The end of an era for the K-drama wave has arrived in one country that has been a huge consumer of Hallyu products for well over a decade- Japanese broadcaster NHK has announced that it won’t be airing anymore Korean dramas after the network finishes airing Empress Ki. NHK is Japan’s biggest and oldest network and has been airing K-dramas since 2003 when it bought the rights to Winter Sonata which singlehandedly launched the Hallyu drama wave in Japan. A thirteen year run for K-dramas with Japanese audiences may seem either long or shorter than expected, but is worth noting that things have changed irrevocably and to keep up with the tides K-drama will need to continue to evolve and grow.
NHK not airing anymore K-dramas on network television doesn’t mean there is no appetite for the product, it just means K-dramas no longer have enough broad and mainstream appeal and those who seek to watch it will have to do so online. It’s mainly the older audience that still watch network television anyway, and NHK explained that the viewership for Korean dramas have been decreasing steadily in the last few years and reached a point where it no longer is a financially sound investment to broadcast current and future K-dramas. The complaint from the older viewing audience is that the romance and addicting quality of the dramas which launched the Hallyu wave such as Winter Sonata is no longer there. Continue reading