Popular Culture and Soft Power in South Korea

South Korea’s strategy of building soft power is based on the 2018 PyeongChang ranks, which is one of the better organized Olympic Games of recent times. The world has many aspects of Korean culture, food, and technology. South Korean government can claim much of the credit for giving games a special atmosphere. They always consider games an important event in the country, and thus, they even provide the necessities to their players.

The summer Olympic Games is mentioned as the start of South Korea’s successful soft power push. It was later followed by a rapid opening up of the country’s popular culture through K-pop, TV drama, and film. This was all done with the full support of its various governments to show a side to South Korea, which appeals to other Asian countries (Cheon & Chung, 2018). They pay attention to the entertainment sector, thus motivating the participants and encouraging them to do more.

It is taking steps to extend its soft power through the promotion of its contemporary arts and traditional crafts and through sportsmen and women. Its museums are world-class with strong international connections as well as the growing popularity of their language. The students are inspired to learn Hangeul thanks to the continuing phenomenon of K-pop. It is also opening its education system to international students.

It does not only allow their own students in their schools but also students from other countries. Government support is crucial to this next stage of South Korea’s soft power. South Korea’s government works closely with the media to set its soft power priorities. The national trade policy is also supported by a soft agenda. UK inspires South Korea for the way they have built their institutions, particularly education sectors and culture.

It offers rapid advances in digital and advanced manufacturing. Schools are keen to develop the inter-cultural skills of their teachers and students. They are also interested in developing a better curriculum and methodology for creative education. The government does this by giving enough financial support to the education sector. Children are encouraged to be fully participatory in both academic and co-curricular activities (Easley & Park, 2018). This helps ensure that by the time the students are through with education, they become all rounded.

In South Korea, soft power is highly embraced and has influenced many people. It brings about an understanding of culture internationally and provides a guideline on how they should invest. Their soft power has been used to support the expansion of China’s central television. Last year, South Korea topped the billboard Hot 100, and Joon-hos won four major Oscars, which is a great pride of the country (Johnson, 2018). The drama also grew on Netflix drastically, and the Korean language ranked the second-fastest growing language in the world. South Korea has embraced western influence and used it together with their home influence, thus becoming culturally and economically successful (Flew, 2016). They blend the western influence with their way of life, thus adapting to the helpful and advantageous styles of doing things, making them more productive.

South Korea is all rounded in terms of entertainment, and they do this by putting equal measures on movies, TV shows, music, and games. Korea’s drastic rise in art was designed strategically and with a lot of patience. They spent time to ensure that their works of art were well developed and were to bring pride and value to their country. The government is also very supportive by providing adequate finance to the Ministry of Culture (Lyan, 2019).

It allocates a favorable budget and assistance for their local creative shows and their traditional filmmakers. The government does not only support internationally owned films but also their own, which they believe brings economic and cultural growth to the country. South Korea is trying to promote GoT and LOTR to grow their country’s entertainment industries. In 2020, the Korean culture and information service set up 32 cultural centers. Their language classes were also filled immediately, indicating that the country is organized and well planned (Hashimoto, 2018). It also shows that citizens embrace every learning opportunity that comes their way and use every opportunity to their advantage.

South Korea has many divisions dedicated content policy bureau, which houses the cultural industry policy, film and video content, game content industry, and popular culture industry. Korea is always considerate in matters of patriotism, homegrown roots, talents, and being relevant in the world (Mo, 2016). South Korea embraces their local shows, making them well known even by one who has never been to Korea.

They do this by participating in the growth of the shows as well as by watching and enjoying shows produced and performed on their very own. Education has brought growth in Korea’s government, producing skilled, well-trained, and committed employees who bring economic growth to the country. Their schools also provide successful and valuable education to their learners. Students are involved in competitive tests, thus bringing stiff and productive competition in the country (Thussu, 2016). They believe that with no healthy competition, the country cannot grow and cannot produce citizens’ worth in the society.

