Lee Young-ae, a South Korean actress known for her role in the Korean historical drama Dae Jang Geum, knows exactly why people want democracy.
Democracy, which led to the collapse of autocratic rule and the release of creativity in her country, helped the so-called Korean wave of popular culture sweep Asia, Lee said in an interview with Ming Pao Daily last month.
South Korea had been ruled by political strongmen between the 1960s and 1980s before it began the process of democratization in the 1990s.
Lee said creativity and freedom of expression used to be highly suppressed in South Korea and female actresses could not even wear sleeveless clothes to perform.
However, after people were allowed to vote for their leader, censorship was abolished and as a result all social disputes and once politically sensitive issues could be used as themes in performances, while people were allowed to watch movies that had been banned from public showing.
Such a phenomenon resulting from democratization has helped expand the market and attract tremendous investment into the culture industry, creating a benign circle for the Korean Wave, she said.
Asked if she would be worried that the Korean Wave would subside in the future, Lee said “no”. It is an unique blending of various factors that can continuously create surprise and would never be outdated, she said.
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