K-Culture gets around

Since the 90s, K-culture has been on the rest of the world's radar.

Now, Korean beauty products appear regularly in cosmetics aisles (and at girls nights), Korean foods and restaurants fill bellies, and Korean fashion graces magazine spreads and clothing racks around the world.

Thanks to a ~secret~ formula, Korean cultural exports have gone global! See how your Korean guilty-pleasure fits into the mix...

The Evolution of K-Culture

  • 2333 BCE

    The Early Days

    As a country with one of the longest recorded histories to ever exist, Korea is known for starting a few trends...

    In the early days, Koreans were known for their pottery, bronze, coats of armor made of bone, high quality paper, and - of course - folklore. 

  • 37 BCE - 935 CE

    Three Kingdoms

    (K-Dramas' favorite period)

    Marked by a separation under three different rulers, this era was greatly affected by class devisions known as bone rank. During this time, a ton of written text was produced on that fine, Korean paper.

    The economy crashed, inspiring the creation of copper coins and paper money - though the copper coins never made it into circulation. This crash also inspired the wealthy to take over and rely on agriculture. 

  • 676 - 1910 CE

    Unified Korea

    Have you heard about Korea's strict and rigid education system focused around the annual college entrance exams? This is where those tests originated from in the form of the Civil Service Examination.

    This period was focused on producing a highly educated population and a strong military. Moveable metal type began being used and Hangul, the Korean language, was invented.

    The era also inspired the strict Neo-Confucian religion and radical Buddhism.

  • 1910 - 1945 CE

    Japanese Rule

    The industrialization of Korea was underway with a boom of railroads and cities. 

    Not too long after Korea opened its boarders to foreigners and trade with Japan, Japan annexed Korea as part of a treaty.

    The legality of the treaty and Japan's treatment of Koreans has lead to lingering conflict between the two countries, especially among older generations. 

  • 1948 - present

    Two Koreas

    World War II ended Japan's rule and began the Russian and U.S. involvement. The countries divided North and South respectively along what is now the DMZ. 

    The Korean War broke out as a battle between communist and democratic regimes. After the fighting ceased, the two new countries began producing their own cultural brands. This lead to  a breakaway on both sides from the long-instituted traditional Korean style to a more contemporary cultural brands.