By Sophie Murithi
South Korea has become quite an exciting sensation in the recent years for many people around the world. South Korea, officially known as the Republic of Korea is located in the East Asia. It is the most economically developed country in the continent with its beautiful Islands, rolling hills and mountains.
The Korean culture is very interesting. All aspects including the food culture, mode of dressing, their music, K-Drama and even K-Beauty. Hence attracting many people to learn and want to know more about this culture. The Korean food culture is famous for its nutritional value. Did you know Korea is the country with the least obese people in the world? These people are very keen on what they eat and hence serve some of the healthiest food in the world. Another interesting fact about the traditional Korean food culture is that they love using different colors when cooking. These colors mostly include red, yellow, green, white and black. They believe that by using these five colors when cooking, they are absorbing the energy of the universe through each meal. Each of the five colors is related to diverse elements that compose the universe, as well as to cardinal directions and philosophical meanings.
I bet most of the people who are obsessed with the Korean culture started with K-Pop. Mostly BTS (a popular Korean boy band based in Seoul). A study was conducted by the involvement team on how many students on campus listen to K-Pop and the results were as expected. Out of 10 students, 4 people absolutely love and listen to K-Pop, 3 people occasionally listen to their music and the rest do not know anything about the Korean music or culture. ‘I listen to K-Pop because of the message they preach which is mostly love, unity and kindness’ Ruth, a student of IR told me. ‘K-Pop is also a nice way to unwind. EXO is my go-to music whenever I feel low and want to feel re-energized’ she continued to say.
It goes without saying that if you listen to K-Pop you’ll want to watch K-Drama which are shows created by Koreans. If you watch one show, I guarantee you that you will want to watch another and another because the shows are that good. They bring out a set of emotions when watching that even you will be shocked. There are different genres to choose from so you can watch whatever genre you love.
In Kenya, the Korean culture has exponentially grown. There are Korean restaurants everywhere and many people are adopting their methods of traditional cooking. Not forgetting the aspect of beauty. Most of the facemasks and other facial products are being used in the Kenyan market. They can be bought anywhere, online shops like Jumia or physical shops like the Glow secret.
Korean language is also being taught in schools. UON prides itself in becoming the first university in East Africa to offer the Korean language as a course hence raising awareness of the language in Kenya. Korean studies are also being taught in Mahanaim Educational Institute, Nairobi.
Here in Kenya, we have meet and greets for people with similar interests in the Korean culture. The K-Pop and K-Drama enthusiasts meet to socialize, dance, play games, eat and generally have a good time.