The students in South Korea have a lot of school work to complete since they study both in school and privately. This makes them smart academically, progressing Korea’s soft power (Winkler, 2019). The culture embraces hard work and diligence, as people do not tolerate failure at any cost nor point. Success amongst their student or children is highly valued and is said to bring high expectations towards their family members. Education is a priority and treasure in South Korea, and those who succeed in education are highly respected. Education is a necessity in South Korea, and many parents prefer the country’s model of education compared to the US model.

Korea’s model encourages parents not to abandon their children’s education, and they end up spending a lot of money. They pay tutors, school fees, buy education materials, and even presents for their children. Most parents also send their children to private schools for extra studies other than regular school studies (Lovric, 2018). By doing this, they ensure to get the best out of their children, and they believe that children will be successful and valuable in the country.

Education has contributed to the high growth of Korea’s democratic government, thus building its soft power drastically. Thus, both the Korean government and the parents play a major role in improving the country’s education system. They believe that the pride of a nation lies in its citizens. Korean soft power is to be embraced, and other countries should learn from their strategies and embrace favorable and helpful activities.

Reference List

Cheon, D.-H. and Chung, B.-W. (2018) ‘The influence of 3rd generation Korean wave on favorability, attitudes, and behavior intention to Korea,’ Journal of Tourism and Leisure Research, 30(8), pp. 419–437.

Easley, L.-E. and Park, K. (2018) ‘South Korea’s mismatched diplomacy in Asia: Middle power identity, interests, and foreign policy,’ International politics, 55(2), pp. 242–263.

Flew, T. (2016) ‘Entertainment media, cultural power, and post-globalization: The case of China’s international media expansion and the discourse of soft power,’ Global media and China, 1(4), pp. 278–294.

Hashimoto, K. (ed.) (2018) Japanese language and soft power in Asia. Singapore: Springer Singapore.

Johnson, J. R. (2018) The effects of cultural diplomacy on public perception in Asia. Utah State University.

Lovric, B. (2018). From film stories to national soft power: Policies and film content of South Korea, japan, and China. In the Palgrave Handbook of Asian Cinema (pp. 609–630). Palgrave Macmillan UK.

Lyan, I. (2019). Welcome to Korea Day: From diasporic to hallyu “fan-nationalism.” International Journal of Communication, 13 p 17.

Mo, J. (2016) “South Korea’s middle power diplomacy: A case of growing compatibility between regional and global roles,” International journal (Toronto, Ont.), 71(4), pp. 587–607.

Thussu, D. (2016) ‘The scramble for Asian soft power in Africa,’ Les Enjeux de l’information et de la communication, 17/2(2), p. 225.

Winkler, S. C. (2019) ‘Soft power is such a benign animal: Narrative power and the reification of concepts in Japan,’ Cambridge review of International Affairs, 32(4), pp. 483–501.

Cite this paper

Select style


DemoEssays. (2022, September 16). Popular Culture and Soft Power in South Korea. Retrieved from https://demoessays.com/popular-culture-and-soft-power-in-south-korea/


DemoEssays. (2022, September 16). Popular Culture and Soft Power in South Korea. https://demoessays.com/popular-culture-and-soft-power-in-south-korea/

Work Cited

"Popular Culture and Soft Power in South Korea." DemoEssays, 16 Sept. 2022, demoessays.com/popular-culture-and-soft-power-in-south-korea/.


DemoEssays. (2022) 'Popular Culture and Soft Power in South Korea'. 16 September.


DemoEssays. 2022. "Popular Culture and Soft Power in South Korea." September 16, 2022. https://demoessays.com/popular-culture-and-soft-power-in-south-korea/.

1. DemoEssays. "Popular Culture and Soft Power in South Korea." September 16, 2022. https://demoessays.com/popular-culture-and-soft-power-in-south-korea/.


DemoEssays. "Popular Culture and Soft Power in South Korea." September 16, 2022. https://demoessays.com/popular-culture-and-soft-power-in-south-korea/.