In the last couple of years, the nation has witnessed a sudden rise in the Korean influence among the youth, particularly in the Northeast. Derived from the Chinese word 'Hallyu,’ the Korean wave has swept the northeast region like wildfire. This wave was felt first in Manipur where an insurgency was prevalent, and the Revolutionary People's front enforced a law banning Hindi TV channels and Bollywood movies to stop 'Indianisation’ in the area. This led to an increase in Korean soaps, cinema, and fashion, and filled the streets with pirated Korean DVDs.
Though Manipal is now more relaxed on the indianisation issue, the influence of Korean wave made a huge impression on the young minds, and Korean wave culture also influenced other Northeastern states. The Korean wave is followed closely by many youngsters in the Northeast, but different regions of India had its first interaction with K-Pop after PSY's famous song, 'Gangnam Style' made its presence felt.
What is K-Pop?
Korean pop, or more commonly known as K-Pop, is a music genre originating from South Korea, which comprises a wide variety of visual and musical elements. The Korean wave is spreading from Asia to other parts of the world such as North East India, South America, Turkey, and Mexico.
Why did the K-Pop Culture have such an impact on the Northeast?
The Northeast has more than 220 ethnic groups with everyone having their own language and cultural practices of songs, dance, and festivals, which are quite relatable to South East Asian culture. They also have the physical resemblance, traditional and cultural knowledge, food habits and other such similarities. It is therefore easy to understand the strong connection on the youth of in the northeast region.
The Editor-in-Chief at www.destinationkpop.com, Lucy Nelia states that this strong pull is also a result of the alienation of Northeast region in Bollywood movies and the lack of involvement and initiative by other parts of the country. She added that many youngsters grow up thinking they are different from the rest of Indians, and they need to devise an identity that is their own. South East Asian culture heavily influenced this identity.
The Rise of the K-Pop Culture in Music Industry
Since YouTube became more accessible to the common public, the Korean Music Industry marked its presence worldwide. Even when the language is different and completely unknown to most people, K-Pop music has millions of devoted fans. This genre of music has contributed to South Korea's tourism and economy greatly.
In 2014, a K-Pop group was brought to India with the initiative of exploring and inventing Korean culture. The group got rave reviews and had an overwhelming response from the people, and in the year 2015, the group made a comeback and performed in three cities including Chennai, Guwahati, and Ahmedabad. This rise in interest among fans made many K-Pop groups and solo singers perform in Mizoram and Delhi.
K-Pop Culture a Boon For the Northeast
Northeast has a huge K-Pop fan following, and it can be safely said that the youth of Northeast has absorbed the culture much more than the rest of the Indian youth. It could either be the way they dress or the way they present themselves, Northeast crowd is heavily involved with K-Pop. Some people also think that the impact of Korean culture has been so strong that the youth spends a lot more time trying to dress and look like their idols. The 'Hallyu' wave is something that will continue to linger on for a long time primarily in fashion, which includes hairstyling and dressing.
The big eye contact lenses are also a trend that is taking over the Northeast youth, which is largely produced in countries like South Korea, China, and Japan. Online websites like KPOP2.com sell this type of Korean circle lenses to fans who wish to look like K-Pop artist. The lenses are cosmetic, i.e., decorative and non-corrective lenses that make the eye's iris look bigger than the original.
The popularity of K-Pop music is such that the Government of Nagaland included it in its annual Hornbill Festival, which is regarded as one of the major cultural festivals of India. The K-Pop culture has gained momentum over the years and will continue to do so.
By: Harsh Shah (firstname.lastname@example.org) | Image Source : Pixabay (K-Pop Creative Art)