For the past few years, one of the fandoms that have been rising in Bangladesh noticeably is Korean pop culture. The Korean wave known as Hallyu wave has successively affected Bangladeshis, bringing the rarely talked about K-Pop and K-Dramas into mainstream conversations.

It all began in 2011 when MazeCon, an anime convention, kickstarted the cosplay trend in Bangladesh. Shadab Shayeree Ahmed put the country on the proverbial map as he stood 3rd in the Asia Pacific Category of Otaku House Cosplay Idol Competition 2012, competing with cosplayers from Japan and Singapore, countries with far greater cosplaying experience. Today, anime conventions are regularly organized in the capital under different banners.

Shadab Shayeree Ahmed cosplaying as Hidan from Naruto Shippuden Photo credit: Otaku House Cosplay Idol archive

Online games and K-pop have become the two most significant cultural genres in the Hallyu 2.0 era. Unlike television programs and films, these cultural genres become a global, not regional, sensation.

2016 was an important year for Korean drama all over the world. Dramas like – Descendants of the Sun, The Legend of The Blue Sea, Love in the Moonlight exceeded ratings globally. DOTS (Descendants of the Sun) had 28.6% ratings worldwide, setting a new record for the genre.

Bangladeshi viewers are quite vocal on Instagram, Twitter and other social media sites, being able to directly contact their biases (actors/actresses that command blind fandom from a certain individual) through these.

Quite recently, an event called Soompi Award required fans to vote for their favourite K-pop bands, on account of which, #TeamBTS was ranked third as the most popular tweet of Bangladesh (BTS is short for Bangtan Boys, a popular Korean boy band).

Another interesting terminology commonly associated with this thriving fandom is ARMY – a Korean term used to introduce the supporters of a specific flower boy or Band. These groups have also blossomed in numbers among Bangladeshi fans, mostly run by girls looking to share mutual appreciation of their favourite celebs.

Eye-catching beauty, minimal drama, live performances and interesting storylines have led to Korean drama’s success in our community – to the extent that terms like OPPA, AJUSSHI, AHJUMMA are used in everyday conversations among fans. Every friend list has atleast one friend with a K-pop start on their display photo, constantly raving about said celeb.

And yes! Gamsahamnida (감사합니다) to all who have successfully wasted their time reading this – now it’s time to go back to your homework because your Oppa is not coming to rescue you in school.

by Zarrin Tasnim