Korean Pop, widely known as K-Pop, has taken the world by a storm since the last few years with not only its powerful and dense lyrics but also for its bright and bold prints that the artistes don in their music videos.
K-Pop was ‘discovered’ in the Northeast in the year 2002 when Manipur was dealing with an insurgency period where a group ordered a ban on Hindi films and TV channels in order to prevent ‘Indianisation’ in the region. This period led the people especially the youth in search for a source of entertainment to fill the void. It is then, Korean cinema, series and music came to the rescue.
It’s been 17 years now since the ban on ‘Indianistaion’ has been lifted in the state, the influence of Korean dramas remained and in fact, the other states of the Northeastern region were drawn under the Korean influence.
Religious fans and K-Pop fashion on the rise
Coming to K-Pop that entered with a blast with YouTube becoming accessible to all, though the language is different from what the people speak here, the lyrics, bright colours and bold prints of the music artistes struck the right chord with the youth. K-Pop in the course of time has made a strong fan base in the Northeast who religiously follow their favourite singers and also shaped fashion trends in a way that music hasn’t done in years.
Leaving the language aside, the physical resemblance, culture and food habits are the similarities that Koreans and people in Northeast India share in common and these similarities have mainly attracted the youth to K-Pop music. Bands like Bangtan Boys (BTS), Blackpink, Twice, Ateez are the top favourites of K-Pop music lovers not only in the region but also in the entire country for their powerful vocals, lyrics, music mixed with EDM, hip hop and rap.
States like Nagaland, Mizoram and Manipur are the booming markets for Korean fashion and youths of these states have emerged as K-Pop fashion stars over the years. Often, K-Pop fans describe their love as different from others and when they sport styles of their favourite Korean singers, they feel connected.
A mix of textures, fuzzy mohair sweater with bold stripes in neon colours, unconventional T-shirts, colourful hair and makeup of the K-Pop artists caught the attention of the Northeasterners.
Will K-Pop stay in the region
With the Korean Cultural Centre India initiating the annual K-POP contest, which started out as a small event in the capital back in 2012 has now gained momentum as a major K-Pop contest in the country. Participants across the country come and showcase their talents and exchange culture through music and dance.
It needs to be mentioned here, on July 9th, 2018 a young girl Juchy from Mizoram, grabbed the headlines when she was declared as the winner in the vocal category at the grand finale of The Changwon K-POP India 2018. She also represented India at the prestigious K-POP World Festival which was held in October last year in South Korea.
Guwahati | Edited by: Arpita Das | First Published: Aug 12, 2019