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Hallyu (한루) or the Korean wave, is a term that refers to the growing popularity of Korean entertainment, culture, food and language in other countries; particularly in East and Southeast Asia. The Korean wave can be traced back to the 1990s when audiences in China, Japan and Taiwan were first exposed to South Korean dramas. Korean dramas, pronounced as durama (드라마) in Korean, are essentially soap operas that last for about three months with around twenty episodes or so. Korean dramas are known to contain highly addicting plotlines. Naturally, stories of unrequited love, good guy versus bad, reeled in many East Asian fans.
Interestingly enough, Korean dramas became popular in Middle Eastern countries like Iran as well. With Korean dramas focused on family values and devoid of sexual content, Middle Eastern audiences were able to identify with some of the drama’s characters. One of the most notable of these dramas is called Jewel of the Palace or dae jang gum (대장금). Dramas like dae jang gum (대장금) sparked an unprecented interest in Korean culture and put South Korea on the “map.”
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