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Asia Minute: School of K-Pop Opening in Seoul

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We’re just past the peak season for commencement ceremonies at Hawai‘i’s high schools and universities. While higher education may be part of the plan for some graduates, education of a different kind is getting some attention in South Korea.  HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

If you’ve ever had aspirations to become a Korean pop star….well, now there’s a school for that.  And they take foreigners…in fact; the plans are for 70% of the student body to come from outside Korea…once the school opens next year.  Aspiring performers start young—there’s a junior high school division and a high school….sort of like “Fame” meets “Gangnam Style.”  The founders include a tutoring institution—more informally known as a “cram school”…and a giant entertainment management company.

SM Entertainment is the corporate force behind K-pop stars such as “Girls Generation.”  It’s a one-stop shop that controls a record label and music publishing house, and covers activities from concert production and event management to personal services contracts.  Instructors from the cram school—“Jongno Sky Academy”…will teach courses like Korean, English and math….while company personnel will feature musical theory, dance, and similar topics.

One big marketing target: Chinese students.  The school in Seoul hopes to capitalize on the popularity of K-pop in China…and founders say if the business works out…they’d like to open a branch campus….in China.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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