Yesterday at UCSD, Professor John Lie from UC Berkeley gave a seminar about his views on the changes in Korean society through the popularity of Korean pop. He included in his presentation an interesting insight on the changes in Korean music and culture; how they went from being conservative and not being able to portray American or Japanese style music which would be banned, to marketing Western influenced Korean pop all over the world. In what is now a culture of talent and singers, Korean idols are highly invested in to represent South Korea, yet the Korean culture is lacking in modern pop groups. The presentation was then ended with a brief talk about how Psy, who produces his own music and doesn’t embody the typical idol physique, became a hit around the world. After this presentation, I left with more knowledge on the history of Korean music and how it has impacted their society which is something I don’t think my Korean friends would be able to explain. It just makes me wonder how Kpop will evolve and impact the world.
John Lie was born in South Korea and grew up in Hawaii. He received an AB, AM, and PhD from Harvard University. He is currently C.K. Cho Professor of Sociology and Chair of the Center for Korean Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Lie has written a series of books analyzing contemporary East Asia and the United States through the thread of his Korean and Korean diasporic background.
Look for more information about this seminar in next month’s issue of the Korea Daily!