UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

"Korean wave" in China : its impact on the South Korean-Chinese relations Kim, Ji-Eun


The “Korean Wave” refers to the love of South Korean cultural products. The wave has started in East Asia and swept over Southeast Asia. More recently, it has even landed in the Middle East and part of Europe. In particular, this thesis looks at the Korean Wave in the context of China, where the Korean Wave first started and the term was coined. It aims to answer the following research questions: 1) To what extent the Korean pop culture has influenced the public sentiment in China? 2) How the government and political leaders have responded to the Korean Wave in China? In response, it is argued that Korean soap-operas, in particular, have boosted the Chinese public’s interest in Korea and created positive national images of Korea. This effect can be explained by the Korean media and government’s active support and the timely development of the internet. However, the high-level response to the phenomenon has also reflected the Chinese government’s concern over foreign cultural imports and their unwillingness to utilize the Korean Wave as a tool of promoting South Korea-China relations. Finally, this thesis also argues that the Korean Wave has a potential to become the cornerstone of “soap-opera diplomacy” based on the cultural familiarity that could improve the declining state to state bilateral relations.

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