* This is The Korea Blog’s weekly Hallyu (Korean Wave) news.
Even without direct access, K-pop and K-dramas have found their way to Sweden, thanks to the internet and Swedish fans who listen and view them online. Despite the cultural differences, there seems to be great potential for Hallyu to break into Sweden.
No direct channels nor concerts, but the power of word of mouth and YouTube
According to reports from the Korean Embassy in Sweden, Hallyu is gaining popularity through Swedish students who are interested in Korean pop culture. The fans watch K-dramas with English subtitles and listen to K-pop via online channels such as YouTube and are introducing Korean pop culture by word of mouth.
Swedish fan comments about K-dramas such as “Boys over Flowers”(꽃보다 남자) mention that the Korean version, compared to the Japanese and Taiwanese version of the same drama, had strong plot composition and superb acting, while including humorous elements.
The attraction of K-dramas, feeling warm and fuzzy inside with the main characters
Specific comments noted that a lot of humor in Swedish programs focuses on viewers laughing at a character’s antics whereas in K-dramas the laughter was shared, so the viewer would be laughing with the character rather than laughing at them, creating a friendlier atmosphere.
Another attractive point of K-dramas that was mentioned was the common factor in the popular dramas “Dae Jang Geum” (대장금, “Jewel in the Palace”) and “Boys over Flowers”; Swedish fans identify with the success story of the main characters who come from humble backgrounds and go through many hardships before making it to the top, while being successful in their pursuit of pure love on the way.
Fans also mention that while there are many solo artists in Sweden, they find it interesting that K-pop features many idol groups with strong dance skills such as Big Bang, Dong Bang Shin Ki (DBSK/TVXQ), Shinee, Super Junior, and After School. Singers from these popular groups also star and act in TV dramas, naturally carrying on the interest for these singers to TV dramas and making them popular.