A. The Analysis of Hallyu’s Sustainability as a Form of Pop Culture and Soft Power Diplomacy

Alexander A. Medina


This paper aims to answer two main issues confronting Hallyu—first is the Korean Wave‟s sustainability as a form of pop culture, and second is its feasibility as a tool for soft diplomacy. The researcher has attempted to answer these questions through an analysis of various texts from authors and sociologists whose works focus on South Korea, Hallyu, and its implications on international relations. This paper finds that the reproducibility of a “distinct Korean element” in its visual and auditory media products affirms the possibility of Hallyu‟s sustainability. Apart from this, other factors suggesting the Korean Wave‟s longevity are 1) the growing number of transnational and multicultural co-productions and collaborations with Asian neighbors, and 2) the potential of success in other ventures, such as animation, games, beauty, fashion, and cuisine. Despite the probable success of Hallyu as a pop culture, various texts have suggested that it is an insufficient tool for soft diplomacy. Conflicting case studies in the Southeast Asian regions, problems in crafting a single, representative image for the country, and a one-way flow of cultural exchange poses challenges in establishing the soft power of Korea.

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