This study examines whether Korea’s performing arts has the potential to create a Korean Wave, as K-Pop and K-drama have, and the shape in which such potential may take form. Korea’s performing arts underwent industrialization from the 1990s and into the 2000s, expanding its capacities for creativity, production, and distribution. Here, industrialization includes not only that of the commercial domain but also of the artistic domain, and this study reviews the process and shape of the industrialization in both domains. From the late 2000s, Korean musical theater and nonverbal performances saw a growth in their activities in overseas markets. However, the performing arts differs from other genres, such as TV drama or popular music, in that the creator uses the performance hall and performers as the medium to reach the consumer. For long-running and licensed productions, the market needs to reach a level of maturity in terms of human resources, performance space, and market conditions. As Japan is the only country in Asia whose market satisfies this requirement, it will be necessary for the industrialization of the performing arts to occur in the other countries in Asia, particularly in China and the ASEAN countries, for Korea’s performing arts to create a Korean Wave in this region.


Hallyu, industrialization, Korean Wave, musical theater, performing arts

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Kritika Kultura
Department of English
School of Humanities
Ateneo de Manila University

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International Board of Editors

Jan Baetens
Faculty of Arts
Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven (Belgium)

Joel David
Professor of Cultural Studies
Inha University (South Korea)

Michael Denning
Professor of American Studies and English
Department of English
Yale University (US)

Faculty of Cultural Sciences
Universitas Gadjah Mada (Indonesia)

Regenia Gagnier
Professor of English
University of Exeter (UK)

Leela Gandhi
John Hawkes Professor of the Humanities and English
Brown University (US)

Inderpal Grewal
Professor of Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies
Professor of South Asian Studies, Ethnicity, Race and Migration Studies
Yale University (US)

Peter Horn
Professor Emeritus and Honorary Lifetime Fellow
University of Cape Town (South Africa)
Honorary Professor and Research Associate in German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

Anette Horn
Professor of German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

David Lloyd
Distinguished Professor of English
University of California, Riverside (US)

Bienvenido Lumbera
National Artist for Literature
Professor Emeritus
University of the Philippines

Rajeev S. Patke
Director of the Division of Humanities
Professor of Humanities
Yale NUS College (Singapore)

Vicente L. Rafael
Giovanni and Amne Costigan Endowed Professor of History
University of Washington (US)

Vaidehi Ramanathan
Department of Linguistics
University of California, Davis (US)

Temario Rivera
Professorial Lecturer
Department of Political Science
University of the Philippines

E. San Juan, Jr.
Philippines Studies Center (US)

Neferti X.M. Tadiar
Professor of Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
Barnard College (US)
Director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
Columbia University (US)

Antony Tatlow
Honorary Professor of Drama
Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)