‘My Love from the Star’, How Did It Penetrate the Bamboo Curtain? 국민리뷰 보기

‘My Love from the Star’, How Did It Penetrate the Bamboo Curtain?


Han-Kyul Lim                                                       

A recently ended Korean drama, ‘My Love from the Star,’ literally swept across China. All the Korean bars in China were filled with Chinese people wanting to have chicken and beer which is the heroine’s favorite menu in the drama. A broadcasting company of China spent millions of dollars to cast Soo-Hyun Kim who is the hero of the drama. Such popularity is quite exceptional considering the unique market situation of China where the government strongly regulates the importing of foreign audiovisual programs.
 It is about nine years ago that a Korean drama gained great popularity in China. The popularity of ‘Dae Jang Geum’ in 2005 ironically caused Koran dramas to be checked by the Chinese government. The General Administration of Civil Aviation of China (an agency of managing broadcast media and movies) strengthened regulations on foreign audiovisual programs. The National TV and CCTV of China reduced the air time and restricted the broadcasting of imported Korean dramas to four per year in 2006. And Korean dramas cannot be broadcasted during the prime time between 7:00~10:00 p.m. In recent years, Korean entertainment programs, ‘I am a singer’, ‘Dad! Where do we go?’ are popular in China, but each broadcasting company can only purchase one entertainment program format per year due to the government restrictions.
 Although China set up the bamboo curtain of regulatory policies, it was not enough to stop Korean dramas’ craze. The main reason is the role of video sites in China. Video sites, such as Yinyuetai, Iqivy, etc., where Chinese audience can see foreign audiovisual programs in real time are developed. These sites purchase the publication rights of dramas officially starting in 2008 and service Chinese audience. My Love from the Star was sold to eight video sites at the end of October in 2013 even before it began its broadcasting. Thanks to these sites, Chinese audience can watch dramas with subtitles in one hour after they were broadcasted in Korea. An SBS official said “Although the price difference between the TV publication rights and video site publication rights was high in the past, it recently became close and it is almost 1 to 0.8.”
 Many Korean dramas were shown to Chinese audience in this approach, but why did My Love from the Star get such an explosive response? Experts said that this drama had many elements Chinese people liked.
 Dr. Seong-Hyeon Park in the investigation and research team of Korean Wave Foundation for International Culture Exchange was cited for saying “developed-country look, dialogue-lines that are friendly to Chinese and a heroine with self-assertive personality are the three reasons for its success.” He also said, “People in China and Southeast Asia achieved rapid economic development and they want to see the improved life of economic development. Korean drama shows it visually.” In addition, My Love from the Star shows a lot of dialogue-lines that are friendly to Chinese people. Do Min-Jun (Soo-Hyun Kim), the hero of My Love from the Star is an alien who came to Joseon Dynasty 400 years ago from a spaceship. He looks like he is in the 20s but he enjoys looking through ‘Myungshimbogam’ (The book, written in the Goryeo Dynasty, is a collection of maxims and wise sayings), and tells didactic dialogues such as “Coveting property is barbarian’s doing.” The Chinese people feel more intimacy because of the dialogue-lines containing Chinese culture and reflecting the spirit of Confucianism. The proud and strong self-assertive heroin, Chun Song-Yi (Ji-Hyun Jeon), also captures Chinese’s hearts.
 Experts think My Love from the Star craze can cause further strengthening of regulations in China like that of Dae Jang Geum in 2005. Dr. Seong-Hyeon Park predicts, “Since China is a socialist country, they might try to regulate again to protect their culture.” In particular, if China’s self-esteem that they are the origin of the oriental culture and Sinocentrism are affected, it will try to put up another bamboo curtain. Dr. Seong-Hyeon Park said, “However, the Korean wave stars and agencies already recognized the possibility of Chinese market regulations and entered into China, and Korean dramas have enjoyed great popularity in China, so there would be a limit on the effect of regulations.”





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