Mapping the Presence of the Korean Wave in North Korea

  • Bianca Milanowitsch (Author)

Identifiers (Article)


This research note scrutinises the degree to which the Korean Wave – South Korean cultural exports, for example of pop music and television shows – has impacted North Korea. Hallyu, as the Korean Wave is also called, has reached the North through illegal trade, despite restrictions put in place by the regime, and has triggered a growing demand for South Korean productions. The South Korean government creates a presence in its northern neighbour by using Hallyu as a soft power tool that has become part of its foreign policy arsenal. The North has reacted to the influence of the Korean Wave with crackdowns and arrests, for example of government officials. Yet Hallyu may also serve the North Korean government’s aim of prolonging its authoritarian rule, by using the South Korean cultural presence as a justification for feeling threatened by foreign intervention.


North Korea, South Korea, soft power, Korean Wave, Hallyu, K-drama, K-pop