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The Industrialization of Korea’s Performing Arts and Its Path for Globalization

Man-Soo Cho


This study examines whether Korea’s performing arts has the potential to create a Korean Wave, as K-Pop and K-drama have, and the shape in which such potential may take form. Korea’s performing arts underwent industrialization from the 1990s and into the 2000s, expanding its capacities for creativity, production, and distribution. Here, industrialization includes not only that of the commercial domain but also of the artistic domain, and this study reviews the process and shape of the industrialization in both domains. From the late 2000s, Korean musical theater and nonverbal performances saw a growth in their activities in overseas markets. However, the performing arts differs from other genres, such as TV drama or popular music, in that the creator uses the performance hall and performers as the medium to reach the consumer. For long-running and licensed productions, the market needs to reach a level of maturity in terms of human resources, performance space, and market conditions. As Japan is the only country in Asia whose market satisfies this requirement, it will be necessary for the industrialization of the performing arts to occur in the other countries in Asia, particularly in China and the ASEAN countries, for Korea’s performing arts to create a Korean Wave in this region.


Hallyu; industrialization; Korean Wave; musical theater; performing arts

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13185/KK2019.03216