Singer and actor Rain, one of the top Korean wave or hallyu stars, said the term “Korean wave” would be better not used as it is too self-centered and could cause anti-hallyu sentiment among Asian fans.
Asked about the reason behind its recent waning on CNN’s Talk Asia interview program, Rain said, “The biggest problem is the term Korean wave. It doesn’t sound right. It’s a bit too self-centered.”
Rain said it shouldn’t just be about exporting Korea’s own culture but about using each other’s cultures and exchanging ideas.
“I think the word hallyu can actually create anti-hallyu sentiment because it sounds so unilateral, which could be why some of the dramas and other things are losing popularity compared to before.”
He also said a lot of people have jumped on it for the money, and introduced works with low quality, causing a loss of face to some extent.
Asked about the strong points about Korean pop culture, he pointed to a lot of talent compared to other countries.
“The ingredients, as I like to call it, are good. A lot of very skilled writers, directors and singers have been around for a long time,” he said. “With the Internet, it’s now possible to access all of this content within a matter of seconds, which is why compared to before things have spread quickly and become popular among the public.”
On questions about how does it feel becoming the biggest pop sensation in Asia, he said, “There are times when I wonder: Is this a dream? Or is this real? I don’t know how long it will last, but I guess the most important part is to keep on doing my best and maintaining what I have done so far.”
He said trying his best is what’s most important. “You also need to have one thing that you are better at than everyone else, which means you need to be irreplaceable.”
Rain said that since childhood, Michael Jackson was his idol. “I followed his moves and dances every day as a child. So as a child, I guess I spent a lot more time dancing than with my books.”
Asked about the memories with his mother who died when he was 18 years old, he said, “Of course, I do have a lot of regrets. There were times when I think I didn’t do well enough for her. But, as I said, my mother was the greatest motivation for me to try to do my best.”
He said he is still working hard because of the guilt he feels about her.
“That guilt, a lot of it, I think comes from the time seeing my mother in bed 10 days before she died. I asked myself, Is the pain I am going through greater than what she is experiencing? Whatever it is, the pain will never be greater than the physical pain she went through. So no matter what happens I have to give it my best; this is what I thought.”
He said what motivates him is his hatred of losing. “The more criticism I get the more it gives me a stronger urge to win. So I tried harder. The more times I was turned down, the more I believed I was getting closer to making it.”
Rain said his ultimate goal is to crack the American market and is making efforts to gain recognition bit by bit.
“I think it’s finally slowly happening. All the hard work that went into the Hollywood film (Ninja Assassin) which is about to premier is a starting point. I think I will be doing a lot of other pieces and songs in the future. So I’m very happy that I’m slowly making progress and realizing my dream.”
Rain said he put his heart and soul into the movie, which will be premiered around the world next month. “There are a lot of action sequences that I think take things to a different level from other movies like The Matrix and Kill Bill.”
He said he also sees the possibility of penetrating the American music market in the future.
“In the past, America was the hub of culture. Things are now changing a bit,” he said.
“The music in American has all been of the same kind, but I think we need to combine music, from India, a bit from Asia, a bit from Europe altogether to create a new genre. I think the center of the market may slowly be shifting to Asia.”
He said he is preparing his English album. “I’m looking for the best timing to do that but I’m not sure exactly when that will be. Because it will be successful only if I’m fully prepared.”
Asked how he has been able to be free from scandals, the 27-year-old said, “I grew up poor and lived in a poor environment. In the past, I made a promise to my family that I wouldn’t get distracted by anything. That’s why I was able to focus on what I was doing without any scandal or rumors going around.”
Asked whether he has girlfriends, he said, “I don’t have a girlfriend. But I would like to meet someone. I don’t know; maybe I might meet someone soon.” (Korea Times)