'Hallyu' in North Korea: Can South Korean Popular Culture Bring about Real Change?

Thursday, April 7, 2022
5:30 PM - 6:30 PM

Via Zoom. Register at https://bit.ly/3JlGJDM

This event is made possible by generous support from the Korea Foundation and other friends of the Korea Program.

South Korean popular culture has spread to all corners of the globe, including South Korea’s closed-off neighbor to the north. While North Korea’s Kim Jong Un regime has sought to eradicate the presence of K-pop and South Korean television dramas in his country — even threatening execution for those who consume these cultural products — their popularity endures in North Korea. This panel will address questions relating to the spread of the Korean Wave (Hallyu) in North Korea. How widespread is consumption of South Korean popular culture in the North? Are these cultural products contributing to social change in North Korea, and if so, to what extent? Does the Korean Wave have the potential to contribute to political unrest and change in North Korea?


portrait of Sunny Yoon

Sunny Yoon is a professor of Media and Communication at Hanyang University in Seoul. Her research encompasses the globalization of Korean media, the interaction of religion and new media, cultural politics, youth culture, and fandom of Korean popular culture. She is the author of Communication Technology and Creative Industries and Global Media and Asian Identity: Cultural Hybridity or Cultural Resistance, and she has authored papers and a book chapter on the impact of mobile media and South Korean media on North Korean youth culture and social change. She has served as Section Head for Visual Culture in the International Association for Media and Communication Research, as well as the editor-in-chief of the journal of Asian Communication Research. She has been a visiting fellow at Yale University and University of Cambridge, as well as a visiting professor at Doshisha University in Japan, National Taiwan University, and King's College London. Professor of Media and Communication, Hanyang University, Korea

portrait of Suk-Young Kim

Suk-Young Kim is a professor of Theater and Performance Studies at UCLA where she also directs Center for Performance Studies. She is the author of Illusive Utopia :Theater, Film, and Everyday Performance in North Korea (Michigan, 2010), DMZ Crossing: Performing Emotional Citizenship Along the Korean Border (Columbia, 2014), and most recently, K-pop Live: Fans, Idols, and Multimedia Performance (Stanford, 2018). Her scholarship has been recognized by the James Palais Book Prize from the Association for Asian Studies, the Association for Theater in Higher Education Outstanding Book Award, and ACLS/SSRC/NEH International and Area Studies Fellowship. Currently She is working on a book titled Way Ahead of Squid Game (forthcoming in 2023), Millennial North Korea: Forbidden Media and Living Creatively with Surveillance (Stanford UP, under contract) and is editing Cambridge Companion to K-Pop. Her comments on Korean cultural politics have been featured in major media outlets, such as Billboard, CNN, NPR, and the New York Times.

Moderator: Haley Gordon, Research Associate in Korea Program at APARC, Stanford University