Korean pop culture finds fans at Bluffton

By Nicole Centofanti

Korean entertainment is becoming more popular on Bluffton University’s campus in the form of Korean pop music and Korean dramas.

Korean pop music or Kpop is music that comes from South Korea. Kpop groups are typically either all male or all female and can have anywhere from one person to 20 people in the same group. They have movie like music videos with synchronized singing and dancing.

Senior RaeLee Hightower is a fan of Kpop and Kdramas.

RaeLee Hightower photo by Nicole Centofanti

“[I] love how different they seem from American pop and American TV,” she said. “Kpop music videos are the best that I’ve seen.”

Korean dramas are one-season television shows that typically feature the love triangle trope. They can range from 16 to about 26 episodes per drama. Kdramas also range in the type of drama. Some drama genres include historical dramas, romantic comedies, school dramas and the supernatural.

“Kdrama storylines seem fresh, atypical yet whimsical and fun. [They are] typically cleaner than a lot of American comedies and I enjoy that,” said Hightower.

Chanhee Hwang, a junior from South Korea, explained the popularity in her home country.

“If my sister does have time to watch drama during the week, she will download it and watch it on the weekend,” said Hwang.

Korean entertainment is also popular throughout the United States. The Kpop group BTS won Top Social Media Artist at the Billboard Music Awards in May, and most people have heard of the song “Gangnam Style” by the Kpop Idol Psy. There are even conventions dedicated to Korean entertainment, like Kcon LA and Kcon NY.

“Kdramas and Kpop are becoming more popular because there is a growing interest in international entertainment, mainly Korean,” said Hightower. “Americans are becoming more interested.”

“They are interested in the different culture and then introduce it to other people,” Hwang said.

Bluffton University is a small campus, but Korean entertainment is popular enough that there are still fans on the campus.

“I knew that Kpop was a big enough thing, but I was still surprised to find other fans [here],” said Hightower.

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