Western Celebrities who love K-Pop

Western Celebrities who love K-Pop

The Korean wave is taking the world by storm. Its influence is such that even the biggest Hollywood stars are taking notice. From Liam Neeson to Lorde, a log of big-name actors and singers know and love a thing or two about K-Pop and Korean culture.

One of the most prominent Hollywood celebrities taken by Korean culture is Liam Neeson. During his visit to South Korea on July 2016, the "Taken" actor showed that he's up to day with K-Pop. At the same time he was promoting his movie "Operation Chromite" he gave his best version of TWICE's famous "sha sha sha" move from the group's song "Cheer Up." He also confessed that his love for Korean food, particularly Kimchi.

During an interview on Conan, Emma Stone revealed her obsession for K-Pop and gushed about her favorite, 2NE1. When host Conan O'Brien asked her to describe K-Pop, the star said, "it's a global phenomenon. It's beyond excellent. It's the best thing you've ever seen."

Conan O'Brien is also taken with South Korean culture. During his visit to South Korea in 2016, he immersed himself in the many colorful aspects of South Korean life and culture. He tried to learn Hangul, visited a historic fish market and even featured in a Korean drama series and K-Pop music video.

The Grammy Award-winning singer Lorde is also a huge fan of K-Pop. She proclaimed her love for the genre, described it as having interesting melodies and songs, and then went on to affirm that the Korean version of pop is more captivating that the one in the West. According to allkpop, Lorde lists 2NE1 and Lee Hi as her favorite K-Pop acts.

K-Pop has also conquered the hearts and minds of The Vampire Diaries stars Nina Dobrev and Kat Graham. The actresses have proclaimed themselves fans over K-Pop groups on Twitter. Dobrev even tweeted about 2NE1 being badass and amazing, to which Graham replied that she is also obsessed with K-Pop.

Jaden Smith is also a fan of K-Pop. Will Smith's son had the chance to visit the YG Entertainment headquarters with his father in 2013. There he hung out with Yang Hyun Suk, CL, G-Dragon, Taeyang and T.OP. More recently, Jaden even showed love for G-Dragon on Twitter, calling the BIGBANG member his idol. Jaden has also revealed he plans on becoming a K-Pop Star someday.

South Korean celebrity couples

South Korean celebrity couples

If you talk about relationship goals, you talk about K-pop singer-danger and actor Rain and his long-time girlfriend actress Kim Tae-hee. The couple finally tied the knot at a Cathedral in Seoul. Kim wore a knee-length lace dress designed by her stylist. The couple are reportedly spending their honeymoon in Bali.

Another couple to look up to are Gianna Jun Ji-hyun - My Sassy Girl - and a banker. They married in 2012 at the famous Shilla hotel in Seoul. The stylish beauty wore a Jenny Packham dress on her wedding day. The couple had a baby boy afterwards and after giving birth, Jun made her comeback on TV with fantasy drama The Legend of the Blue Sea, now showing on SBS.

Actor Lee Byung-hun of G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra married fellow actress Lee Min-jung in 2013 at Grand Hyatt, Seoul. Since then, they went on and had a child in 2015.

Korean model and actress Lee Young-ae got married to a businesswoman in 2009 and they then gave birth to twins, a boy and a girl. Lee, who is best known for her role in the historic TV drama titled Dae Jang Geum, distanced herself from show business after getting married. However, she is making a television comeback after 14 years in the upcoming drama Saimdang, Memoir of Colors.

Another actor that features in Saimdang, Memoir of Colors is Song Seung-hun. The actor has a romantic story of his own. He has been dating Chinese actress Liu Yifei since late 2015 after they co-starred in The Third Way of Love (2015), a romantic comedy featuring a love triangle.

Kwon Sang-won fixated on Son Tae-young even before they started dating. He persuaded a mutual friend to introduce them and after they had go on two dates, he talked about marriage. Ever since, the love between the former Miss Korea-turned actress and the heartthrob actor has grown after a decade of marriage. They now have a son and a daughter.

Jang Dong-gun and Ko So-young are the South Korean version of Brangelina. They married in 2010 after a surprise announcement during Jang's fan meeting that took the entertainment industry by surprise. The pair have a son who was born in 2010 and a daughter who was born in 2014.

Bae Yong-joon and Park Soo-jin were able to ignore the controversy surrounding their 13 year gap and got married in 2015. Since then, they have welcomed a son to their lives. Bae rose to fame due to her participation in Winter Sonata, a Korean drama that marked the start of hallyu or Korean wave. Park, however, rose to fame as a member of a girl band called Sugar which disbanded back in mid-2000s.

Netflix bets on Korean drama

Netflix bets on Korean drama

Entertainment service providers are putting all their bets on South Korean content to expand their reach, boosting the cultural clout of region's fourth-largest economy.

