Latin America Washed Out to Sea by ¡®Korean Wave¡¯

Actor Ahn Jae-wook (left) and Jang Dong-gun Actor Ahn Jae-wook (left) and Jang Dong-gun
Mexico City -- Mexico is the latest country to be swept up in ¡°hanryu,¡± or the Korean Wave. Since the airing of Korean dramas ¡°All About Eve¡± and ¡°Wish Upon A Star¡± in October 2002, four Korean associations have come into being, including fan clubs with upwards of 1200 members for actors Ahn Jae-wook and Jang Dong-gun.

Peru, Bolivia and Costa Rica, already have active and growing fan clubs for Korean entertainers. At the event ¡°Travel to Korea,¡± hosted by the Korean Embassy in Mexico on Saturday, 200 members from the ¡°Korea Fan Club¡± and the ¡°Fan Club of Ahn Jae-wook¡± turned up to see Korean traditional clothing and watch music videos and Korean movies.

In addition to the younger Mexicans present, Antonio Vasques, 86, said he is fascinated by Korean movies and made a point of participating. So did Manuel Orozco Coutinho, a physician who brought his wife and daughter.

¡°All About Eve¡± and ¡°Wish Upon A Star¡± were hits with Mexican viewers and rebroadcast four times in primetime. ¡°All About Eve¡± is about to be aired for a fifth time.
Officials for local broadcasters said that after the Korean drama appeared on Mexican televisions, inquiries about the theme song, background music and ways to purchase the albums came flooding in.
Members of the Korea Fan Club are continuing to collect information related to Korea through Internet Web sites and are planning to open exhibitions that highlight Korea.
Korea¡¯s ambassador to Mexico, Cho Kyu-hyung said, ¡°The continued broadcast of Korean mini-series dramas with familiar subjects to the local people might augment the Korean wave in Latin American countries and will be a big help in improving Korea¡¯s image.¡±
Kim emphasized that this is an important time to be promoting Korean culture to Spanish speakers -- of which there are more than 450 million -- and suggested producing DVDs in Spanish.

englishnews@chosun.com / 3¿ù 28, 2004 18:09 KST