop new content? What kinds of content served as inspiration?
3. How have other countries in the region responded to recent South Korean popular culture?
4. What role do broadcast companies and censorship play in the kind of cultural content South Koreans are able to experience?
5. What are some of the qualities and characteristics that make South Korean TV shows and movies unique, according to those quoted here? Are you familiar with any of the TV shows, bands or movies mentioned in the article? If so, have you noticed any of these qualities?
6. The articles states that many of the issues explored in South Korean TV shows and movies “speak to common people” there. Are these issues relevant to a global audience? If so, which and how?
Analyze a movie, TV show or song from South Korea. You could choose an example from the featured article or something else.
As you watch or listen to the selected content, take notes. You can write down quotations from the show or song, or write down feelings that come to mind as you listen to it. You can also consider some of the observations from the featured article as you watch or listen to your selected content. For example, are you able to find similarities between the South Korean TV show and anything else you’ve watched? Or are you able to pick up on themes such as activism, or do you notice a tone of combativeness?
After watching or listening, develop your own opinion about the TV show, movie or song. How do you feel about it? Is it something you would recommend to others? Why or why not?
Write your review, either recommending the TV show, movie or song to others, or advising them to avoid it. Whatever your opinion is, be sure it is clearly expressed in your review and supported with details from the TV show, movie or song.
If you would like to further develop this or any other review, consider submitting it to our Seventh Annual Student Review Contest. The contest is open from Nov. 10 to Dec. 15. Be sure to carefully read the rules before submitting.
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