By Regina Kim, entertainment writer | NBC Asian America
June 14, 2022, 3:32 AM CDT
As a Korean American, it’s crazy to see how Korean pop culture has exploded in popularity in the U.S. in recent years. Today, it’s not uncommon to see Korean content and stars grabbing headlines in Western media, whether it’s “Squid Game” being greenlit for a second season or K-pop superstars BTS releasing their latest album “Proof” to commemorate the group’s ninth anniversary.
But with global demand for Korean pop culture at an all-time high, it feels like South Korea is kind of losing control over its cultural narrative.
Just a decade ago, I was fruitlessly seeking opportunities to write about K-pop; today, I’m frequently turning down requests from various editors and publicists asking me to write an article about a new K-pop idol group — that is, photogenic boy or girl bands that perform the kind of dance music that many of us have now come to associate with K-pop. I never thought I’d see the day when I’d actually get tired of people asking me to write about the topic, but it seems that just when much of the Korean public and the Korean diaspora have moved on from K-pop due to the surfeit of idol groups (about 200 to 400 of them have debuted in the past decade, and over 50 are debuting in this year alone), the rest of the world is clamoring for it.
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Think you know Korea because you love K-pop and watched ‘Squid Game’? Think again.