Korean Wave Makes Inroads into India

Sept 26, 2006

The Korean Wave or Korean pop culture craze is set to sweep the world’s second most populous country, as the KBS hit drama "Emperor of the Sea" began airing in India on July 23. It is the first-ever Korean drama to be broadcast in that country, which has a population of 1.1 billion.

Also, last Saturday on Sept. 24, the MBC hit drama "A Jewel in the Palace" began airing there during prime time.

It may be premature to say that "Emperor of the Sea," which is being aired nationwide through the country’s state-owned DDTV, will become a big success, because the viewing rate initially recorded no higher than 0.8 percent. However, it should be taken into account that it is being shown on Sunday morning, and the viewing rate has increased to 4 percent since its first episode. "A Jewel in the Palace" is also being carried on DDTV.

"Emperor of the Sea" is a large-scale maritime war drama, while "A Jewel in the Palace" is a story about Janggeum, a female royal cook who overcomes many difficulties to become the chief of royal physicians. Thus, the two dramas can potentially draw a different response from Indian viewers.

The Korean Embassy in India said that they had seen locals respond very enthusiastically to the Korean dramas. "Indian viewers who watched ‘A Jewel in the Palace’ told us that they marveled at the colorful royal costumes and various foods, and that the way the drama is unfolding is very unique and mysterious, causing curiosity," it said.

Local newspapers have also shown great interest. The Hindustan Times reported, "’A Jewel in the Palace’ is the life story of the first female royal doctor during the Joseon period."

"A Jewel in the Palace" will be aired in India over the next two years. DDTV said that an enthusiastic response could increase the number of times it is aired per day.

"With ‘Emperor of the Sea’ and ‘A Jewel in the Palace’ at the forefront, Korean dramas are likely to captivate Indian viewers," embassy official Kim Seung-ho said Monday. "We are planning to hold a joint event in cooperation with India where Korean dramas and films are systematically promoted."

Source: KBS Global