Before exploring the popularity of Korean culture in India, it is crucial to understand the meaning of the Korean wave. It is the rising of adaptation of South Korean culture across the country. There are many reasons due to which India is experiencing a boost in its craze for Korean Culture. From growing OTT platforms to the easy availability of the internet nowadays fuels the rising of this culture. And the pandemic has played the role of cherry on top for Indians to get appealed by this wave.
5 Korean things have seen a spike in the demand in India.
1. K-POP wave in India
Korean pop culture tops the list of Korean wave in India. Though K-pop has been there for 2 decades and not only in India, the whole world has seen a glimpse of K-pop through Psy’s world-famous song, Gangnam Style. Due to that song, the whole world got familiar with Korean song. But still, it was not sufficient for the world which could lead rise in K-wave. Today’s popular bands like BTS and Blackpink are the ones who are most popular among millennials and gen Z in India. The ongoing pandemic in India helped a lot in k-pop rise in popularity, especially BTS comprising 7 members, which have found a large fanbase in India at present.
BTS, being the world’s biggest boy band, is the most popular k-pop band in India. The fandom of BTS is known as ARMY which stands for Adorable Representative M.C. for Youth. According to many fans, the major reason for BTS popularity is their songs’ lyrics which have helped many fans to overcome the hardships. Their lyrics are always with soulful meaning and encourage people to love themselves. Their lyrics are always relatable to people as well as the rhythms are very catchy enough to grab attention.
According to Youtube stats, BTS’s new English song “Butter”, got the most first-day views from India only. On platforms like Spotify and iTunes, Indian ARMYS took lead in streaming. Even local platform, JioSavan got a boost in the streaming of BTS song in the last couple of months. Among Indian celebrities like Diljit Dosanjh, Tiger Shroff, Disha Patani etc have admitted their admiration for BTS. Similarly, there are many instances and stats which can prove Bts popularity in India.
Hence one can say that despite the language barrier, the Korean wave continues to grow in India and it is not stopping anytime soon. Since it has been noticed that everything related to BTS has bound to get attention.
2. K-Drama Korean wave in India
Due to the pandemic, India saw a boom in OTT platforms with a wider audience and more views. With aggressive marketing of Korean content by OTT platforms like Netflix, ads from Rakuten Viki, a k-drama streaming platform etc millennials and gen z in India caught the attention and had hooked during lockdown time. Also, due to the romantic & comedy plot and aesthetic characters of the main leads, Indian millennials started to relate with their taste. They find the plot interesting where good looking Korean male lead falling in love with a pretty female lead. No gen z nowadays are interested in “SAAS-BAHU” serials. They are more inclined towards web series or short series.
There are so many popular k-dramas in India. Some of them are Crash Landing On You, What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim. It’s Okay To Not Be Okay etc. The plots are binge-worthy for Indian viewers where every dashing looking Korean male leaves Indian women to drool over them and the beauty of female lead attracts them. Of course, plots differs with every drama but overall it is what attracting Indian viewers. And hence it becomes one of the major factors for the rising Korean wave in India.
3. K-Beauty wave in India
K-beauty has caught major attention among Indian women with the rise of K-pop and K-drama. Indians have their own set of beauty standard. But with the inspiration from the female leads of K-drama and idols of k-pop, Indian women are lurking over k-beauty products now. Korean beauty standard comprises flawless glass skin which is a major factor in the growing demand for these products. And hence contributing to rising of the Korean wave in India.
After Indian women got to know about these products, they got into detailing and hence there are some other reasons too for the increasing demand.
a. Korean products are wide in rage under every category, from the skin, makeup to hair care. They get manufactured after widely conducted surveys by researchers. One major quality of these products is that these manufacturers understand the need and skin concerns of consumers.
b. K-beauty products deserve to the part of the Korean wave not only in India but all over the world. Since these are high on hydration and enriched with active ingredients.
c. With all the qualified researchers’ guidance and active ingredients, the cost factor plays a major role in boosting k-beauty brands in India. These products vary with a broad range in prices, but at the same time, even affordable ones do not compare with the efficiency.
Korean beauty has become a trend-setter and hence it’s natural to grab Indian women attention. Few e-commerce websites to buy Korean products are Nykaa, Korikart and Amazon.
4. Korean Food wave in India
Chinese cuisine has always been among the favourite delicacies among Indians. Whenever we Indians used to hear about Korean food, kimchi is the only food that would come to mind. But with the rise of the Korean wave comprising k-pop and k-drama, Korean food has come under notice since then. Now Indians are trying many Korean dishes as well along with kimchi. Since Kimchi’s pungent and spicy flavour is similar to Indian dishes. Another popular cuisine is ramen which is again popular through k-dramas.
The Korean food involves various non-veg meals including steak/beef but Indian non-veg meal only includes chicken, mutton and fish due to religious and cultural purposes. But some of the Korean cuisines can be relatable with desi food due to the rise in awareness of eating clean among Indians. Another factor is eating healthy food and Korean food fulfils all. It can be said that it has the potential to become the next Chinese food among Indians with the Korean wave surge.
5. K-language wave in India
Till now four Korean trends have been listed, which have seen a surge in India. Hence, the conclusion is that k-pop and k-drama are 2 major Korean cultural aspects, responsible for further popularities like Korean food, K-beauty and K-language. The reports by the Korean Cultural Centre India were that the first online beginner Korean language course of the year, 2020 had completely booked within 2 minutes after the opening of registration.
Similarly every weekday and weekend offline course in the year, 2020 had booked quickly after it started.
THen centre planned to increase the number of the offering of the courses further with rising demand for the language. Even Duolingo, the online language learning app stated a 256 per cent growth in the number of Indians during a pandemic. The impact was so large that the government of India added the Korean language as a second foreign language officially in July 2020.
It is a known fact that Indians are vastly influenced by western culture and their standard of living. A breath of fresh air that is changing now. Indian millennials and gen z are more welcoming to change now and more accepting towards change in cultural trends, hence not only blindly following westerners. And surge in the Korean wave across India is the evidence.