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    The Hallyu Wave In London

    Are you a budding fan of K-pop? Do you want to learn more about the culture that surrounds this genre of music? Too skint for a ticket to Seoul? Look no further than London!

    What is the Hayllu Wave?

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    So if you’re wondering what the ‘hallyu wave’ is, you’re not alone! But it is a phrase that literally means ‘the flow of Korea’ and is meant to describe the increase of global popularity of South Korean culture. And this wave began during the 1980’s, with the mass exportation of Korean television dramas and films to other Asian countries such as Taiwan, China and Japan.

    But what would become ‘K-pop’ as we (in the western world) know it would not really come into its own until the early to mid 1990’s when Korea as country was experiencing major economic growth and when the large corporations realised they could use ‘popular culture’ and Korean Pop, to their advantage. So companies such as SM entertainment, YG entertainment and JYP entertainment began to open and flourish from this newfound growth and wealth.

    The Wave Makes its Way

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    While K-pop, as we know it has only recently become quite popular in the West, this type of music has been making waves of change since its beginnings. What can typically be thought of as a defining moment in K-pop history is PSY’s song “Gangnam Style”. The popular song and explosive music video was YouTube’s most viewed video until 2017 when ‘Despacito’ replaced it for the top spot. While PSY’s song was seen as a ‘one off’ in the west, it was a major achievement for the Korean Music industry and opened the door for Korean music in a way that had never been done before this moment.

    Since “Gangnam Style” came out seven years, K-pop as a genre has only gained more traction in Western Europe as well as the States. This popularity can be seen clearly in the immense international fan bases of groups such as EXO, BTS, Red Velvet, GOT7, SHINee, BIGBANG and Twice to name a few. These groups along with most other K-pop groups have been able to garner international attention and status for their work.

    And when YouTube first became a popular sharing platform, the “Big Three” entertainment companies (JYP, SM, and YG) all jumped onto this platform and created their own channels for promoting each of their artists and groups. YouTube is being used as a platform for sharing the artists MV’s, dance videos, interviews, as well as fan made videos, it has become one of the many places where fans can converge and discuss their favourite idols and show support to the groups. YouTube, as well as the Internet overall, can be seen as one of the driving forces behind what has brought the wave to the west.

    The Wave in London

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    Because London is so culturally diverse, there are several ways that you can experience the ‘Hallyu Wave’ without having to leave London! And here are just a few of the ways that you can do that. An interesting fact about London is that the city has the largest Korean population in the EU, and due to this, it also boasts some of the best ways to experience the ‘hallyu’ wave in the UK! Now these are just SOME of the ways to experience Korean Culture in London, there are several more if you just do a little research!

    1. The New Malden high street! This corner of London has the largest Korean community in Europe and is definitely worth a visit!

    2. To get your K-pop merchandise fix, why not head over to Seoul Bakery! If you ask at the till, they will take you down the stairs into K-pop heaven filled with posters, cds, wristbands and more!

    3. Greek street in the Soho area is also worth a visit! Have dinner at Bimbibap, a Korean restaurant that doesn't hide its love for K-pop with k-pop music blaring and BIGBANG posters on the walls.

    4. Head across the street to Gaza Soho for some bingsu (Korean shaved ice) and some of the best coffee culture this side of Seoul.

    5. For a night out, why not check out Young Bros. K-pop parties. They were recently mentioned on BBC! The parties are well worth a visit.

    6. And if you want to move it like your favourite K-pop idols, why not check out one of the many dance studios that host K-pop classes, like DGC dance!

    So now that you know about the ‘wave’ why not get inspired and listen to some top tracks!

    google / Via (psy Gangnam style) (super junior sorry sorry) (GOT7 never ever) (shinee Lucifer) (red velvet red flavour) (exo KO KO BOP) (blackpink playing with fire) (BTS blood sweat and tears) (btob movie) (gfriend navillera) (bigbang bang bang bang) (triple H retro future) (astro baby) (twice tt) (BTS Idol) (victon I'm fine) (GOT7 just right) (Jay Park All i wanna do) (SUNMI Gashina) (EXO monster)