Kaye H. Lee
Korean characters and animated productions are winning over a global audience
ost Koreans who grew up prior to the 1990swere ond o American animated characterslike Mickey Mouse or Bugs Bunny or Japanesecharacters like Astro Boy and Anpanman.In the early 2000s, however, new animated charactersbegan to appear. One o them was Korean company IconixEntertainment's Pororo the Little Penguin, which recently celebrated its 10th birthday at the Seoul Character & LicensingFair 2013 (July 17–21, 2013).In January o this year, then President-elect Park Geun-hyeattended a preview screening o
Pororo: Te Racing Adventure
,an animated eature produced to celebrate the 10th anniversary o the popular character. In her opening remarks or the event,Park stressed the ever-increasing role o cultural content.“Watching
, I came to have great hope or thepossibilities o the Korean cultural content industry,” she said.“As I pledged during the presidential campaign, we mustactively support cultural industries, including animation, as anew major industry and a new engine o growth, and we areactually doing so.”Nowadays, the most popular animated character in Koreais without a doubt Pororo. Pororo the Little Penguin is acomputer-animated V series that began broadcasting in2003. We can ascertain the popularity o the character—not just among children but also the general public—rom thenicknames it has been given, such as “Pororo the President”and “Pororo the God.” Its popularity extends beyond Korea’sboundaries as well; beginning with its debut on Frenchbroadcasting giant F1, it is now shown in over 130nations.In her inaugural address on Feb 25, 2013,President Park declared that the “creativeeconomy” would become Korea’s new growthparadigm.“In the 21st century, culture is power. It is anera where an individual’s imagination becomescreative content,” she said. “Across the world,the Korean wave is welcomed with greataection that not only triggers happiness and joy but instills abiding pride in all Koreans.” Shesaid creative industries would be supported, andthe content industry—merging culture with advancedtechnology—would be nurtured. In so doing, the governmentwill ignite the engine o a creative economy and create jobs.Even i we ignore the president’s speech or the moment, wecan see that cultural content has already become a key Koreanindustry.According to the Korea Creative Content Agency (KOCCA),Pororo’s brand value is KRW 85 billion, and its total economiceect adds up to KRW 5.7 trillion. It has produced about1,500 kinds o products, rom toys and published materials toperormances and insurance. It recorded KRW 50 billion insales in 2010 alone.Following Pororo’s phenomenal success, a variety o animated characters have been poised to be Pororo’s successorto the throne.Firstly, we have Robocar Poli, the “super transormingrobotic car that saves our riends and neighbors when they are in danger.”
was the most popular preschoolanimation in Korea in 2011. It was so popular, in act, that itearned the nickname “Prime Minister Pol.”Next is Kioka, a curious little girl with a great imagination.
is being shown not only on broadcast television but alsocable and IPV.Other challengers include the troublesome polar bearBackkom, the sausage monkey Cocomong, the baby gorilla