2007 can be described as the most successful year to date in terms of cultural exchanges between Mongolia and Korea.
It seems that the cultural wave (Korean wave) that contributed tremendously towards introducing Korean culture to Mongolia is still going strong.?
If anything, 2007 in Mongolia was “the year of Korean historical dramas.”?
Following the drama “Daejanggum,” numerous other historical dramas were shown throughout Mongolia in 2007. “Daejanggum” is still enjoying high ratings in re-runs, and the reason for its success is thought to be that Mongolian audiences were deeply moved the people by the traditional Korean culture in the drama. Indeed, many Mongolians ask whether or not the drama’s main character, Janggum, was a real person, and are curious about her historical existence.
Following “Daejanggum,” another historical drama that made a big splash in 2007 was “Daejoyoung.”
The Mongolians remember Choi Soo Jong, the actor who plays the main character, from his role as the brother of Bae Yong Jun’s character in the drama “First Love.” It seems that the historical and dramatic contents of “Daejoyoung” are mesmerizing audiences of all ages.?
A socialist country, Mongolia had its historical records and many of its important cultural artifacts destroyed by the Chinese in the 14th century.? For this reason, historical movies and dramas are very popular. Indeed, many Mongolians are envious of countries that have good records of their history.?
Currently in Mongolia, there are many people who have become fans of Korean drama and food, and numerous restaurants have opened that use the names of famous Korean dramas or stars, such as “Daejanggum”, “Daejoyoung”, “Yainsidae”, and “Jang na la”. At these restaurants, visitors can eat Korean food and watch their favorite drama or film while listening to the original soundtrack.
The Korean popular music industry saw numerous newcomers and newly released music in 2007. Among the hugely popular stars, the upbeat dance music of “Wonder Girls” and “Girls’ Generation” won the hearts of Mongolian teenagers. While you could say that the dancing of these boy/girl groups was the reason for their fame in Korea, the group members and their music videos was the source of their popularity in Mongolia. Korean boy bands are particularly popular in Mongolia, and as more boy bands will be launched in 2008, it is expected that these will be popular as well. ?
In addition, theme songs for movie and TV dramas are gaining popularity. Among these, ‘Maria’, which was the theme song for the movie “200 Pounds Beauty,” the most-watched Korean movie of 2007 in Mongolia, was all over the radio until the last half of the year.
2007 saw numerous Korean movies shown in Mongolian theaters.? A survey of the most popular movies of 2007 showed that “200 Pounds Beauty” was number 1 in the foreign movie category. At Mongolian theaters, one out of every three movies played on average is a Korean movie.?
Comparing 2007 with other years, it seems that horror movies were more popular than in other years, where comedies and melodramas had been dominant.? Early in the year, “Arang” starring Song Yun Ah and Lee Dong Wook was a hit, and at the end of the year, “Muoi” starring Cha Ye Lin was very popular.
If we were to pick a best practice of 2007 for the Korean wave, it would surely be the “Korea-Mongolia Goodwill Event (Cultural Event)”, which was held by the International Culture Industry Exchange Foundation in May.?
Compared to other Asian countries where the Korean wave is dominant, Mongolia has had few visits from Korean wave stars, and few cultural events. However, many Mongolians watch Korean dramas and various programs on TV, and most are aware of Korean entertainers and have a high appreciation of them. In this context, the visits of Ahn Jae Mo, the action star of the drama “Yainsidae” and the girl group “Baby VOX RE.V” to Mongolia as part of this goodwill event were extremely well-received.?
The “Korea-Mongolia Goodwill Event (Cultural Event)”, which will be held annually from 2007, will bring more Korean wave stars to visit Mongolia, and will have a tremendous impact in terms of teaching Mongolians about Korean culture and facilitating a cultural exchange between the two countries.?
In my opinion, the Korean wave in Mongolia will thrive if rather than simply visiting Mongolia, Korean entertainers capitalize on their time in the country by appearing on Mongolian TV programs and holding fan meetings. Every April, there is an event sponsored by the Korean Embassy in Mongolia that features Korean movies and various other cultural events as part of a “Korean Culture Week.” It would be great if publicity events could be arranged to supplement this week, such as fan meets with actors during the preview screenings. Good examples of Korean entertainers who have taken a pro-active approach to Mongolia are Kim Jung Eun and Kim Hyo Jin, both of whom visited Mongolia to perform charity work. Accordingly, if entertainers can be seen in Mongolia performing a variety of activities, as well as on the screen, it would probably help the Korean wave, currently somewhat stagnant, to experience another boom.