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Korean Soap Operas Debut on U.S. Network TV

2005/12/01 Source

"Imagine Asian TV", a 24-hour cable TV station that specializes in Asian programs as a part of Imagine Asian Entertainment, was established in June of 2004 as the first 24-hour Asian American television network in the U.S.

On November 30, 2005, Imagine Asian TV announced plans to broadcast two of Korea's most popular soap operas in the United States: "Winter Sonata" and "Full House", after its first contract with KBS network, according to the Joongang Ilbo.

The famed "Winter Sonata" will debut on Christmas day next month as part of the network's diverse program "Lounge", showcasing variety of culture and trends from Asian countries. "Full House" will debut on "Lounge" from January 18th 2006. It features numerous shots of locations in downtown Seoul and other main districts known for their high-end fashion and trendiness, as well as famous eateries and popular tourist spots.

Both soap operas will contain English subtitles and a short introduction prior to the broadcasting that will explain the storyline and the general facts about Korean soap operas, particularly about "Hallyu", a cultural phenomenon of contemporary Korean culture that has been sweeping the Asian region the last five years.

This Korean wave of pop culture includes a variety of contemporary Korean cultural industries from music, TV, cinema, fashion, language and the celebrities themselves. The star of "Winter Sonata" Bae Yong-joon, has become so popular that Japanese women call him affectionally "yon-sama" and his love "jiwoo-hime" (Choi Ji-woo Princess) is equally famous. Korea has been the launch pad for numerous Korean celebrities such as, Won Bin and Jang Nara (to name a few), to step into the entertainment stages in Japan, China, Taiwan and Vietnam, among many Asian nations.

Now the Korean Wave, or"Hallyu", is set to land on the American mainland in full force, in national and local TV networks starting with the efforts of IATV. Interestingly, the cinemas of the ROK have already made their marks in international stage, such as the Cannes, Sundance, Berlin and Toronto Film Festivals, as well as the Oscars in Hollywood but it is the soap operas to shine this time, and hopefully, for a long-lasting period of time.

"Winter Sonata" makes up the second part of the "Series of Seasons" by Producer Yoon Seok-ho, a figure who is the founder of the "Hallyu" phenomenon, starting with the first part entitled, "Autumn Story" - "Autumn in my Heart". He went on to produce "Winter Sonata" and "Summer Scent". Currently, he is working on his final project, "Waltz of Spring".

"Winter Sonata": starring Bae Yong-joon, Choi Ji-woo, Park Yong-ha, Park Sol-mi
It is a story of two high school sweethearts who are forced to stay apart for a long period of time, due to various unfortunate events in their lives. They reunite again as adults and still find one another more attractive than ever. But the circumstances of dark secrets and lies that surround them do not make it easy for them to rekindle their love.

Jun-sang and Yu-jin met in high school and were strongly attracted to each other. But on New Year's eve, when they promised to meet and reveal their true feelings, he senses something wrong in their relationship and leaves her behind abruptly. He crashes into a truck and dies. Yu-jin is devastated. Some five years later, however, Yu-jin encounters a mysterious man who strangely resembles Jun-sang and a complex relationship develops between them.

By Kayon Park

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