The wave of South Korean popular culture has in recent years flooded the world. In India, yet the kingdom of the powerful Bollywood industry, it was in the state of Manipur that it found a breach to rush in, from the 2000s.
After Bollywood films were banned in this northeastern Indian state, audiences “found solace in Korean music and series”, Explain The Indian Express. At the time, the Popular Revolutionary Front, one of the oldest armed secessionist movements in the North East, banned Hindi films and TV channels in order to stop the “Indianization” of this state.
“South Korean series and films have been imported [dans le Manipur] clandestinely, from other countries, and then spread to other states [indiens] of the North-East”, adds the English-language Bombay daily.
An inexorable spread
The spread is then inexorable. In 2008, the state of Nagaland, neighboring Manipur, organized the first Indo-Korean music festival. Young people from Mizoram, another northeastern state, are starting to win K-pop competitions in Asia. After that, Korean culture continues to grow.
There are now several K-pop competitions online, organized by the Korean Cultural Center in India, and more than 3,000 teams participate, claims The Indian Express. “It was only a matter of time before India got its first K-pop star,” continues the daily. Sriya Lenka, who this year joined the South Korean girl band Blackswan, is from the state of Odesha, on the east coast of the country. She “is the first but certainly not the last” Indian K-pop star, warns the newspaper.
According to market research by Euromonitor, “the popularity of K-pop and Korean dramas in India has led to increased opportunities for Korean food and condiment manufacturers”underlines for its part the British daily The Independent. For example, in 2020, the sale of Korean noodles increased by 162% in the country. “Many Indian fans also prefer Korean skincare and beauty products over Western or homemade ones,” ensures the newspaper. A boon that e-commerce platforms have seized by developing partnerships with Korean brands.