From Holy Land to `Hallyu Land': The symbolic journey following the Korean Wave in Israel

Irina Lyan, Alon Levkowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The majority of academic literature on Hallyu, or the Korean Wave, focuses on its acceptance in the geographically and culturally proximate societies in Asia and the economically wealthy markets of North America. Very little attention has been given to other regions such as Africa, South America and the Middle East. Thus, looking at the Israeli case study allows us to examine how Korean culture is being accepted in non-Asian, non-western and non-English contexts. The most salient characteristic of Hallyu fans in Israel is that the majority of them have never been to Korea. They experience Korean culture mostly through Korean TV dramas, and fandom itself becomes a cultural journey between the known and the unknown. This journey resembles the practice of pilgrimage, e.g. an emotional exploration of new places accompanied by a deep sense of fulfilment. Korean culture is perceived as an exotic and distant ‘other’. At the same time, this ‘other’ is domesticated by local fan communities and serves as a means to connect one’s own identity with Hallyu’s ‘promised land’. Based on media and discourse analysis, an online survey and interviews with Israeli fans, this article examines the popularity of the Korean Wave in Israel and its impact on Korea’s image among fans. The article also explores the inner world created among fans of the Korean world, the formation of a fan community and their fictional ‘Hallyu Land’.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-21
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Fandom Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2015


  • Hallyu; Israel; Korean TV drama; fandom; representation of the other; symbolic pilgrimage


Dive into the research topics of 'From Holy Land to `Hallyu Land': The symbolic journey following the Korean Wave in Israel'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this