Yoo Ki Hong, a Democratic member of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, and Tourism, conducted a joint polling survey with the Sejong School Foundation. They asked 604 foreign students learning Korean at the foundation to participate in order to find out which idol group garnered the most awareness from foreigners.
The findings are as follows: Big Bang (18.3%), Girls’ Generation (15.1%), Super Junior (13.9%), EXO (11.1%), TVXQ (8.9%), Psy (8.3%), 2NE1 (7.6%), CNBLUE (6.8%), 2PM (6.4%), and Shinhwa (5.8%).
In relation to how the students first learned about Korea, 66.1% said it was through pop culture, mainly through K-pop and also through movies and dramas. 12.0% said it was through news coverage of politics, economy, and diplomacy.
The findings were separated by regional groups, as well. According to Asian respondents, 80.2% first learned about Korea through K-pop, movies, and dramas. On the other hand, only 56.2% of North and South American respondents and only 56.4% of European respondents first learned about Korea through pop culture. Rather, many North and South Americans along with Europeans learned of Korea through political, economic, and diplomatic news coverage or through international sport stars and school courses.
In regards to the reason behind liking Korean pop culture, 41.1% chose “A unique individuality only Korean pop culture has.”
The ranking of most interesting Korean pop culture in order was K-pop, Dramas, and then Movies.