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K-Pop Wave: A Surging Pop Culture

Popular culture is the “culture of people.” It is characterized by the kind of social life the public actively uses, which is easily determined by the kind of words, dress, food, music, and other daily activities that people use to communicate or interact with one another. With the emergence of mass media, particularly social media, pop culture found an even wider medium to propagate. One of the most famous pop cultures of our time is K-pop.

Coming from the country South Korea, Korean pop music, or most commonly known as K-pop, has its history traced back as early as the 1950s, but the modern version we now know started in the 1990s when “Seo Taiji and Boys”, the first K-pop group, combined Korean pop music with the beat of popular American music and hip-hop choreography.

In a span of two decades, K-pop has continued to grow. This phenomenon is called Hallyu or Korean wave. Based on the report released by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, K-pop had a 20% increase in 2018, and a 45% increase in 2020, which landed it to the 6th place in the global music markets.

The 2010s and 2020s are considered the Golden Years of K-pop. From BIGBANG to Psy to BTS and Blackpink now, there has been nothing stopping K-pop and its fandom from spreading all over the world! But what makes this pop culture unique from the rest?

Synchronized Dance Moves

K-pop dance moves are characterized by a lot of synchronized movements. Members do a lot of what is called “formation changing,” or the switching of positions a lot of times. The repetitive movements or “point dance” that are carefully matched to the concepts of the songs make K-pop dance moves simply addicting to watch. No wonder Psy’s Gangnam Style made most parts of the world do the gallops.

Simple Songs, Catchy Hooks

Another special feature of K-pop songs is their simple lyrics that everyone can follow, even the foreigners who cannot even understand them. Every K-pop song released also has a catchy phrase that is repeatedly sung throughout the song. For example, Blackpink’s “Ddu ddu ddu du” has the same catchy phrase as its title.

Good-looking Members

Every K-pop idol looks aesthetic. Fashionable clothes, trendy hairstyles, glass skin, and most of all, killer smiles - these characteristics are some of the reasons for their tremendous fame that make their fans go crazy. In fact, the 2022 Most Handsome Person in the World went to Kim Tae-Hyung, most commonly known as V of BTS. BTS is a world renowned K-pop group, and their fandom, Army, is the biggest fan group recorded in the world with its more than 40 million members from more than 100 countries.

K-pop has introduced Korean culture to the world. It has changed music in its own way, and we could only expect it to surge even more.



Billboard Staff. (2022, October 15). How to watch BTS’ live ‘Yet to come’ world expo 2030 Busan Korea concert. Yahoo! Sports - News, Scores, Standings, Rumors, Fantasy Games.

Delaney, T. (2016, July 19). Pop culture: An overview - volume 64, November/December 2007. Philosophy Now. Retrieved November 26, 2022, from

Herman, T. (2022, April 30). Min, formerly of K-pop group miss A, on new single Hit Me Up, dancing, her upcoming move to Broadway and where K-pop is now. South China Morning Post.

IMDb. (2012). Psy: Gangnam style.

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