Woman brings hallyu to Myanmar

“Hallyu,” or the Korean wave, is now sweeping Myanmar. Korean TV shows and dramas are enthralling viewers of the Southeast Asian nation’s terrestrial channels every day.

Teenagers in Myanmar have become familiar with Seoul streets and even Korean historic figures such as King Sejong the Great and Admiral Yi Sun-sin of the Joseon Kingdom.

Eum Yun-hee, 58, is the one who introduced hallyu to the country. Some 1,000 Korean drama episodes have been aired in Myanmar since Eum started to export them in 2002.

She first moved to Myanmar in 1989 with her husband, Park Jeong-hwan, who is now vice president of Deawoo International, when he was sent to the company’s Yangon branch.

She then entered the Yangon University of Foreign Languages (YUFL) for a master’s degree in Myanmarese language and literature.

Eum translated and introduced some Korean folk tales like “A Fairy and a Woodman” into Myanmarese after receiving the degree from the school.

She returned to Korea to study for another master’s degree at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies when she was 39. She received her master’s degree with her thesis, “The comparison study of socialism literature in Korea and Myanmar.”

Eum then went back to Myanmar to teach Korean language and literature to college students at YUFL.

“One day, I turned on the TV and realized that Myanmar TV channels were all dominated by Chinese and Japanese programs,” she said.

She decided to give it a shot with Korean TV programs.

She visited and persuaded major Korean broadcasting companies to export programs to Myanmar. Her students helped her make the subtitles.

It was a huge splash. Twelve different channels aired Korean soap operas.

Some dramas portraying Korea’s historic figures were also broadcast in Myanmar, and she said she heard some Myanmarese military rulers enjoyed them.

Earlier this year, Myanmarese state-run broadcaster MRTV-4 and Eum jointly launched a media contents channel, “Four-ladies,” which exclusively delivers Korean TV programs in the country.

“Chinese and Japanese capitals are making massive investment in the media content market in Myanmar where Korea is still sitting back,” she said. “Myanmar people already love Korea. I hope the Korean government actively supports the hallyu business from now on.”

Source: The Korea Times

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