It sparked the interest of K-Pop, and J-pop urged more students to choose to study Korean and Japanese

Asian culture has become a real popular culture phenomenon, and now it has an impact on university education. BTS, “Parasite” and of course the series of the year “Squid Game”… K-pop and J-pop contribute to the increased interest in learning Korean and Japanese. It is a phenomenon that has direct consequences for language studies. From video games and anime to music and movies, it’s clear that K-pop and J-pop have an impact on societal trends. According to a report from the UK University Council on Modern Languages ​​in 2021, degrees in Korean, as well as degrees in Japanese, increased significantly between 2012 and 2018, according to The Guardian. The acceptance rate for studying Korean increased from 50 to 175 between these periods, while the acceptance rate for learning Japanese increased by 71%. According to the report, the number of students interested in the Korean language now exceeds the number of students interested in learning Russian, while Japanese lessons are more popular than Italian.

When entertainment inspires learning

According to experts interviewed by The Guardian, the interest in the Korean and Japanese languages ​​is explained by the popularity of Asian culture through manga, video games, films and series. More and more Korean and Japanese artists are making their name and gaining international fame. An example is the Academy Award win for Bong Joon-ho’s South Korean film “Parasite,” which won the 2020 awards for Best Picture, Best Foreign Film, Best Original Screenplay and Best Director.

The K-pop wave is also being felt in the world of TV shows. “Squid Game” was the biggest TV series of 2021. According to Netflix, the South Korean series was the most watched on the platform with 1.65 billion hours watched. Meanwhile, band BTS smashed several records with their song “Dynamite” that crossed 101.1 billion views in 24 hours on YouTube and remained the most discussed group on Twitter in 2021.

The proportion of universities offering Japanese language courses increased from 19% in 2018 to 39% in 2020/2021, according to a report by the University of Modern Languages ​​Council. said Kazuki Morimoto, a professor of Japanese at the University of Leeds. He told the Guardian.

According to Sarah Keith, a K-pop culture researcher at Macquarie University in Australia, a mixture of Korean and Hollywood themes (due to directors brought up in Hollywood culture) appeals to Westerners: “For example in the Squid game, the rhythm and arc of the show is clear to viewers. all over the world, but at the same time, they take on specific Korean topics that are completely new to foreign audiences.” For example, a typical Korean recipe for “Squid game” has spread widely. tick.

In addition to Japanese and Korean, Emma Kelly of the University of Modern Languages ​​Council said Arabic and Chinese have also seen a resurgence of interest in universities.

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