BCM320 Contextual Essay K-Dramas

Within my digital Artefact I explored Korean Dramas specifically those available for western consumption on Netflix, I had very little to no actual exposure to K-Dramas in the past and even had somewhat of distaste for endeavouring to experience them. This was because I felt that the actual content of K-Dramas couldn’t possibly be appropriate for what I generally watch which is usually action content. I think the real issue here comes from the assumption that K-Drama implies that the medium can only be romantic drama and be unable to move beyond that yet I saw a great deal of K-Dramas with rom-com elements and even action and fantasy genres that I would never even consider to associate with them. The field site I chose to study this cultural medium was Netflix as there are a great deal of them on Netflix as their internationally is a widespread interest in Korean culture, with their at one point being what experts describe as the ‘Korean wave’ or hallyu where Korean cultural exports is suddenly spreading around the globe. (Bacon 2016)

My method for recording my data from my field site was through recording myself watching K-Dramas in what could be described as a reaction video, then I would pause the show whenever I felt that I had made an interesting epiphany or insight into the show, and vocalize it in my recording.
Some of these epiphanies I maintained and kept as part of my Digital artefact as I felt they were very interesting on their own and were accessible to my intended audience.

A couple of interesting things to note are how huge the recent market for Korean Dramas is expanding particularly in the West with The Korea Herald citing that in its online survey in for the US they surveyed 4,753 which is double the number of respondents in the last survey conducted in 2014. (Yonhap, 2018)

The survey doesn’t exactly display just how large the amount of consumers of Korean Dramas is in the US, but it does show relatively reliable insight into how the fans of Korean Dramas are separated by age with 16-20 year olds dominating the percentage of those surveyed being 38.5% of their sample.

They also interesting asked the respondents about their ethnic background and interestingly though 25.5% of the respondents were Asian in second place were Hispanics 25.1% and third were 24% who were White. (Yonhap, 2018)
This exposes to me, insight into the fact that Western culture does not seem to abstain from participating in cultures outside their own, and race can clearly be seen to have little influence in whether you would or would not like Korean cultural exports like K-Pop and K-Dramas.

Another interesting insight I found from research external of my main field site, was that most Korean Dramas are almost all one season (Nicolaou 2018) which further research revealed to generally be the case and have to do with the actual television industry of Korea. This is interesting in terms of the actual content of K-Dramas as well because he generally means that a show generally closes all possible plot shows in its first season rather than open ended endings to seasons in the hopes of making a return for several seasons. (As you may expect in Western media)

Overall I was surprised to find myself to actually enjoy my experience with Korean Dramas and will likely not hestitate to watch them again in the future, and hope to through my artefact inspire others like myself to give them ‘a go’ as it were.


Bacon, C 2016 ‘Why Korean Dramas are Popular’, Reel Rundown.
Available at: https://reelrundown.com/movies/Korean-Wave-Why-Are-Korean-Dramas-Popular

Yonhap, 2018 (2017) ‘Korean dramas enjoy huge wave of popularity in US’, The Korea Herald.
Available at: http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20170203000842

Nicolaou, E 2018 ‘Meet Your Next Big Obsession: Korean Dramas’, Refinery29
Available at: https://www.refinery29.com/2017/07/164868/korean-dramas-on-netflix

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