"Shiri", a 1999 Korean action film, played the role of having "hallyu", or Korean wave take root in Japan, industry sources said Tuesday.
The film's producer exported "Shiri" to Japan for $1.2 million in 1999. At that time, it was unthinkable for Japan to import a Korean motion picture, the sources said, adding that only erotic Korean videos were exported to the neighboring country for tens of thousands of dollars each.
Despite the situation, Samsung Entertainment did not sit idle. "Samsung Entertainment, based on business-mindedness, played a big role in creating the hallyu boom with its 'drama marketing activities' at a time when there was lack of awareness about popular Korean culture in Japan and China", a source said, asking to remain anonymous.
Currently, majorities of people, who are active in the entertainment-management industry, are those who previously worked for Samsung Entertainment, he said.
The unprecedented Korean film export to Japan ignited a change of Japanese view on Korean films, followed by exports of films such as "JSA - Joint Security Area" to Japan.
Five years later, "A Moment to Remember" was exported to Japan for $2.7 million. The film was one of the largest box-office hit movies in the neighboring nation.
Samsung Entertainment also sowed the seed of hallyu in China, the sources said. "It was unimaginable for Korean soap operas to be aired in China in 1996 and 1997".
Samsung Entertainment used the so-called package strategy to have CCTV air "Gani-yok", literally meaning whistle stop, a hit drama in Korea.
CCTV televised the drama in return for ads on Samsung and Anycall PPL (product placement). The package strategy was a great success, the sources said.
Since then, the Chinese have begun to wait for Korean dramas, they said.
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