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You may have heard of this term from people who have been following Korean culture for a long time.  Or you may be familiar with the term from the popular website   www.hallyuback.com and their YouTube channel.  Either way, you may be wondering what the word means and why it’s so important to Korea.  Here is a brief explanation about Hallyu.


Hallyu is a word that was used to describe the Korean wave of influence that started spreading when Korean television and music programs became available in other countries.  The term is credited to have started in the mid to late 90’s after Korean entertainment became popular in China.  The Korean wave would later spread across other Asian countries, and later to other parts of the world.  Where as now, Korean variety and comedy shows are a big part of Hallyu, K-Dramas and K-POP were the main catalyst at the beginning.  Dramas such as Winter Sonata and stars such as BoA were a big influence on many people.

Hallyu Back Then and Now

The success of Korea’s entertainment around the world even caused changes to channels in the United States.  For example, in the early 2000’s, the International channel changed from being a channel that showed news from around the world to becoming AZN, Asian American television.  New networks such as TVK were added to television lineups in areas with a growing Korean population.  Other stations from Korea were added to television lineups as part of a Korean package that many paid extra for.  And in some areas, public broadcasting stations started showing Korean programs and cooking shows.

Now, Korean culture is everywhere.  Some streaming media players have Korean channels for free or a small monthly subscription fee.  Many websites are now showing replays of Korean dramas, with some showing them a few hours after it first aired in Korea.  Korea’s top entertainment companies have gone on worldwide tours, and many are looking to sign new talent from all over the world.  Korean entertainment stars are becoming stars in other countries such as Japan and China.  Many companies and YouTube channels have started to help teach people more about Korean language and culture.  And many are learning Korean, with the goal of being able to live in Korea one day.

Even though it started a few decades ago, the Korean wave is still strong and still growing.  You are probably here because of the Korean wave in some way, shape or form.  Hallyu has made the Republic of Korea a lot of money over the years, and will continue to do so.  Hallyu has helped to break down many myths about Korean people, and to show the world that Korean people are just people.  Not everything about the Korean wave has been positive, but it has made a positive difference in the lives of many.

What is your favorite part of Hallyu?  Do you remember your first drama or K-POP experience?  If so, please share below.  And as always, if you have any questions, feel free to #askthewaygookin.