Who could forget that silly Korean song Gangnam Style by Psy, which set off a years-long dance craze copied even in small cultures such as Afrikaans music? It was the first YouTube video to reach 1-billion views (2012) and 2-billion views (2014). And who do we have to thank (or blame)? The South Korean government.

For years it had been investing in the arts as part of a holistic developmental policy it calls simply macro-economic growth. It launched long-term programmes to train and develop promising artists and the outcomes were phenomena such as K-pop, which rules in the East with singers such as Psy and Rain, Korean soapies on Japanese TV, and writers invading the bestseller lists in the US.

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