Netflix is just the latest entertainment service provider to jump on the bandwagon. The service provider announced an original 12-episode drama series that will be adapted from a popular South Korean online comic series.

The announcement came after the company revealed its content creation budget for 2017 amounts to $6 billion, topping a projected $4.3 billion at NBCUniversal, parent company of CNBC.

"The Korean content category is becoming vital... it has high production value and the content travels," said Vivek Couto, executive director of consultants Media Partners Asia.

This move opens the Asian market for Netflix as major consumers of South Korean cultural exports include Southeast Asia and greater China. Netflix entered Asia in 2015 and, therefore, is rolling out original productions in the region.

Other entertainment companies that have invested in the South Korean pop culture entertainment business include Hong Kong telecommunication giant PCCW Ltd. with its Viu streaming service and Turner Broadcasting's Oh!K subscription-based TV channel. South Korean content takes precedence in the programming on both channels that are available in various Asian countries.

Mirae Asset Daewoo's analyst Jee-hyun Moon and Amazon Video and YouTube Red said that Netflix is not yet popular in South Korea so local content will help boost a foothold for Netflix in South Korea.

"In the Hallyu (Korean Wave) trend, the major genre is drama. Films and variety shows can be popular, but the lifespans of these shows are shorter," said Moon.

Netflix may also have potential in China, where South Korean pop culture is predominant despite efforts by authorities to curb performances by Korean celebrities.

Breaking into the world's second largest economy might be a challenge due to strict censorship laws that limit Chinese market to many foreign media players. For instance, social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are banned in the country.

Despite the obstacles, Netflix hasn't given up on breaking into the Chinese market.

"The regulatory environment for foreign digital content services in China has become challenging. We now plan to license content to existing online service providers in China rather than operate our own service in China in the near term," Netflix said in a letter to shareholders. The company also acknowledged that licensing revenues in China will be "modest".

According to Moon, Netflix needs to play within the rules of the game to be the first one to take over the Chinese market once regulations are relaxed.

"Netflix wants to generate other revenue streams including that from content licensing to the Chinese platforms. If Netflix gains some brand awareness in China and other Asian countries through licensing content, they can get other opportunities in the future," she said.

Netflix is the world's leading internet entertainment service with over 109 million members in over 190 countries enjoying more than 140 million hours of TV shows and movies per day, including original series, documentaries and feature films. Members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere, on nearly any Internet-connected screen. Members can play, pause and resume watching, all without commercials or commitments.

Wonder Girls Disbanding

Wonder Girls Disbanding

The four-member girl group

Wonder Girls announced they are going to split up after they release their final single. The K-pop sensation who rose to international fame with their hit single "Nobody" have decided to disband after 10 years in business.

The announcement comes after rumors of the group going on separate ways sparked by the members' contracts being about to expire. The news were confirmed by the South Korean company JYP Entertainment and said that the decision had come up after much discussion among the members and their agency.

But not all Wonder Girls members are leaving showbiz. According to JYP, the band members Yubin and Hyerim will stay with the agency and will still pursue their career in singing, acting and emceeing. The other members Yeeun and Sunmi, however, have decided to leave the company to start on a new path.

Although these are sad news for the world of K-pop, at least there is a final digital single to look forward to which marks the 10th anniversary of their debut in the industry. The statement affirmed the song is their way of thanking the fans who have supported them in the past decade.

The band made their debut back in 2007 and became one of the most popular K-pop groups in Korea. They had released a total of three studio albums, which are "The Wonder Years" (2007), "Wonder World" (2011) and "Reboot" (2015).

Since the announcement of their break up, Wonder Girls fans took to social media to express their love for the four-member group. The members of the band also left farewell messages for their fans in a video.

Some of the comments fans left for Wonder Girls in social media include:

"Because of ‘Nobody' now y'll know K-pop. Thank you Wonder Girls"

"Wonder Girls, 2Ne1, and Sistar were the groups that I knew before I even got into K-pop and this doesn't feel real."

"Secret, Kara, Rainbow, 4minute, 2Ne1, IOI, the Ark, and now Wonder Girls. K-pop is over."

"2Ne1 then Wonder Girls... This is really heartbreaking. They are the groups which songs were played in the radio internationally."

The full statement from JYP Entertainment, is as follows:

"We are here to announce the disbandment of the group that has been always with us for the last ten years, Wonder Girls. The members have talked amongst themselves and with the company for a long time and the [girls] decided to disband. Yubin and Hyelim have renewed their contracts with JYP Entertainment and will continue their activities in music and acting as well as other fields. Yeeun and Sunmi have decided to pave a new path for themselves and have regretfully decided to leave the company. As a thanks to all the fans who have been with them for 10 years, they have decided to release their last digital single on their 10th year anniversary, February 10th. We would like to thank the fans of Wonder Girls all over the world who stuck by Wonder Girls in their 10 year-long journey, and promise to help and support both the members who are leaving and staying to help make their future better. Thank You."