Hallyu: Why Are Indian Girls Crazy After Korean Culture?

How the entertainment, fashion, skincare, and cuisine make Indian girls more attracted to Korean Culture than Other Cultures?
Hallyu: Why Are Indian Girls Crazy After Korean Culture?
Jaano Junction

The "Hallyu," or Korean Wave, has captured millions of hearts and minds worldwide, with Korean pop, dramas, movies, fashion, food, and culture gaining a strong and enthusiastic following in India.

Rise of K-Pop in India

K-pop, the catchy music and visual genre of South Korean pop music, has emerged as a major force behind the “Hallyu” in India. Internationally famous K-pop bands like BTS (Bangtan Sonyeondan), Blackpink, TXT (Tomorrow X Together), Exo, Twice, Seventeen, Red Velvet, Le Sserafim, (G)I-DLE, Mamamoo, Stray Kids, and ITZY are leading worldwide.

A group of seven Korean young men known together as BTS, or Bangtan Sonyeondan, have gained a massive fan base due to their music reaching the top of Indian charts. “Dynamite,” a usual mix of Korean music, culture, and English lyrics, has 1.8 billion viewers on YouTube and became a global sensation, topping the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The message of self-love and social awareness resonates deeply with Indian fans, known as ARMY (Adorable Representative M.C. for Youth), who actively engage in fan activities, streaming parties, and charitable initiatives inspired by their idols.

Similarly, Blackpink, a group of four girls, also has thousands of Indian fans, known as BLINKs, who actively engage in fan activities and streaming parties. “D4” or “Ddu-Du Ddu-Du” became an instant hit, the highest-charting song by a Korean girl group on the Billboard Hot 100 at that time.

The Lead of K-dramas and K-movies in India

K-dramas have also found a massive audience in India. Platforms like Netflix, Viki, Disney+ Hotstar, and YouTube have made it easier for Indian viewers to access a wide array of Korean shows. Dramas with distinctive storylines, outstanding theatrical standards, and emotional depth, such as "Crash Landing on You" (2019), "Descendants of the Sun" (2016), "Goblin" (2016), "Itaewon Class" (2020), "All of Us Are Dead” (2022), "Vincenzo" (2021), and "Queen of Tears" (2024) have become popular series. “Squid Game” (2021) has gained immense popularity internationally, becoming the most-watched series on Netflix. Indian fans have developed a connection with K-dramas' sympathetic characters and engaging stories, resulting in lengthy binge-watching sessions and groups conversing about their favourite shows.

K-movies like “Train to Busan,” “Parasite,” “Oldboy,” “Mother,” and “20th Century Girl” have become the most-watched movies in India. “Parasite” is the first non-English language film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. It also won Oscars for Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best International Feature Film at the 92nd Academy Awards in 2020.

The Craze for Korean Beauty and Fashion

Seoul is also known as the cosmetic surgery capital of the world. The influence of Korean fashion and beauty trends is increasingly visible in India. Korean skincare routines, known for their emphasis on hydration and natural ingredients (especially Rice/Rice Water Products or products made in Jeju Island), have become a sensation, with products like oil cleansers, toners, emulsions, sheet masks, face masks, day and night serums, and day and night moisturizers/gels flying off the shelves. Some of the Korean skincare brands like Beauty of Joseon, The Face Shop, Innisfree, Numbuzin, and CosRX are famous in India as well as all over the world. Pimple patches were also started in Korea.

Korean fashion, characterized by its chic, minimalist style, has also inspired many young Indians to experiment with new looks. Loose tops/T-shirts, knitted tops with full sleeves, and BSY printed dresses are becoming more fashionable in India. K-idols and YouTubers are the influencers that make people change their styles.

Love for Korean Cuisine 

The “Hallyu” impact extends to the culinary world, with Korean food gaining widespread popularity in India. Dishes like Ramyun or Ramen (Normal/Hot Korean noodles), Kimchi (Korean pickles), Bibimbap (rice topped with a variety of vegetables and a fried egg or sometimes meat), Bulgogi (thinly sliced marinated pork), Mochi (Korean sweet rice cake), Tteokbokki (Korean spicy rice cake), Japchae (sweet potato starch noodles), Kimbap (similar to sushi but with different fillings/tastes), and Bibim guksu (Korean cold noodles) have become favourites among food enthusiasts. Korean restaurants are flourishing in major cities like Delhi (Majnu Ka Tila), Kolkata, Mumbai, and Bangalore. Korean ingredients are now readily available in supermarkets and online stores. Cooking shows and social media influencers have played a pivotal role in introducing and popularizing Korean cuisine, encouraging Indians to explore new flavours and cooking techniques.

Cultural Understanding

In addition to providing entertainment, Hallyu is helping to promote more cross-cultural understanding and communication between India and South Korea. According to the Indian Embassy in Seoul, around 12,500 Indians live in South Korea, while the number of Korean nationals residing in India is around 11,000.

According to the 13th-century Korean historical chronicle known as the "Samguk Yusa,” the alliance between India and Korea is said to have started 1,000 years ago when Princess Suriratna travelled from Ayodhya to Korea to marry King Kim Su-Ro, later becoming Queen Heo Hwang-Ok.

Language learning apps like Duolingo and courses offering Korean lessons have seen a surge in enrollments. Cultural events, fan meets, and conventions celebrating Korean culture are becoming more frequent, providing fans with opportunities to connect and share their passion. This cultural exchange is helping to break down stereotypes and build bridges between the two countries.

The “Hallyu” journey in India is a testament to the universal appeal of Korean culture and the power of culture and entertainment to bring people together. As more Indians embrace this wave, the cultural exchange between India and South Korea is set to become even more dynamic and influential.

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