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How South Korea manufactured cool en masse




Members of the Korean K-pop group 'SPICA' appear on the red carpet during the K-CON 2014 (Korean Culture Convention) at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena on August 10, 2014.
Members of the Korean K-pop group 'SPICA' appear on the red carpet during the K-CON 2014 (Korean Culture Convention) at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena on August 10, 2014.
MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images

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When a South Korean music hit swept the globe in 2012, it was confirmation the country's transformation was massive - and nearly as rapid as the beats of "Gangnam Style."

Author Euny Hong remembers her schools days in Seoul's posh Gangnam neighborhood in the mid-1980s. Strict dress codes, regular brownouts and water shutoffs were commonplace at school and home. Then at the turn of the millenium South Korea hurtled rapidly into the 21st century, repaying of billions of dollars in loans to the IMF, wiring the country for fast Internet and creating a Ministry of Culture to propagate brand Korea.

How did the country go from miniskirt bans to mass producing boy bands? How influential was the success of Samsung, formerly known as "Samsuck?" What's next for Korean culture?

Guest:

Euny Hong, Author, “The Birth of Korean cool: How One Nation is Conquering the World Through Pop Culture;” Journalist whose work has appeared in The New York Times, International Herald Tribune, and more.