K-pop has been gophering in and out of the pop culture for the last few years, bolstered by the music video for will.i.am and Nicki Minaj’s “Check It Out,” Stephen Colbert’s goofy dance rivalry with “Korean pop star Rain!” and the occasional feature heralding the Korean Wave’s arrival. But it has yet to make a crossover into the mainstream hit it’s made out to be in the ROK. If the handful of native university students, housewives, and schoolchildren I knew in South Korea were indicative of how the rest of the country perceives K-pop’s reception overseas, the hallyu (or Korean Wave) is just about all anybody in America talks about when they talk about music (except, of course, Justin Bieber). But considering the lyrical content of much of Korean pop music made by ubiquitous and eerily similar-looking girl groups, the national pride in the modest international success of K-pop is actually a little weird.

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