Framing Gangnam Style


  • Hyunsun Catherine Yoon University of East London
  • Sae Kyung Yu Ewha Womans University
  • Seung Hee Yoo Ewha Womans University



Frame Analysis, Gangnam Style, Korean Wave, News Frame, Popular Music, Psy.


This paper examines the way in which news about Gangnam Style was framed in the Korean press. First released on 15th July 2012, it became the first video to pass two billion views on YouTube. 400 news articles between July 2012 and March 2013 from two South Korean newspapers - Chosun Ilbo and Hankyoreh were analyzed using the frame analysis method in five categories: industry/economy, globalization, cultural interest, criticism, and competition. The right-left opinion cleavage is important because news frames interact with official discourses, audience frames and prior knowledge which consequently mediate effects on public opinion, policy debates, social movement and individual interpretations. Whilst the existing literature on Gangnam Style took rather holistic approach, this study aimed to fill the lacuna, considering this phenomenon as a dynamic process, by segmenting different stages - recognition, spread, peak and continuation. Both newspapers acknowledged Gangnam Style was an epochal event but their perspectives and news frames were different; globalization frame was most frequently used in Chosun Ilbo whereas cultural interest frame was most often used in Hankyoreh. Although more critical approaches were found in Hankyoreh, reflecting the right-left opinion cleavage, both papers lacked in critical appraisal and analysis of Gangnam Style’s reception in a broader context of the new Korean Wave.

Author Biographies

  • Hyunsun Catherine Yoon, University of East London

    Senior Lecturer

    School of Arts and Digital Industries

    University of East London

  • Sae Kyung Yu, Ewha Womans University
    Professor at the Department of Media Studies, College of Social Science
  • Seung Hee Yoo, Ewha Womans University
    graduate student at the Department of Media Studies, College of Social Science, Ewha Womans University,


BBC News. (2014). Gangnam video first to hit two billion views on YouTube. 31st May 2014.

Cappella, J. N. & Jamieson, K. H. (1997). The Spirit of Cynicism: The Press and the Public Good. New York: Oxford University Press.

Cho, W. S. (2012). Riding the Korean Wave From ‘Gangnam Style’ to Global Recognition. Global Asia. 7(3), 35-39.

Choi, J. and Ryoo, W. (2012) Discourse Politics on the New Korean Wave – Focusing on the Discourse Analysis of the Major Korean Newspapers' Articles. Korea Dance Studies. 19, 345-378.

Chosun Media. (2013). Chosun Ilbo Media Guide: Korea ABC Daily Newspaper Circulations Report. Seoul. November.

Chosun Ilbo. (2007). D-War Breaks Korean Box Office Record in U.S. 17th September 2007. Retrieved from: http: [Accessed on 21st January 2015]

Chosun Ilbo. (2007). D-War Director Returns Home Triumphant. 4th September 2007. Retrieved from: http: [Accessed on 21st January 2015]

D’Angelo, P. (2002). News Framing as a Multipatadigmatic Research Program: A Response to Entman. Journal of Communication, December, 870-888.

De Vreese, C. H. (2005). News framing: Theory and typology. Information Design + Document esign, 13(1), 51-62.

Entman, R. M. (1993). Framing: Toward clarification of a fractured paradigm”. Journal of Communication. 43(4), 51-58.

Fisher, M. (2012). Gangnam Style, Dissected: The Subversive Message within South Korea’s Music Video Sensation. The Atlantic.

Gitlin, T. (1980). The whole world is watching: Mass media in the making and unmaking of the New Left. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Hankyoreh. (2007). D-War shoots to the top. 7th August 2007. Retrieved from: http: [Accessed on 21st January 2015]

Iyengar, S. (1991). Television news and citizens’ explanations of national affairs. American Political Science Review, 81, 815-831.

Jung, S. Y. (2009). A Study on the significance of the Korean wave and prospects for the relationship between Korea and Japan: Focus on Japanese women audience”. Media, Gender & Culture, 11, 75-122.

Jung, S. Y. (2011). A study on Exploring for Hallyu Landscape and Cultural Practice of Audiences in Japan. Media, Gender & Culture, 20, 207-239.

Jung, S & Li, H. (2014). Global Production, Circulation, and Consumption of Gangnam Style. International Journal of Communication [Online]. 8, 2790-2810.

KBS. (2012). Korean Press to look only Billboard”. Media Inside. 2nd November 2012.

Ko, K. S. (2012). Korean Newspapers’ Coverage of Gangnam Style. Kwanhun Journal, 125, 88-94.

Kim, Y. C., Lee, D. H. & Lee, G. H. (2005). “A Study on Political and Cultural Implications of Korean Wave Media Contents. Korean society for journalism and communication studies research report, 53-80.

Lie, J. (2013). Why Didn’t Gangnam Style Go Viral in Japan?: Gender Divide and Subcultural Heterogeneity in Contemporary Japan. Cross-Current: East Asian History and Culture Review, 9, December.

Neuman, R. W., Marrion R. J. & Crigler, A. N. (1992). Common Knowledge. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Ryoo, W. J. (2009). Globalization, or the logic of cultural hybridization: The case of the Korean wave. Asian Journal of Communication, 19(2), 137-151.

Semetko, H. A. & Valkenburg, P. M. (2000). Framing European politics: A content analysis of press and television news. Journal of Communication, 50(2), 93-109.

Shim, D. B. (2006). Hybridity and the rise of Korean popular culture. Media, Culture and Society, 8(1), 25-44.

Shin, H. J. (2005). The cultural politics of ‘K-pop’ in the era of transregional cultural traffics. Media & Society, 13(3), 7-36.

The Korea Times. (2011). Employees of ex-comedian win suit over unpaid wages. 18th December 2011.

Tuchman, G. (1978). Making News: A Study in the Construction of Reality. New York: Free Press

Yoon, T. J. (2002). Korean newspaper’ coverage of Hallyu in China. Korean Journal of Broadcasting and Telecommunication Studies, 20(3), 78-107.

Yu, S. K., Lee, S. & Chung, J. I. (2012). Analysis of the “Korean Wave” news frame of Chinese daily newspapers: Based on the analysis of articles reported between 2001 and 2010. Journal of Communication & Information, 57, 202-226.







Similar Articles

1-10 of 464

You may also start an advanced similarity search for this article.