|The globalization in the world's cultural contents industry is spreading fast due to the development of the Information Technology.|
|/Extracted from Google|
Since the birth of mankind, numerous countries have been built and each country has created its own policy, tradition, ethics, religion, and even communication style depending on its environment. All together, they have created a distinct culture.
As culture is not just a mere social phenomenon but an identity that differentiates an individual from another as well as a society from other societies, we should try to preserve every culture’s traits. Without a cultural basis, there would be no country, no community, and no word called “us.” Moreover, cultural diversity is crucial for the advancement and persistence of human society. Professor Jung Jae-hyung of the department of Film & Digital explained, “One of the features that differentiates human beings from other species is that we do not only seek for instinctive needs but also spiritual values.”
Also, Professor Yoo Gi-na of the department of Film & Digital said, “Cultural contents such as movies, dramas, songs, and so on are all part of culture that reflect the life and world of human beings. It is quite obvious that there should be as many kinds of culture as the number of human race.”
However, due to globalization and highly developed information technology, modern society’s cultural assets are losing their originality. Producers of cultural contents, who are the people that should be most concerned about such issues, are only focusing on making profits. Some people have noticed this matter and are seeking for solutions but still a majority does not consider globalization of cultural contents industries as a desperate problem.
Hollywood, the dictator of the world’s film industry
“Hollywoodization” is a typical example of cultural contents’ globalization. It means the adoption of or conformation to the supposed norms of a typical Hollywood film: showiness, superficiality, and thrill. The term began to appear during the post-war twentieth century as Hollywood movies spread over the world. Professor Yoo stated, “In a wide view, there are two ways for another country’s movie industry to become Hollywoodized. They could either let Hollywood movies monopolize the screen or produce similar movies by their own.”
Hollywood, a neighborhood located in the central region of Los Angeles, California, is notable for its large scale historical film studios. It was incorporated in 1910, the same period when Information Technology (IT) in the U.S. immensely grew. Soon, a number of audiences were attracted by the high-tech movies and their content regarding the basic necessities of life.
In the case of Europe, for instance, the people flocked to see American films with a large number of producers, directors, and actors, which were exported out of Hollywood in the 1930s. Even by the early 1950s, theaters and film companies gained revenue from the tariffs on imported American films and from screening them. Similar situations happened all over the world, and Hollywood was able to create a dominant value in the world’s movie industry. Consequently, the range of movie selections got narrowed compared to the past. The only decision a modern consumer has to make is the language. Professor Yoo said, “The freedoam to choose or create cultural contents is clearly being violated. When you go to see a movie, you could easily notice that there is monopolization going on in the theater. Two or three auditoriums are showing the same movie, usually Hollywood movies, while other minor movies are relatively screened less.”
“The reason such change happened in the movie industry could be the choice by consumers, or the manipulation of the major movie production companies. It is just like the question of which came first, the chicken or the egg,” added Professor Jung Jae-hyung.
Korean dramas being manipulated by China capital
Korean dramas have also encountered the similar problem. The recently ended dramas, “Descendants of the Sun,” “Uncontrollably Fond,” “Moon Lovers-Scarlet Heart: Ryeo” and the now airing drama, “The Legend of the Blue Sea,” were all one hundred percent pre-produced with China in the lead. This means the Chinese government has the right to censor the contents and can order modifications. Also, the government is able to cast actors and script writers who suit their tastes.
The huge capital that inflows from China is the main cause for such phenomenon. Currently, 82.6 percent of domestic entertainment companies have Chinese major stockholders or huge Chinese capital. Also, the amount of investment made from China to Korea’s cultural contents industry is roughly 300 million won, which ultimately makes Korean producers excessively rely on them.
Losing control of the management is not the only problem. On August 31st this year, actress Yoo In-na stepped down from the main actress position of the Korea and China joint drama, “Love Through a Millennium.” She had already shot one-third of the whole season, but her part was replaced by a famous Chinese actress. Though the Chinese broadcasting company explained that it happened because the process of drama making was delayed and Yoo In-na was unable to carry on acting due to her other schedules, many said that she was forced to quit. They claim that the Chinese took their revenge on the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system. If it is true, Korean dramas turnout to have a cozy relation between social authorities and the economy, whereas it is getting far from establishing its own culture.
Movements have been made but are regarded as insufficient
Despite the negative prospects on the cultural contents industry, people all over the world have engaged in movements to make a difference. They showed their disobedience toward cultural globalization.
Beginning in the 1950s and 1960s, a number of independent filmmakers and directors appeared in France, Italy, Hong Kong, Japan, and elsewhere who tried to bring the diversity of voices to the movie world. But at that time, the public were advocates for Hollywood films, which led them to fail eventually.
Then in 2001, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) announced the universal declaration on cultural diversity, which 185 countries agreed. It starts with the sentence: cultural diversity is as necessary for humankind as biodiversity is for the nature, as a source of exchange, innovation and creativity. In addition, an Egyptian actor filmed a movie criticizing the Egyptian movie industry for being in a depressed state behind American movies.
In spite of these actions, not many people are aware of the issue. However, as cultural diversity is a common heritage of humanity, every human being is responsible for it, and therefore should care about how it is being transmitted. Professor Yoo remarked, “People should not stay still. If we look back the world’s history, aggression always began with cultural brainwashing. Think how the Europeans invaded other countries. The emperors first sent missionaries to the country which they would like to found a colony to spread their religion. This could happen in the near future if we do not try to protect our own culture.”
Also, Professor Jung said, “Producers of cultural contents should not only consider what they are creating as a tool to earn money but understand that it is a method to develop people’s intellect, morality, and emotion. In addition, the government has to set a fostering system that can make domestic contents grow naturally.” The two professors both mentioned there should be a policy that can restrict cultural globalization from mushrooming into a global scale. “The screen quota is one of the legislated policies regarding the movie industry. It enforces a minimum number of screening days of domestic films in the theater each year to protect the nation’s films. However, there is an ongoing controversy about how much percentage of screens should be allocated and for how long.” added professor Yoo, who is also the second President of the Cultural Solidarity for Screen Quota in Korea.
Globalization of cultural contents industry would inevitably contribute to economic growth. Yet, before that, the world should acknowledge the ongoing problem. If the society puts forth a great effort to prevent further troubles, the synergy of each personal movement will be enhanced in favor of diversity.
Im Chae-hyun firstname.lastname@example.org
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