From romantic Korean drams to hard boiled films like Old Boy and Silmido are making waves amongst arthouse cinema fans and movie industry talent-spotters throughout the western world. It now seems that its not only Hollywood that is turning its eyes eastwards to follow the latest cultural carrying-ons in Korea, but Chinese eyes are too.
The New York Times China’s Youth Look to Seoul for Inspiration by Norimitsu Onishi (January 2, 2006) has an interesting article on how young Chinese eyes Korea as tastemakers in fashion, beauty and popular culture.
The country’s cultural exports are cutting-edge tempered with the Confucian-based culture familiar to Chinese audiences. American culture is too ‘post-modern’ to be absorbed directly. At least some of the time, China sees Japan in a way reminiscent of Basil Fawlty and is still beyond the pale because of the War. Although the Chinese consistent appetite for Japanese AV content is well documented elsewhere. Taste making goes beyond pop singers and movies to hip brands such the must-have mobile phone from Samsung and Hyundai cars.
Rather like Eric Clapton adapting the blues for white audiences in the UK; so Korea is adapting western idioms from hip-hop culture and sit-coms like Sex in the City. It is then making them palatable for East Asian audiences. Free trade and intellectual property protection is likely to not be as beneficial to Hollywood in tapping the Chinese market as the media moguls had hoped. More Korea related posts here.