Monday, December 12, 2011

Edutainment: PORORO

It was interesting to see the last group's presentation about edutainment. As Melkote introduced at Theories of Development Communication, entertainment-education progrms are adapted as a tool for bringing social changes. The presentation also shows several examples with Mr. Pandarson's. Sesami Street maybe one of the most famous education show in the world. It was really interested that Sesami Street is used for AIDs/HIV education tool in Africa and it is great that they also offer the program embedding the local culture.

Likewise, Korea also has jumped into the edutianment industries. One of the most success program is 'Pororo'. This program is desinged targeting age between 1 to 5. It is so popular that most of single kids in Korea would know Pororo. Pororo is the name of main charater which is a blue penguin with glasses on. Kids do everything what Pororo says in the program. They admire the character. Pororo has a nickname 'Poresident'. 'Poresident (Po-tong-ryung in Korean) is a word combining Pororo and Presdient.

Pororo also earns a lot of money through its character. From snack, clothes, shoes, bag. Every products hit the success if they have Pororo character with. Parents also love Pororo because pororo is for their kids' education. It broadcasts every weekdays for 5 minutes. Pororo is a positive personality character. Pororo is a penguin which cannot fly but Pororo believes that he can fly someday. This is why this character always were the pilot cap and glasses on (with the red muffler which is a symbol of pilot!).

Pororo has exported to the world. Actually, when it was designed initially, it also targets the world. One of the reason why the characters are animals not people. The name was considered whether it has a negative meaning in different language. Actually, its first name was 'Poroporo' that was changed to Pororo after revealing Poroporo contains a negative image in French. It is interesting to see that all books Pororo reads are in English. Now Pororo is much more popular than Hello Kitty, Mickey Mouse, Winnie the Pooh in Korea but not yet in the world.

Additionally, I have read an interesting news regarding the relationship between FTA and Pororo. Recently, the Korean parliament had a big argument on Pororo whether it is one of items that export to US through FTA or not. The reason is that part of Pororo has been produced in Gaesung Industrial region in North Korea. Gaesung Industrial region is the place where South Korean's products were manufactured in order to help North Korea recovering their poverty. Since US do not allow any products which was made in North Korea imported, Pororo is also considered as a ban item.

Pororo also related to a diaspora which we have studied in the beginning of this semester. Few weeks ago, I met a Korean friend who immigrate to US and gave a birth in US for her 2 year old daughter. 2 year old little girl was watching You Tube through I Pad and I was amazed that I heard a familiar song from I Pad. It was Pororo song. I was asking my friend how come your daughter see the Pororo and she told me every single Korea American kids are watching Pororo everyday through You Tube.

It is also interesting for seeing a discussion for Pororo contents. This is a dialogue from You Tube that describes cultural differences between US and Korea reflecting Pororo show.

"I understand that weight is a very taboo subject in the US. But in Korea (where Pororo was created), it is normal to talk about someone's appearance. When you have gained weight, you friends and family will tell you. People say it's out of concern for your health. I think the last thing we need to do in the US is sugar coat the fact that someone is overweight. We need to address this serious epidemic. It starts with children. Not making them "insecure" but showing them a healthy body image"

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