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Mu Kuang was the first school in Hong Kong to introduce Korean as part of its regular curriculum inSeptember 2021. First- and secondyear middle schoolers are required to take a foreign language subject and can choose between Korean and Japanese. Around a third of the 282 students picked Korean.
When asked why he chose to learn Korean, Jacob Xiang Wenjie, 14, proudly spread his collection of photo cards of his favorite K-pop girl group, Blackpink, on the table. “I have so much more at home … at least 500 of them,” Jacob said. “Lisa is my wife,” he added, professing his love for the quartet’s Thai rapper. Educators say the move to offer Korean classes was undoubtedly driven by students’ interest in all things Korean.
Thanks to the Korean Wave, young people have been exposed to a heavy dose of Korean pop culture in the past decade or so, such as the 2019 Oscar-winning “Parasite,” 2021 Netflix hit “Squid Game” and BTS, arguably the biggest boy band in the world.
“There’s no denying that the students are captivated by Korean culture, K-dramas and K-pop,” said Ho Sai-cheong, principal of Mu Kuang English School.