Gangnam Style — the viral music video from South Korean pop star Psy — has reached the Youtube summit as the most viewed video in the site’s history and is finding its way into the heart of American culture: its sports stadiums (wow). But don’t expect this to be a one-hit wonder for Asian cultural influence worldwide.
According to researcher Stephen Epstein, the director of Asian studies at Victoria University of Wellington, in New Zealand, we’re experiencing a global shift in the cultural influence of Asia/Pacific regions. “It’s the first time an Asian video has captured the world and may well become, in cultural terms, the point where the Asia/Pacific century started,” said Epstein, in a statement.
Epstein is currently researching how information and communication technologies (like Youtube) are impacting the national identity of South Korea. According to Epstein, technology is clearly allowing for the spread of cultures worldwide.
“[Gangnam Style] is visual and catchy and made by an artist who typifies an aspect of modern identity,” Epstein said. “He’s strongly Korean but studied in the U.S., speaks English well and can take advantage of media opportunities with style and flair.”
It’s an interesting addition to what we already expect about the continued rise of Asia’s economic and political influence worldwide in the coming years. The National Intelligence Council in the United States says that Asia will surpass North America and Europe in terms of GDP, military size, technology spending and population by 2030. “The health of the global economy increasingly will be linked to how well the developing world does—more so than the traditional West,” the NIC said. Will we say the same about Asia’s cultural influence in the next two decades?
Image: Screenshot from Youtube
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