By AASTHA AGRAWAL
South Korean popular culture is providing rich flavours and fun moves at Monash University for Korea Week, which runs until September 7.
The Korean Appreciation Student Association (KASA) will run the events in collaboration with the university’s Korean Language department to encourage students to get involved, said KASA marketing officer Esra Sahingoz.
“The Korean Studies department at Monash is constantly growing, and I hope through this collaboration, more students and faculty who already have a vested interest in Korean culture will pursue studies in the Korean Studies field,” she said.
The week will be dedicated to events relating to the Korean culture including traditional Korean music and dance performances, taekwondo workshops, kimchi-making and Korean food tasting events, as well as Korean conversation learning circles.
Ms Sahingoz said people are attracted to Korean culture because it is so unlike Western entertainment.
South Korean rapper PSY’s 2012 viral hit Gangnam Style assisted in the initial introduction for many into K-pop, which then started spreading like wildfire internationally.
Gangnam Style held the title for the most viewed video on YouTube for five years straight, and currently has over 3.3 billion views.
Another K-Pop sensation, BLACKPINK, formed in 2016, now has their own reality TV show called BLACKPINK House.
The BLACKPINK House series has amassed over 45 million views on YouTube, and their YouTube channel now has over 10 million subscribers.
South Korea’s unique fashion, food, Korean soap-opera television (K-drama), skincare and music have continued to attract the world.
A 2017 report found South Korean tourism skyrocketed, increasing from 300,000 tourists visiting per annum in 1998, to 11.8 million in 2014.
Ms Sahingoz said the fandom culture and accessibility of artists is "vastly different to that of the Western international entertainment industry”.
“This kind of connectivity is something that is so unique to Korean entertainment that Western media doesn't really accommodate,” she said.
MDS K-pop member Shruthi Shankar said she “stumbled” across the K-Pop dance classes when she was performing for another group.
“I thought it was so cool because I am a huge fan of BTS, ATEEZ and NCT [K-pop boy groups] and love dancing, so this was perfect,” she said.
Ms Shankar said the “high energy” dance classes are run by a professional teacher, and the classes have enabled her to become more social at university.
“I look forward to classes every week and I’ve made a lot of friends through it,” she said.
KASA’s upcoming events include their annual ball, which is thematically organised around a K-pop music video every year, a K-Pop trivia night, and another K-BBQ event.