Now is the time of "Hallyu 3.0," when academia could become the driving force of Korean culture promotion, said Lee Bae-yong, president of the Academy of Korean Studies, on Tuesday.
Promotion of extensive studies into Korean history will give a boost to the country's cultural products, contributing to the further spread of the Korean culture wave, the chief of the state think-tank said at a press luncheon. She took the helm of the AKS in September.
"'Hallyu 1.0' was about TV dramas, such as 'Winter Sonata' or 'Jewel in the Palace,' that portrayed the Korean lifestyle to foreigners. 'Hallyu 2.0' was the era of K-pop and Psy, showing the modern entertainment the country has to offer," Lee said.
"We are now stepping into the era of 'Hallyu 3.0,' where academic research could provide cultural products with depth and grounds for further storytelling. We now need to approach the 'hallyu syndrome' from an academic perspective to bring about longevity and strength," she declared.
Lee said just by studying and looking into Korean history, more stories could be discovered that can be adapted for cultural products. For instance, Lee had suggested to Choi Moon-soon, governor of Gangwon Province, home of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, that his provincial government develop TV dramas, theme parks and tourist attractions about Shin Saimdang (1504-1551) and Heo Nanseolheon (1563-1589). Both were acclaimed female artists from Gangwon Province.
"Heo was the first hallyu star as I can remember. She wrote poems and novels, which were taken to China by her brother, Heo Gyun, where they enjoyed enormous popularity. She even had a fan club there. Shin was a terrific artist who brought life to paintings. Their stories could inspire people worldwide," she said.
On Thursday, the academy is hosting a seminar on academic approaches to hallyu.
"It is a rare and meaningful development that non-Anglo, non-Western culture has permeated into Western society, though it may be limited to pop culture. Still, hardly any studies have been conducted regarding the field, except for some governmental projects. Instead of looking at hallyu as a mere phenomenon, we will try to trace the origin and reason for it from an academic perspective," said Lee Dong-hee, an academy official.
Lee Bae-yong, an acclaimed historian, expressed hope that students at the academy stand at the forefront of Hallyu 3.0. The academy is currently running masters' and doctorate programs in Korean studies fields, namely history and culture & arts. Of the 250 students enrolled, 122 are foreigners from 30 countries, mainly developing countries.
"In the past, those taking Korean studies courses were from East Asia or from a handful Western states, but nowadays we are seeing growing demand from all over the world," Lee said.