New Emissary

Korea’s Break-Dance Faith

Can breakdancing bring more tourists to South Korea? In the eyes of some, yes.

Can breakdancing bring more tourists to South Korea?

The Korea Tourism Organization seems to think so. And to prove its faith, it will be holding the annual R-16 KOREA 2010 event this weekend, which will this year, according to the Korea Herald, bring together ‘emerging DJs and hip-hop artists from 16 countries’ at the Olympic Park in Jamsil, Seoul.

R-16 KOREA, now in its fourth run, will also feature a big dancing competition, for which ‘world-class breakdancers from around the globe (who) will converge in Seoul next month to battle for the title of world’s best B-boy crew.’

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned the return of South Korea’s war propaganda effort against the North—specifically the use of pop tunes by girl bands as an offensive tactic. It continues to be fascinating to see the South Korean government try to harness its soft power potential and embrace major modern trends like K-pop and hip-hop culture.

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Meanwhile, the R-16 KOREA 2010 sounds like something that athlete Jong Tae-se, who recently grabbed attention playing for North Korea’s soccer team at the World Cup, might actually be interested in. Twenty-six-year-old Jong, born in Japan to a North Korean mother and South Korean father, is, as noted this week by the Korea Times, gaining even more popularity recently for his ‘peculiar background, freewheeling life style and creative thinking.’

It’s reported that among the many interesting known facts about Jong—including his distaste for cockroaches, desire to find and marry a ‘South Korean Victoria Beckham,’ and his notion that ‘sport transcends nationality, and that football can play a bridging role in improving inter-Korean relations’—is that he has an affinity for hip-hop dance.