Bridging cultures through entertainment and food.

Over the years, the rise and growth of Eastern culture has spurred a lot of Western change. Different forms of entertainment, such as K-pop and anime, have been on the rise, changing the way we think about music and storytelling. The influence of foodie culture has bridged borders when it comes to food and has brought ethnic food festivals to the west. 

These diverse backgrounds are colliding in different forms to bring a cultural renaissance. K-pop allows different languages to blend together so all can enjoy this genre of music. The rise of streaming platforms allows Japanese anime to be recognized from across the world. The internet has been able to bridge these different cultures through food and entertainment from all over the world.  

K-Pop’s Rise

The internet has greatly contributed to the crossover of Eastern and Western culture. YouTube has allowed the K-pop craze to grow to new proportions with K-pop groups garnering millions of views on their music videos. In fact, BTS was the second most-streamed group of 2018 behind Imagine Dragons.

Last year, BTS was the special guest at the Grammy awards; Blackpink performed at Coachella 2018; Monsta X will be performing at the iHeartRadio Music Festival as well as the Life is Beautiful festival, showing the impact the genre has on the industry. 

According to Forbes, “In 2018, the South Korean music market experienced a 17.9 percent increase in revenue growth, and it was described as ‘shifting from potential to power player.’ The country also ranked at No. 6 among the top 10 music markets worldwide.” 

The fan base is also a major component of the K-pop phenomenon because it involves social media fandoms. Fans from across the world make a team effort to trend meaningful topics and special events pertaining to their musical group. Billboard’s Social 50 chart includes an assortment of K-pop groups every week, showcasing the mass influence K-pop has on social media.  

LA Times states, “One striking thing about contemporary K-pop in the U.S. is just how diverse the fan base is: mostly young, but rife with every race, sexuality and gender expression. That heterogeneous fandom upends questions about K-pop as cultural property in the U.S.” 

Anime Becoming Mainstream

Streaming services have ignited the anime craze, spreading this wildfire around the world. Platforms like Hulu and Amazon provide a market of binge-worthy anime shows. Netflix stated in a 2018 article that they would put more anime original content onto their streaming site. Anime expositions like Crunchyroll Expo and Anime Expo on the West Coast draw thousands of people every year showing the intensity of fascination over the subject matter.  

Thomas Wick of Pitts News analyzed how anime has a positive effect when it comes to bridging cultural gaps.

“But as it becomes more profitable and popular, anime has proven to be a boon to the diversity of cultural conversation,” said Wick. “A form of entertainment from another culture is having a positive impact on our culture, which enables our society to break down the borders dividing us and become more diverse and tolerant.”

Cartoon Network’s “Toonami” and “Naruto”  have aided in this positive impact and have helped bring anime to the West. The anime “Attack on Titan” soon became a worldwide phenomenon after the first season became streamable. Soon after the first season aired in 2013, the demand for season two was a testament to the global reach of the internet.

Sites like Funimation and Crunchyroll allows a western audience to watch anime at the same time as Japanese audiences would, allowing the cultures to share a common interest. As the medium rises, access to new entertainment develops through the crossing of cultural boundaries. 

Foodie Culture

Food is at the center of all cultures; it is often the first thing people think of when attempting to experience different cultures. Accessibility to new cultures and their foods are becoming easier to obtain, allowing people to try foods outside of their normal comfort zones—and all this is spurred by social media. 

Josephine Livingstone of The New Republic says,  “The internet is crammed with food media, from the heady intellectual heights of The New York Times food section to the rapid-fire content streams of BuzzFeed’s Tasty. Celebrity chefs are household names, the food documentary is a veritable genre on Netflix, and Instagram is the mantelpiece where we place our careful portraits of home chef cosplay.”

The food culture on social media has bridged cultures. We are looking at a time when the east and west are coming together to make a unified community, and the internet is playing a big role through entertainment and foodie culture.