C O N C L U S I O N
K- hallyu: The Commodity Speaks in Kang Chul- woo’s Romantic
Island, Bae Yong- joon’s A Journey in Search of Korea’s Beauty,
So Ji- sub’s Road, and Choi Ji- woo’s if
In contemporary Korean culture, K- and hallyu have become prefixes and suf-
fixes. The now familiar branding of K- pop has spawned K- drama, K- fashion,
and even K- food; hallyu has become used in such neologisms as medical- hallyu
and technology- hallyu. We recall the vision of Culture Minister Ch’oe Kwang-
shik and his call for a third wave of hallyu, which would encompass the global
marketing of Korean culture in general. Implicit in this overarching branding
trend is the way in which this K- hallyu complex has become synonymous with
a free trade logic in which just about any entity shipped outside of Korea—be
it person, material object, or idea— becomes understood as an export com-
modity and labeled with what is increasingly becoming South Korea’s state-
sponsored branding terms. As I have argued in Tourist Distractions, hallyu cin-
ema marks the initial thinking through and coming to consciousness of this
C.1
A K- pop star’s “selfie,” taken on Boracay. Romantic Island.
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