KPop UH College Course


Honolulu (KHON2)- KPop fans can study up on the hottest groups and style as part of the first of its kind college course taught by two professors at UH West Oahu and UH Manoa.

Dr. Jayson Chun and Dr. Patrick Patterson saw interest in K-pop as a springboard for a larger discussion about Korea and its pop-culture phenomenon.

K-pop is short for Korean popular music. 

It is a genre that mixes Korean language with Western-style music like electronic, hip hop, pop, rock, and R&B.

“It has become its own style: highly trained dancers wearing the latest fashions, singing and rapping in mix of Korean and English,” explains Dr. Chun. “Many people say contemporary K-pop started from a band called Seo Taiji and Boys in 1992 and it got known to the world from the early 2000s through the Internet.”

Guest Lecturer Dr. Hye Ri Joo adds, “Currently, the most famous K-pop group is BTS. They have hit the top of the charts in the U.S and have appeared on the American Music Awards.”

Another famous group is BlackPink, which is very popular worldwide. 

They are very international – Rose is from Australia, Jennie is a Korean who lived in New Zealand, Lisa is from Thailand, and Jisoo is from Korea.

K-pop is especially popular worldwide and has a very devoted fan following through the Internet.

Hongdae has the latest in styles, fashions, make-up, street food, coffee shops. 

Dr. Joo says, “SNS and video streaming platforms have helped to spread K-pop. Young people watch K-pop artists’ creative music videos on YouTube and get fascinated by their catchy songs, perfectly synchronized dance, fashion, makeup, and hair.”

K-pop fans also follow their favorite stars’ Twitter or Instagram, get intimate messages from the stars, and see photos and videos showing their daily lives. 

In Hawaii – local kids see people who look like them online, and very humble, so matches Hawaii values and are good role models. 

There’s also KBFD, a Korean station in Hawaii so students and their parents can easily access Korean TV.

This course is offered at UHWO every other year, and at UH Manoa every summer with Dr. Patrick Patterson of LCC.

It’s called “The Pop Pacific” and focuses on K-pop as part of a wider transpacific sphere of music.

Through K-pop, they look at the intersection of business, cultural studies and popular culture. 

They analyze K-pop as a business practices and as a cultural phenomenon, and how it is tied in with Korean history.

“I teach Korean language and culture, and also 1 credit courses on Korean cooking, travel, and in the future a K-pop and K-drama class,” adds Joo. “I use K-pop and K-drama to make learning fun. We listen to K-pop songs or watch a music video or K-drama clips together or at home. I use K-pop songs for listening activities and introduce fun and useful expressions from the songs’ lyrics. Students perform role plays or skits using those expressions. I also use K-pop phrases as an example when I teach new expressions and grammar.”

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