Aside from being the Principal Investigator of UP’S Korea Research Center, associate professor Erik Paolo Capistrano has also been a self-confessed K-drama fan ever since. This further influenced him to share several observations about why the Filipinos are obsessed with everything that Korea puts forward- most especially, K-drama.
In a recent webinar titled “Korea Landed On You” inspired by the hit series “Crash Landing On You”, Capistrano pointed out some facets that makes K-Drama a smash among the Filipinos.
He indicated that k-dramas always have a fresh approach in terms of themes and telling stories, that every show had a unique plot line. He used the new and trending series, “It’s Okay Not to Be Okay”, to discuss how the plot talks about mental health issues among males, which is commonly not addressed because of gender inequalities and the culture of toxic masculinity. He added how the distribution in foreign channels and how the shows are made available to other countries like the Philippines, heavily contribute to the popularity of the genre. Capistrano also mentioned how their system successfully communicate to various audiences, regardless of the topic or theme of the drama.
Capistrano noted, “Korean dramas have been constantly evolving and being distributed in channels outside of the usual broadcast channels, and are made available to all of us.” He added, “You have several themes like in ‘The World of the Married,’ it’s a very serious and heavy drama; you have your ‘Crash Landing on You’ which is a take on North Korean versus South Korean lifestyles; and you have current dramas like ‘Do You Like Brahms’ and ‘Alice’ that tackle topics that otherwise we do not know.”
Aside from this, the professor referenced how long Philippine dramas would run in a single season. Korean series only take 16 to 24 episodes, whereas Philippine dramas usually take several months, and could even stretch up to years. He shared that stretching the story destroys the excitement of the viewers by being too dragging, and how it sacrifices the storyline which was basically forced to accommodate the provided timeline.
“With Philippine dramas, sometimes it gets so dragging along the way in an effort to maximize things, but the story suffers,” he said. “So in that sense, you cannot blame Filipinos for preferring some other content to watch.”
But most importantly, Capistrano believes that K-anything becomes a hit because of its ever loyal and supportive fan bases. They are known to be the most tried and tested fans, who are willing to defend their idols from the hate on social media. Most of the Filipino fans are part of these devoted groups, who run fan accounts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to influence other people to join the train and idolize their oppas.
Lastly, Capistrano also stated how the Korean management agencies are aggressive in promoting their talents, that sometimes K-pop stars venture on to k-drama because this already assures a guaranteed number of viewers.
The full webinar can be watched on UP Korea Research Center’s YouTube Channel.