Over the course of the pandemic, there's been a K-Wave in India.
A string of local media have reported in recent weeks on this surge of popularity of modern Korean culture, from world-famous boyband BTS and K-Dramas to Kimchi and Korean makeup.
K-Pop has been one of the top genres Indian music fans have been streaming over the past year, and Netflix reported that K-Drama views increased more than 370 percent on its platform in 2020.
Food and beauty products have also been selling like hot cakes.
Today, we look into this explosion of Korean culture on the other side of Asia.
We connect with Stephali Bhatt, Tech & Culture Reporter at the Economic Times based in Mumbai.
We also have Sanjay Ramjhi, a Korean interpreter who founded the K-Wave India Group.
Thank you both for joining us today.
1. Stephali: Of course, many people have been consuming more online streaming and entertainment content than ever before, due to COVID-related restrictions, but I understand there's been a dramatic surge of Korean culture in particular in India. Just how popular has K-culture become on online platforms, and what's fueled this surge in consumption over the past year?
2. Years before Korean culture took off as a global trend, you founded the K-Wave India group about a decade ago with a group of friends. You were initially a fan of Japanese anime but what made you fall in love with Korean culture?
3. Sanjay: You have around 1,500 members today but you started with a dozen members. When did your membership start to grow significantly?
4. Stephali: Do you think Korean pop and dramas will be a short-lived fad or is Hallyu making its way into India's mainstream culture, cuisine and lifestyle? It seems some people are even taking up the Korean language, with Duolingo reporting that learners in India grew more than 250 percent from March to November last year.
5. Sanjay: K-Culture must have been a niche area when you got started. What kind of struggles did you face in terms of promoting it and also explain what you do to advance Korea to those around you with little knowledge of the country? How has the recognition or perception of Korean culture changed compared to before?
6. Stephali: It's an honour for Korea to be appreciated by a society and civilisation as culturally rich as India. What aspects or values of Korean culture do you think resonates with the people of India? How does it compare to Western pop culture that has dominated many societies around the world?
7. Stephali: Of course, no society or culture is perfect, but which elements of Korean culture do you hope to see more of in India to create a positive influence?
8. You've devoted your career to promoting cultural exchange between India and Korea. What do you think Indians would like to see more of from Korea and, for our viewers in India who are just getting into K-dramas, what are some of your top recommendations?
That's where we will have to leave our discussion for today. Stephali Bhatt, Tech & Culture Reporter at the Mumbai-based Economic Times and Sanjay Ramjhi, Korean interpreter and founder of the K-Wave India Group, thank you for joining us.