There is a foreign invasion taking place in India’s Northeast region. But the invasion is not from neighboring countries like China or Bangladesh. This time round, it is a cultural invasion. The North eastern states have been experiencing a shift in cultural assimilation from western Americanize ethos(people, system) to Korean and Japanese culture. The wave of globalization and information and communication technology revolution has also been felt in the North Eastern States of India. Korean culture is spreading like wild-fire across the North East India.
Everything that’s Korean is selling hot. Korean culture ranging from soaps, music, food, movies. Markets flooded with Korean DVDs, sometimes pirated sold at 100-200 Indian Rupees. Every home has not less than 20 DVDs. The rooms of young people are adorned with posters of Korean actors. Koreans ethos has taken over hearts and homes of many families. The demand for Korean soaps, cinema, fashion and language is at a new peak. What made it possible? Many factors facilitate the raid of the phenomenon. Some of them may be discussed as follows: Socio-cultural implications of K-POP culture:
New movie cult: The Korean movies are gradually replacing the Bollywood and even the Hollywood ones. Instead of current Bollywood favourites, it is movie names like “The Classic”, “Windstruck”, “A Moment to Remember”, “My Sassy Girl” etc. , that are on the lips of the teenagers. The posters of Korean actors and actresses have replaced that of Shah Rukh Khan, Rani Mukherjee, Aishwarya Rai, and others. In Mizoram even the older generation has been addicted to Korean movies since the local cable television translated Korean films and dramas.
New youth culture: With the arrival of Arirang, its impact upon the North East people, especially among the youngsters has been felt in many ways. For example, after watching the various Korean serials on Arirang, there is an earnest desire by the youngsters to imitate and copy everything from language, to food habit, to dress style, even the body language and some Korean manners. They have started using some common sentences used in the day to day life by the serial stars. For instance, aneo (hello), sarangheo (I love you), kamsahamnida (thank you), etc.
They begin to wish each other through Korean style. They have become so familiar with the Korean actors, actresses and singers that most of them know Rain, Seven, Bigbang etc. Some of them can even sing some of their favourite Korean singers’ songs. Among school kids and teenagers, Korean movie is one of their hot topics since many things in Korean cultural life that are shown in serials and movies, can relate with their own life and society. The youths have also started sleeping on the floor of their room instead of on the bed. They feel that it is so fashionable.
New business trends: These pirated films, which can be rented for as low as five rupees or ten rupees for a night are a rage with the audience. These movies come in special DVD formats consisting of around eight to nine movies in a DVD. They make copies and either sell them or rent them out. Imported items from South East Asian countries through Myanmar, are flooded with pirated movie, television serial and music CDs mainly from Korea. The rise of the Korean Wave in India particularly in the Northeast region of India is a unique phenomenon.
The ‘wave’ has reached the shore of Northeastern region of India, particularly Nagaland state since 2007. The wave hit stronger after the first ever Korea-India Music Festival was held in Kohima in 2008 under the joint partnership of Nagaland government and the South Korea government. In 2009, the Korean singers, wrestlers and even Korean food featured during the Hornbill festival, a yearly event festival held in Kohima. Naga boys and girls belted out Korean songs. Why people in Northeast India have easily assimilated to Korean culture while Indian culture is just at their doorsteps? Perhaps this question is seldom asked.
This may be because of physical similarities between the Koreans and the northeasterners who are mostly of Mongoloid stock. People find Solace/comfort/relief in Korean entertainment because of the likeness in physical appearance. Another factor might be attributed the ban of Hindi movies by militants in the northeast. However, had there been no physical similarities between Korea and the tribal of Northeast India, the wave may not have much impact to attract customers. The Korean Wave is therefore, the result of a star system and new entertainment management firms that have a strong appeal to the audience.
On the other hand, as one of the most popular cultural discourses among Asians, the Korean Wave has certainly created a new set of cultural symbols in this region. The Korean government has combined this cultural symbol with economic development. It is clear that the Korean government has been trying to foster the ties apparently, for economic benefits through promoting cultural industry. The Korean wave has moved beyond a fad and is here to stay. But the cultural boom has helped the Koreans in two ways – promotes cultural ties and business deal follows.