Why did I start Hallyu to Hawaii?


Rain from ‘Full House’ (our first favorite Korean drama)

Annyeong Yorobun!

Originally, I had the idea that this blog would be a share space for Korean drama fans interested in Korean dramas, films, Hallyu news and anything Korean-ish in Hawaii.


Why Hallyu to Hawaii?

No, it’s not because of Rain but maybe indirectly.

My mother is the big Korean drama fan of our household and having watched close to  200 dramas over the past two and a half years, I thought this might be a great place for her to share her passion with others!

She has a list of her favorite shows, so I was hoping she’d recommend dramas worth watching, share some fun tidbits from her internet stalkings for gossip on the shows and their stars; and ideally, I hoped she’d explore and report on Korean events going on in Hawaii. After all, this is what I do with my own travel blog (Grrrl Traveler).

Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s working.

So now I’m stuck with this blog, while my mom sits watching ‘Brain’,..

Brain korean drama

Brain (korean drama)


…my sister, in Nuuanu, watches  ‘Glory of the Family’,

glory of the family korean drama

glory of the family (korean drama)


…my aunty in Aiea watches ‘Rooftop Prince” …

Rooftop Prince (Korean Drama)

…and my uncle in Kaimuki watches… whatever period drama is showing on television now.

rooftop prince

Some Korean period drama (probably Rooftop Prince)

Obviously, it’s easier to watch Korean dramas than write about it and yes, this ‘Korean Wave’ swooping the island is serious stuff! Most of the time, I’m surrounded by addicts.  Mom can’t even call friends or family from 7:45 p.m. or after – why? Almost everyone is watch dramas on tv.

Yes, you’re stuck with me— who is not Korean, enjoys Korean dramas, has lived in Korea and still enjoys discovering its culture…but is the only sober driver and non-addict of the family.


What’s Hawaii’s obsession with Korean dramas?

What is it like getting back from Korea to find my island is infected with Korean fever? Kinda weird.

Although it makes some sense. Hawaii folk can have unique and un-mainland U.S. lifestyles and preferences. For instance, Hawaii folk love to go to Las Vegas. Don’t ask me why. Either, gambling is in our island’s blood or people here miser their money to the point, they hit the backlash extreme of  blowing it  later, on some anonymous machine, which has colorful cartoon pictures and the jangle of loose change hitting metal.

Total tangent. That bit has nothing to do with Korean Fever…

Folks here are predominantly Pacific-Asian and the local lifestyle is a bit of a cultural bibimbap of ethnicities. Many people here are hapa (or mixed) and being a ‘melting pot’ is the sensibility of the island.  Rice is preferred over bread and pasta, chopsticks are always available utensils, we remove our shoes when entering homes and always bring a gift or food to a party as a show of respect and appreciation. We have hapa-fied Pacific-Asian bloodlines and traditions and the Korean community is one facet that contributes to our island’s hapa-fication and Ohana (aka family).


Bibimbap (Photo: VisitKoreatown.org)

Since I can remember, Hawaii’s older generation of Japanese used to have their own tv station/channel providing the predominant J-community with Japanese variety and lifestyle shows, singing contests and dramas. Only within the past decade have preferences slowly changed over to Korean shows and with that, the Korean community has grown in restaurants, grocery stores and cultural voice, so that now we ironically, have a Korea town (but still no J-town). Hawaii has a few local stations supporting Korean dramas and music.  Additional Korean programs also filter in via cable.

There’s a few Korean drama fan clubs out there, and so far I only know the one I’ve signed my mom up for, Hanguk Drama Club.  K-pop isn’t nearly as popular yet, but I predict that’s because  it’s geared towards youth, bouncing and b-boying around, which won’t be everyone’s cup of tea.


What should you do if you have family members, who are seriously addicted to Korean dramas?

You should disown them.

I wish I knew. I’ve tried intervention, but it doesn’t work with a stubborn woman in her late 60s. If anyone has tips, I’d be appreciative.

There should be a KDA (Korean Drama Anonymous) three-step plan for people trying to wean their family members off of these dramas so they get out of the house and experience other parts of life, other than trading dramas with her friends and borrowing dramas from the library. I made her a K-drama tour when she came out to stay with me in Korea and recently signed her up in a drama club here. But there aren’t any groups taking trips to Korea in the near future and the club she joined only meet 3 times a year. That’s not enough to support her ‘habit’, so I’ve been looking for other activities to get her involved in ‘the doing’ vs only the ‘watching’. She’s definitely become more interested in Korean culture and foods, so that’s a definite plus.  But her sleeping habits at her age have become reckless. With internet websites and DVD disc shows, she sometimes goes to bed at 3 am!

I’m really to blame.  I’m the one who started her off on Korean dramas as a way to get her off of her addiction to online video games.

full house drama

Rain & Song Hye a romantic comedy couple in Full House  full house korean drama

Before I left for South Korea, I introduced her to ‘Full House’ (a favorite of mine). I know she’s a sap for romantic comedies and of course, Bi/Rain and Song Hye are adorable. Well, it worked, my Full House dvd box is worn and I was forced to leave it behind in her care.

Perhaps the reason I started Hallyu to Hawaii is really due to this curse of a funny romantic drama. Damn you ‘Full House’!

It’s as though you’ve created a monster.


Photo credits: YesAsia, AsianWiki, KoreanDrama.org, visitKoreaTown.org, Han Cinema, MustHaveSubs, FanPop