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(EDITORIAL from Korea Times on Nov. 25)

07:50 November 25, 2021

BTS success continues
More supports needed to boost "K-Content" soft power

Korean superstar BTS is making a brilliant contribution to expanding the clout of Korean popular culture called "K-Content" here worldwide. The sensational boy band snatched a Grammy nomination for the second straight year Tuesday, though it failed to get a slot in its four major categories. If BTS secures a Grammy on Jan. 31 next year, it will be the first Korean pop artist to garner wins at all three major U.S. music awards.

BTS already won awards at three categories at the American Music Awards (AMAs) including the top Artist of the Year award for their megahit "Butter" during a ceremony in Los Angeles, Sunday. The awards came as no surprise as BTS grabbed the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for 10 weeks with "Butter." We highly appreciate BTS's excellent achievement as it has been playing a leading role in spreading K-content around the globe.

Korean culture has seen a series of success stories. Netflix's original Korean drama series, "Squid Game," has hit the global drama market for the last three months, and another Korean drama "Hellbound" topped the list only one day after Netflix released it. Last year, the Korean movie "Parasite" snatched wins in four categories at the Academy Awards for the first time. A year later, Youn Yuh-jung obtained the best supporting actress award and became the first Korean actor to win an Oscar for her role in a Hollywood movie, "Minari."

Korea's digital comics have continued to outperform those of Japan, which had been regarded as the world's No. 1. For instance, a digital comic platform "Piccoma" has seen phenomenal growth over recent years in Japan under the management of Korea's Kakao Corp. Its transaction turnover reached $1 billion in just five years since Kakao launched the business in 2016. It accounts for 65 percent of Japan's comic platform market, which is an exceptional achievement recorded in a single market.

On Tuesday, President Moon Jae-in congratulated BTS on winning the awards at the AMAs. Moon said BTS's recent achievement will help the Korean people increase their pride and confidence in Korean culture and enhance the country's global prestige. He cited Joseph Nye, professor emeritus at Harvard University, who lauded South Korea for being well endowed with soft power during a conference in Washington, D.C., last month.

In fact, the success of the K-content has been raising Korea's status as a cultural power as well as its self-esteem and pride. Major global media outlets have begun to recognize the excellence of Korea's soft power. Britain's BBC described it as a "Korean cultural tsunami" while the New York Times acclaimed Korea as a "cultural juggernaut." We call for efforts to draw up specific measures to boost K-content as a mainstay national industry beyond a precious cultural asset.

For this, assistance for producers and relevant human resources is necessary. More efforts should be made to create an effective network among platform operators, content providers and consumers. It is time to take more proactive steps to ensure greater success for K-content.


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